Here’s just how badly cheap brake pads perform

The braking system needs to be the most reliable system on your car. No ifs, and, or buts. That means keeping the system in tip-top shape and replacing parts as they wear out. Like many other systems, those repair parts come in various price ranges. There’s no question that maintenance is essential, but are the expensive parts are truly worth it? Engineering Explained recently showed us how brake pads are tested and how the affordable sorts stack up against the more pricey varieties.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/11/06/heres-just-how-badly-cheap-brake-pads-perform

I am surprised that he kept saying “pressure” when he was talking about a “force”.

He’s referring to the fluid pressure. There is most likely a pressure gauge on the caliper.

No he was not.

No he was not.

Interesting, but hardly definitive. Key take away - don’t buy the cheapest pads. But, there are many brake pad manufactures out there, so a simple price comparison is of limited value. Would be more useful to see, organic versus semi-metalic versus carbon ceramic - and probably others I can’t think of off the top of the head. Probably too much to ask for so what do folks reading this endorse. I use carbon ceramic pads in my vehicles.

Having been a sales rep for the Aftermarket for 40 years. and SEMA Rep of the year a few times, I am Convinced that buying either Hawk or Centric pads are the Rolex of the group. You can pick your poison after that. Usually the cheaper you get the further you get away from quality anything, especially pads. VERY few true manufacturers of these pads like Hawk or Centric exist. Almost every other high quality, company buys them from someone else, and re-boxes them as their own “special” blend. Only other pads I would recommend are the original OEM pads, that came with the car in the first place.

Looking at the video, he used the term "brake pedal effort" when it showed a foot applied to the pedal (force) but whenever the narrator referenced pressure, he was pointing at the graphs and in particular, the green data. If you look at the charts, “Force” is not there at all. Pressure however is there several times, measured in “bars”. In the case of the cheap pads, after fade kicked in, it was requiring a pressure of 150 Bar to stop the disk. (2,175 PSI) It is indeed the fluid pressure in the system being discussed. I don’t see any units of “Force” (lbs, Kg or Newtons) on the graphs.

@mzimmer475 - I was a little surprised by the OEM pad’s performance. I know I shouldn’t have been, but I really assumed it would be closer to the budget pads. I guess this is one more case explaining what assume means…

Budget is not the reason I buy cheap pads. I’m trying to get pads that won’t ruin my rotors. This is the parameter I’d like to see.

@dpely2 - I am curious what you mean by “not ruin my rotors.” Rotor are inherently consumable as part of the brake system. If they are not being worn, the brakes aren’t working.

Not attacking, just curious as to your perspective.

Looks like the mid-level pads are the way to go in terms of value. I’ve always bought them with minimal problems overall. In fact, I’ve never really had a problem with friction aside from some pretty dusty, semi-metallic formulations. After 28 years of selling auto parts, I can tell you that most people buy the cheapest crap that they can and then complain a month later. Most of the problems are not the pads themselves, but the improper installation of them. No one cleans and lubes the slides, cleans and lubes the mounting points on the caliper bracket or replace the rotors. They do pad slaps and then say that the product they bought was defective. I got tired of handing free brake parts to people who didn’t deserve them and basically took advantage of a store’s “warranty”.

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