Brake pads on a car are meant to ensure that us and other road users are safe. Proper car maintenance involves making sure that the components of the brake system are in a good condition.
Brake maintenance may involve the application of brake grease, cleaning, brake fluid refill, checking the brake lines amongst other essential activities. Just to observe the vehicle safety requirements and to ensure optimum car performance.
What is a brake pad?
They are used in the disc brakes system. Brake pads are a flat metallic piece of steel that have a thick friction material on one side. There are many types of brake pads with varying friction material.
Disc brakes have two brake pads per each of the vehicle’s brake rotors. The brake pads are held in place by a caliper. Further, the caliper is attached to the wheel hub or suspension system.
How the brake pad works.
The driver presses the brake pedal in an attempt to stop or slow down. This creates a hydraulic pressure force that pushes against the master cylinder. The brake master cylinder is a piston that’s surrounded by brake fluid.
The brake fluid flows down the brake lines to force the brake calipers to squeeze a pair of brake pads against brake discs. Therefore, this will slow down the wheels and eventually the vehicle stops.
During that process, there is a lot of energy that is generated. The kinetic energy transforms into heat [thermal energy] which needs to be dispersed away from the brakes. Hence preventing overheating of the brakes.
The brake rotors of the disc brakes are very effective at dispersing this heat. This is because of their surface are which allows heat to leave at a faster rate. Hence the reason why most vehicles use disc brakes instead of drum brakes.
This process causes the friction material to wear out over time. Therefore, you should undertake regular brake service to remove the bad brake pads.
Most brake pads have a mechanism for alerting the driver when the brake pads wear out. For example, a small central groove whose disappearance alerts the driver that it’s replacement time.
Secondly, manufacturers place a thin strip of soft metal which causes a loud brake squeal when it is exposed. Lastly, the manufacturers embeds a soft metal tab that creates a complete electric circuit when the pads wear out. Afterwards, this complete circuit lights a dashboard brake warning light.
Brake pad types.
The type of brake pads usually vary in relation to the method of production and materials used during production. Therefore, this ends up affecting the durability of the brake pads.
a]. Organic brake pads.
These brake pads are made from a mixture of organic materials. For example, fiber and resin. They produce less dusty during their lifespan in comparison to metallic brake pads.
Further, the organic brake pads are less costly though they don’t have a long lifespan. Additionally, they are poor at heat dispersing when compared to metallic brake pads.
The lifespan of organic brake pads vary depending on the materials used during their manufacture.
b]. Ceramic brake pads.
These brake pads are made of small amounts of metal fibers, ceramic fibers and other materials. Ceramic brake pads are known for long lifespans and less brake dust.
Further, they are known to operate very well under high temperatures because of their heat dispersal ability. Ceramic brake pads are quite expensive in comparison to other types of brake pads.
c]. Semi-metallic brake pads.
Their make consists of metals like cooper and bronze which is fused with other non-metallic materials. These brake pads perform well under a wide range of temperatures.
Further, semi-metallic brake pads perform exceptionally even when carrying heavy loads. But they tend to cause brake disc wear at a higher rate in comparison to the other types of brake pads.