Types of Friction Material
As stated earlier, the number-one cause of brake noise is the friction material used. For that reason, it’s important to choose a quality friction material to help prevent noise when doing brake work. I can think of four main types of friction material found in brake pads and shoes: metallic, semi-metallic, organic, and ceramic. There are other friction materials, such as carbon ceramic, but those are not as common as the four I mentioned.
Each friction material has its own characteristics. For instance, metallic pads will last the longest but be the loudest and work best when they get hot. Metallic pads are great for racing applications, or at least they used to be before newer materials came along. Semi-metallics split the difference between wear and noise; they were the best of both worlds before ceramics came along. Organic pads will be the quietest, but they have a short life span and often leave a lot of brake dust on your wheels. Ceramics seem to be the best of both worlds now: They’re long-lasting, quiet, and have good wear capabilities. Thing is, they’re often expensive. When it comes to auto parts, you often get what you pay for. Stick as close to OE (original equipment) as possible and you’ll get the best results. If you use cheap friction material, expect cheap results.
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