Semi-Metallic vs. Ceramic Brakes

Your vehicle’s brakes are an important safety aspect when driving. Without properly working brakes, you may not be able to stop your car in time to avoid a collision. Every part of the brake system needs to be working in order to provide an efficient stop. Having the right brake pads installed in your vehicle is key to providing a safe and comfortable driving experience. But there are a lot of options to choose from. How do you decide which brake pads are right for your vehicle? At Bosch Auto Service, we want to help every driver understand their car and choose the best parts for it. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads to help you make the right decision at your next service appointment.

What is a Brake Pad?

Brake pads are an important part of your vehicle’s braking system that help provide the friction needed to slow down. Each individual brake on your car has two brake pads that face the rotor. When you step on the brake pedal, hydraulics squeeze the caliper clamps, forcing the brake pads against the rotor. The resulting friction slows the wheels of your car to a stop. The efficiency, durability, and speed of braking are all affected by the type of material your brake pads are made from. Different materials have different effects on the brake rotors.

Ceramic Brake Pads

What Are They?

Ceramic brakes were developed in the 1980s and have become increasingly popular among motorists. They are made from the same ceramic mixture used in many pottery designs. This denser material, mixed with fine copper fibers, provides a durable surface that won’t wear down as easily as other brake pad materials. Their surface also has an increased hot conductivity level, so it can provide more friction for stopping without additional damage.

  • Lower noise level - so you don’t hear as much sound when applying the brakes
  • Increased durability - they’ll last longer
  • Less brake dust production - less chance to damage other parts of the braking system and wheels

If you want a durable product with a smooth ride, ceramic brake pads are for you.

  • Most expensive brake pad option
  • Lower performance in extreme driving conditions - such as participating in brake-heavy driving maneuvers
  • Lower performance in extreme weather conditions - such as below freezing temperatures

If you have a more demanding driving style or extreme weather conditions, a semi-metallic brake pad set is likely to serve you better.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

What Are They?

Semi-metallic brake pads are composed of a mixture of metals (such as copper, iron, steel, and composite alloys) along with filler materials (such as graphite lubricant). There’s a wide variety of semi-metallic compounds to choose from, but each compound has similar advantages and disadvantages over other brake pad materials.

  • Ability to perform harder and faster braking - thanks to the stronger surface metallic brake pads provide
  • Better temperature regulation - easier to drive in extreme temperatures
  • Lower cost than ceramic brake pads

Drivers who find themselves needing stronger and more durable brake performance often find that semi-metallic brake pads work best for their vehicles.

  • Increased noise levels - lowering the comfort of a ride
  • Increased friction capabilities - puts added stress on the entire braking system, leading to increased wear and tear on rotors
  • Increased brake dust production - which can damage wheels and tires

For motorists who don’t need as strong or durable a brake system, ceramic brake pads are usually preferred.

Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads - Which to Choose for Your Vehicle

When it comes to your brakes, you want to make sure you have high-quality parts that will improve your vehicle's performance and keep you safe. Finding the right brake pads for your car depends on driving conditions and your personal driving style, which means there’s no one easy answer for every situation. At Bosch Auto Service, we help to determine what works best for your vehicle’s braking system. When it's time to replace your brake pads, we can help you determine which material is best suited for your car based on both vehicle manufacturer recommendations and our expertise in parts manufacturing. Make an appointment at your local Bosch Auto Service today for all your brake system needs. You can trust your Bosch Auto Service technician to help keep you and your vehicle safe on the road.

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