Gone are the days when Fred Flintstone-style brakes would wear out the pads of feet of drivers trying to stop the vehicle on a red stop or a busy road. Today, a slight touch on the brakes decreases the speed instantly, thanks to advancements in this field. Just like other parts of your vehicle need maintenance or replacements, brake pads need attention, too. The blog, available on the KSB Autostyling blog page, focuses on the importance of brake pads, their types and the right choice.
Introduction to Brake Pads
Brake pads are vital parts of the braking system in vehicles and are essential in stopping your car from pressing the brake pedal. They consist of flat steel with thick friction material on one side. On applying the brake pedal, the pads come into contact with the brake disc, generating friction that causes the wheel to stop.
Until the 19th century, braking systems were based on wooden blocks. A wooden block would press against the wheels on the driver’s call while operating the lever. The resulting friction helped stop the car. As the vehicles and speeding advanced, the wooden block became insufficient and inefficient. In 1898, Elmer Ambrose Sperry introduced an innovative solution by suggesting a car equipped with front-wheel disc brakes and brake pads functioning more like bicycle brakes. This began the journey of the modern braking system.
Importance of Brake Pad
It is a brake pad that lets you slow down, stop or avoid car accidents. Hence, it is vital to know the working of brake pads, their types and replacement time.
- Modern Brakes
The braking system of motor cars today is quite advanced and efficient. Brake pads, on coming in contact with the rotor, generate friction that halts the vehicle. Brake pads are integral to the braking system and play a vital role in ensuring a safe stop. On pressing the brake pedal, a cylinder is activated that propels brake fluid through hoses, directing it to the callipers. The callipers engage your brake pads, which exert pressure on the rotor directly linked to the wheel. This pressure generates the required friction to slow down the vehicle and ultimately stop it. Your rotor and wheels decelerate instantly. The process repeats itself in the reverse mode of releasing the pedal press.
- Types of Brake Pads
Different types of brakes are suitable for different vehicles.
- Semi-metallic brake pads consist of 30-60% metals and are widely used. Other materials found in the composition are steel wool, wire and copper. These materials are bound together by an organic resin, shaped into brake pad forms and baked in a furnace. Their benefits include durability, robust nature, heat resistance and cost-effective nature. The drawback of these brake pedals is that they do not work in extremely colder temperatures.
- Ceramic brake pads are heat resistant, tough with high tensile strength and offer quality performance. Other than the same filling material, they are composed of impressive, long-lasting ceramic fibres. The only negative point is that they take time to warm up and operate, which is not favourable for average cars.
- Organic compounds mixed with steel or copper constitute low-metallic NAO. Good at resisting heat but produces noise while working.
- Non-asbestos organic brake pads have most of the organic matter. They are soft and make no noise, but they wear down faster.
- Why does the Brake Pad Wear down?
Car wheels often work at high speed, sometimes on bumpy roads or sharp turns and the process of producing friction to stop them often puts pressure on brake pads that undergo wear and tear over time. Hence, when they wear down depends on how much you drive and how extensively you use your brake pads.
- Time to Replace the Brake Pads
The manual of your vehicle, your driving habits or the type of brake pads you have better decide the timing, but it is advisable to ask your car mechanic occasionally about the health of brake pads. A rough estimate suggests that you should go for replacement somewhere after 4-6 months. Following are a few indicators that serve as a replacement call.
- Noise on pressing the brakes
- Grinding noise while driving
- A car takes time to stop
- Lowered brake pedal
Brake pads are the fundamental parts of a working vehicle. One cannot expect a smooth or safe ride without having them in good health. It is advised to inspect the brake pads’ condition regularly. You might consider replacing them on your own, but mostly, professional experts are hired to ensure the brakes are working optimally.