Before we buy a set of brake pads, we first think about the price. That’s right, our budget is limited and we will not pay for beautiful packaging and a name brand. The main thing is quality. But not many people know how to determine the quality of pads visually. Despite all tricks of marketers, now let’s figure out how to choose brake pads, based on indicators of quality and trust in the brand.
The quality of the brake pads. What it depends on
Not so long ago we looked into the marking of the brake pad and the composition of the friction lining. Nevertheless, questions about the selection of pads in terms of value for money and quality remained unclear. A quality pad has to meet many of our requirements. First, we are interested in its service life before replacement, and second, how much it wears out the brake disc.
The price of a new disc, for example, on a Focus or a Mazda3 today is in the range of $30 apiece for 2018. The price of a set of front pads for two sides is from $8-10. A disc for a Passat is already around $40, and on a Mitsubishi Pajero Classic at least $55-60. By buying bad pads, we will ruin the disk for two runs. It’s not worth the trouble, so there’s no sense to skimp on pads.
In addition to the material used to make the friction pads, who makes them is also important. Chinese cheap pads with the logos of famous companies consist of garbage and do not work at all. In the photo you can see the pad of an unknown manufacturer from the country of rice and fake parts with a mileage of 200 km. What will happen to it after the final lapping, one can only guess.
Take a little thing like a thermally insulating adhesive layer between the backing and the pad liner. When the friction lining gets hot, it must not transfer heat to the base, which in turn transfers heat to the brake cylinder piston.
Otherwise the liquid in the cylinder will boil, a vapor plug will form in the system, the pedal will fail, and further the scenario can be any way, but it obviously does not justify the purchase of such garbage as in the photo. Even if it is cheap.
Conclusion one: manufacturer, regulations and price
Do not be tempted by the low price, do not buy the pads of “young, actively progressing brands from China”, give preference to proven brands. For every car, you can buy almost three dozen pads of different brands and in different price brackets.
No matter what vendors say, pads are replaced only in pairs on the same axle. The mileage ratio between front and rear pad changes is usually one to three. Rear pads carry less load, so they are changed once in three front pad replacements.
Original, afermarket, copy. Which is better
Any spare part that enters our market in one way or another falls into one of three categories:
- Original Equipment Pads (OEM). This implies that the exact same pads are installed on the factory assembly line. If the car is no longer in production, these same companies continue to produce the original pads. Prices for such consumables are the highest, respectively, there are no complaints about the quality. Packaging can be both with the logo of the brand-manufacturer of the car, and with the logo of the company that produced the part. There are a lot of fakes, you should be careful.
- Pads for the aftermarket. Not bad parts, the quality and price can vary from the OEM in the range of 30-50%. The difference occurs for a reason. To make production cheaper, the plant can slightly change the friction mixture and make the metal base a little thinner. In addition, each of the major manufacturers has a bunch of branches around the world – in Asia, Europe, Australia and Oceania.
Each of these plants is valued differently and positioned differently in the internal alliance hierarchy and in the marketplace. There are a lot of examples – the Textar brand and Pagid belong to the same concern. At the same Textar pads can be found both on the conveyor Renault Logan, and in the stalls at the car market. Pagid supplies directly to the assembly lines of Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen, with the logo of VW, Audi, Porsche on the package.
- The third category is products for developing countries. It is not difficult to guess which countries are meant. Pads are made to the lowest quality standards, and their price can be up to 30% of the conveyor’s original. The blends are the simplest, the technology is poorly controlled, nevertheless, some quality is felt. We use them only in the most extreme cases.
Conclusion two: original or aftermarket
Of course, the first category pads are preferable. There are fewer problems with them, the factory gives a warranty and the quality is always excellent. The price is a bit high.
Therefore, in our conditions it is better to choose pads for the spare parts market, not burdened with loud logos, but it is also not desirable to buy unknown brands. The rest belongs to the fourth category.
Четвертая категория, которая в любом случае будет присутствовать на раскладках супермаркетов и на рынках — откровенная подделка или копия. Предполагает использование торгового наименования, логотипа известной фирмы, на самом деле выпускаются кустарным способом в пригороде Пекина или Гуанчжоу.
С ними мы сейчас и разберемся.
How not to buy a fake brake pads
In order not to fall for a fake, first of all look at the label. It is mandatory to have a certificate of quality on it. However, for special series of pads, with improved friction properties, wear, high operating temperature, the certificate may not be specified. The fact is that it is expensive for the manufacturer, so the certification is ordered only for the mass range of products.
The most obvious sign of counterfeiting will be the packaging, printing and labeling of poor quality. In addition, the printing on the pads themselves should be clear, the ink should not be smudged, the layer is applied evenly and, of course, not rubbed off by fingers or any objects. The second no less important feature is a special anti-counterfeiting code or QR-code.
Take the pad and look at the last digits of the lot number. Ask the seller to show another set. As a result, the numbers should under no circumstances coincide. In addition, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and there already check the batch number for authenticity. It works 100%, tested.
Why do the brake pads squeak?
We were partly acquainted with this issue, but in regards to new pads and installation features. It’s frustrating when you just put in new pads and they squeak or brake poorly, or both. This happens quite often, especially when the price of Brembo pads is half the price of the original ones. So, this is no Brembo.
However, there are cases when panic is not justified and the squeak can be eliminated:
- Buying obviously cheap fake pads will end up in the best case with their replacement in a day or two due to destruction or terrible squeaking. It is good, if the pad during this time has not had time to eat a brake disk. We warned.
- Rarely, but it happens that the friction lining and the brake disc are simply not compatible. For example, we install expensive ceramic pads on calipers of tired Passat B3 or Duster. In this case it will be almost impossible to avoid squeaking, as a disk is already profiled by other pads and will simply destroy expensive ceramics. It makes sense to put such pads only on new discs.
- If you buy pads and disks from one company, you are guaranteed to get rid of squeaks, long lapping, and unnecessary dust. It is true that it often happens that some companies make excellent discs, but the pads are so bad, while others are the opposite. In this case, you can experiment for a long time, but it is best to ask directly from users.
- The squeaking of the pads is an unavoidable phenomenon during the lapping of the linings. As a rule, the maximum mileage to full understanding between them is from one thousand to one and a half thousand kilometers. The first 200-250 km is not recommended to brake sharply, and the first 500-600 km to avoid prolonged braking, leading to overheating pads.
- If the correct running-in didn’t help, the disc is most likely incompatible with the pad material. True, the reason for squeaks may be banal to a great extent – sand clogged up in calipers, or a disk covered with a layer of rust after a long pause. This is treated by intensive braking on an empty and flat area of the road at speeds up to 100 km / h, in most cases, helps.
Today we found out that you can buy pads, based on the price, if you have a choice between the original and aftermarket parts. Sometimes the latter are of the same quality as the original, or even better. It all depends on the specific brand.
Pads are chosen taking into account our driving style and conditions of the car. In addition, it is not bad before buying to read a couple of tests from reputable publications, which have their own laboratories and polygons, and during the purchase check the authenticity of the product – a matter of honor. Have a good choice, strong brakes and full tanks.