Durability Comparison: Ceramic vs Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

A ceramic brake pad.

If you are looking to buy new brake pads for your car, you will probably be making a choice between ceramic or semi-metallic pads. Generally speaking, both types of pads can be used on most vehicles, and both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, this article will explain the two types of pads, so that you can make an informed decision as to which is the best brake pad type for your vehicle.

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are sometimes referred to as clay or natural brake pads because of the way they are manufactured. Ceramic brake pads are fired in an oven much the same way pottery is. Creating ceramic brake pads is a little more labor-intensive than producing semi-metallic brake pads; therefore, they are usually a bit more expensive.

While ceramic brake pads cost a little more, they usually last longer than semi-metallic brake pads and are able to stand up to heavy amounts of stop and go driving. They also do not create as much brake dust as other types of brake pads.

Some people complain that ceramic brake pads don't offer the stopping power of semi-metallic brake pads before the brakes are warm. This is true in some cases; however, newer types of ceramic brake pads have made great strides in reducing the amount of time that the brakes need to warm up before they're able to stop a vehicle effectively. However, ceramic back pads do still lag behind the overall stopping power of semi-metallic brake pads when the vehicle is first started.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Semi-metallic brake pads usually offer a better grip or more stopping power than ceramic pads that are not yet warmed up. Also, they are cheaper than ceramic brake pads.

Although semi-metallic brake pads are usually much cheaper than the ceramic variety, they usually don't last quite as long and usually require more frequent changes. They also tend to create more brake dust then do the ceramic pads.

Some owners of smaller sports cars try to avoid semi-metallic brake pads not only because of the poor performance of the pads at higher speeds, but also because semi-metallic pads are much heavier than ceramic pads. Many sports car enthusiasts claim that the added weight of the brake pads affects the performance of sports cars in racing events.

Choosing the Best Brake Pad for Your Vehicle

When choosing brake pads for your vehicle, it is usually a good idea to replace older pads with the same type that were installed by the car maker. Generally speaking, the manufacturer of your vehicle uses pads that are most compatible with the rotors in your car. However, this may not always be the case as some manufacturers may use ceramic pads simply because they are lighter and create better fuel efficiency in some vehicles.

You can find both ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads with lifetime warranties. Therefore, if you're concerned about the durability of brake pads, or how long they will last, choosing a brand that comes with a lifetime warranty can help you avoid paying for brake pads that don't last as long as they should.