Brake PadsWhen selecting a set of brake pads, ceramic vs. semi metallic is the choice most people are trying to make. With so many brake pads on the market today, it’s important to understand the differences between the ceramic and semi metallic materials they are made from. While each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, they both have a use depending on the type of vehicle the brake pads are for. For instance, while ceramic brake pads are much quieter than semi metallic brake pads, they also require a period of time to warm up before they perform at full potential. This is just one example of how ceramic and semi metallic brake pads differ, a comparison that is easier to understand after exploring each material individually.

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are composed of a mix between ceramic compounds and tiny copper fibers. The ceramic compound reduces brake dust and dissipates heat, while the copper fibers add strength and durability. This results in a faster reaction time and a smoother, quieter braking cycle, while keeping your wheels free of unsightly brake dust. The benefits of ceramic brake pads are best experienced in a performance vehicle such as sports car, mainly because they perform better than semi metallic brake pads when under heavy stress.

The biggest drawback of ceramic vs. semi metallic brake pads is their high price. At nearly twice the price of semi metallic pads, it’s hard for most drivers to see the incentive. For performance driving, the additional cost can easily be justified by their superior performance at high speeds. However, for vehicles that are primarily used for commuting, the advantage vs. price dilemma is far too daunting.

Semi Metallic Brake Pads

Semi metallic brake pads, sometimes called metallic brake pads, are made from a combination of brass, copper and steel fibers bonded together by a strong resin. Though the exact mixture varies depending on the manufacturer, the formula is usually chosen to increase either performance or longevity. These different formulas are often offered as different brake pad grades, with the premium and performance grades boasting superior stopping power over the standard and economy grades, which generally provide a longer pad life.

The biggest drawback of semi metallic brake pads is a shorter life expectancy vs. ceramic brake pads. However, at nearly half the price, the cost to longevity ratio clearly favors semi metallic brake pads. For most vehicles, semi metallic brake pads are simply the most economic choice. Semi metallic brake pads are overwhelmingly the most common type of brake pads found on cars today, and they seem to have a solid edge in the marketplace for the time being.

Which Brake Pads are Right for My Vehicle?

The bottom line is that most drivers will never notice a difference between ceramic and semi metallic brake pads, except for the extra dent in their bank account. Unless you have a high performance sports car or expensive chrome rims, the advantages of ceramic vs. semi metallic brake pads will likely seem nonexistent. Since ceramic pads are twice the price and generally only last twenty to thirty percent longer, semi metallic brake pads are the most common and cost-effective option for vehicles today.

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