The braking system is by far the most important safety feature in your car. The ability of your car to stop when you press the brake pedal can save your life and other motorists and pedestrians.
That is why it is important to ensure that your braking system is in good condition all the time. Surprisingly, despite being one of the most important components of the car, most people know very little about them.
The part of the braking system that comes into contact with the rotor is known as a brake pad. This component creates friction, which in turn brings your vehicle to a stop.
Because of the crucial work that brake pads do, they often wear down quickly and need regular replacement. That is why it is crucial to buy brake pads that are made with high quality and durable material.
While brake pads are made of many materials, most motorists today prefer brake pads made of ceramic and carbon fiber. So are you considering upgrading your vehicle’s brake pads and you have narrowed down your list to ceramic brake pads and carbon fiber brake pads?
If yes, then today you are in the right place. In this article, we will review these two types of brake pads in-depth to help you make an informed decision. Now without further ado, let’s get into the article.
What are ceramic brake pads?
As the name suggests, ceramic brake pads are made from a material that is very similar to the one used to make plates and pottery.
However, ceramic brake pads are much more rugged and sturdier. Ceramic brake pads were developed in the early 1980s but their popularity increased steadily due to their durability and effectiveness in providing instant stoppage.
Ceramic brake pads also contain copper fibers which help to increase friction. As a result, ceramic brake pads are very effective even in slippery conditions. The copper fiber also helps to dissipate heat away.
Unlike other types of brake pads that are quite noisy, ceramic brake pads operate quietly. More so, the pads also don’t pick up a lot of dust as is the case with other types of brake pads.
What are carbon fiber brake pads?
Carbon fiber brake pads are made of carbon and fiber materials. Carbon fiber brake pads are also durable and can tolerate a great range of temperatures.
Additionally, they also fade at a slower pace. Carbon fiber brake pads are mostly used in sports cars, police cars, towing vehicles, and heavy load vehicles because of their durability and superior performance under extreme conditions.
Carbon fiber brake pads were originally developed for use in aircraft because of their incredible stopping force, high thermal conductivity, and temperature stability.
Differences between ceramic vs. carbon fiber brake pads
Ceramic and carbon fiber brake pads are the most popular type of brake pads on the market today. Although they both do the same thing, the two have some notable differences. In this section, we will point out the difference between these two types of brake pads.
One of the main differences between ceramic brake pads and carbon fiber brake pads is the noise emitted when you apply brakes.
Ceramic brake pads are very quiet and create very little to no sound when the brake is applied. On the other hand, carbon fiber brake pads are quite noisy, especially when emergency brakes are applied.
Another notable difference between the two is their durability. Carbon fiber brake pads are by far superior when it comes to durability. They are incredibly strong and do not wear out quickly. That is why they are mostly used in racing cars and heavy-load trucks.
On the other hand, ceramic brake pads are sturdy but usually wear much quicker compared to carbon fiber brake pads. The reason why they wear out faster is that ceramic brake pads are not so good at dissipating heat from the rotor. As a result, the heat is passed to the brake pads, which makes them wear out fast.
When it comes to heat management, carbon fiber brake pads stand out. They have superior high-temperature stability and thermal conductivity. Carbon fiber performs even better as rotors and pads heat up.
That is why they are commonly used in racing cars where brakes heat up quickly. They have excellent temperature management properties and work extremely well under high temperatures.
Ceramic brake pads are not that good when it comes to temperature management. They are not good at absorbing heat, which makes them wear fast.
Due to high manufacturing costs, ceramic brake pads are the most expensive of all types of brake pads with an average of between $60 and $100 each.
However, they are also very durable. The cost of manufacturing carbon fiber brake pads is lower compared to ceramic brake pads, thus more affordable. Their average cost is between $25 and $60 each
Ceramic brake pads are denser because of the nature of the material that they are made from. Carbon fiber brake pads are lighter with an average weight of about 15 pounds.
Comparison chart of ceramic vs. carbon fiber brake pads.
Ceramic brake pads
Carbon fiber brake pads
Little to no noise level
It is quite noisy
Wear and tear
Wears slowly but causes more rotor wear
They wear much faster but cause less wear and tear on the rotor
Does not perform well under extreme conditions
Performs extremely well under extreme conditions
Generates less dust
They generate more dust
The pads cool quicker but draw less heat from the rotor
The pads retain more heat but draw more heat from the rotor
Ideal for everyday driving
Ideal for racing, towing, everyday driving, and heavy trucking
So, which brake pads should I choose?
From the information given above, it is evident that these two types of brake pads are unique in their way. Both have unique features that make them stand out.
So, when deciding which one to choose between the two, you should consider your unique needs and then select the one that has the most features that you are looking for.
For instance, if you are looking for brake pads for a racing car or heavy load vehicle, then carbon fiber braking pads are the best choice because of their incredible ability to manage heat, ability to work under extreme conditions, and also provide enormous stopping power.
On the other hand, if you are looking for brake pads that are quiet and durable under normal driving conditions, then ceramic brake pads are a great choice for you.
But if asked to choose between the two I would go for carbon fiber brake pads because they are durable, lightweight, more affordable, have better heat management, work better under extreme conditions, and are suited for both everyday driving, and heavy tracking, and racing.