Today we come here with a good topic on semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads. However, no matter whether you are driving off-road or not, the vehicle needs to halt effectively upon pressing the brakes.
A vehicle does all the multitasking such as towing heavier loads, climbing the rough terrains, daily commutation, and whatnot. Undeniably, brakes are one of the most pivotal components of a four-wheeler when it comes to safety.
After all, it aids the user in halting the vehicle seamlessly by providing stopping power as per the requirement. Nowadays, a majority of vehicles have four-wheel or two-wheel disc brakes.
Generally, the brake lines contain hydraulic fluid that applies pressure over the calipers when the user steps on the pedal. Therefore, the force produces friction amongst the brake pads and the disc or the rotor that is connected to the wheel.
Eventually, the friction leads the wheels to stop or slow down. Not to mention, the brake pads are located inside the caliper.
As time passes by, the brake pads tend to wear down. Hence, the user needs to replace them at the earliest for ensuring a safe driving experience.
In such a case, you have two options. Firstly, you can stick to the brake pads recommended by the manufacturer.
Contrary to this, one can also opt for the aftermarket variants of the brake pad with different characteristics. In this guide, we will shed light on semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads and which one is better for you.
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What are the components of a brake pad?
Usually, the primary job of a brake pad is to convert the kinetic energy into the thermal one. Yet before knowing the types of brake pads, it is crucial to get familiar with the following components of a brake pad.
In particular, it approaches the brake disc or the rotor to slow it down. Likewise, friction blocks arrive in a combination of fillers, lubricants, abrasives, powders, and fibers held altogether through a binder resin.
Most importantly, the material of the pad hugely determines the performance of the brake pads.
Commonly, it consists of more resin to bind the friction block effectively to the backing plate. There might be a sensor in most brake pads known as a squealer that produces a squealing sound upon wearing the brake pads.
Through this, the user gets to know whether the friction material is in good condition or not.
A braking system produces a considerable amount of heat. Hence, the adhesive must be fully resistant to heat. In addition, it must be robust enough to slab the friction block towards the backing plate, especially in extremely adverse conditions.
Putting it simply, a backing plate is the fundamental component of the brake pad. Further, it is made with steel to offer clamping pressure uniformly alongside the friction block while the brake system is in use.
The shim aids in reducing the vibration along with noise level arising from the backing plate towards the brake calipers.
Types of Braking Pads
Earlier, the friction material present over the brake pads was made using asbestos as it was more heat-resistant, durable, and affordable.
Despite such great features, this material still has a downside. Likewise, asbestos was not eco-friendly, resulting in health as well as environmental issues.
Because of it, several new types of friction materials came into emergence. However, all the brake pads are not similar; they vary as per the friction material and performance intensity.
Due to this fact, one cannot solely determine the front-runner amongst the semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads. Below-mentioned is the diverse types of braking pads available in the market.
Organic Brake Pads
Organic brake pads were considered to be a good replacement for the asbestos pads. These are also popular as NAO or non-asbestos organic.
Such pads are made using Kevlar, rubber, fiber, carbon, and glass or with a combination of all blended with resin to stick together. Besides, the organic pads are inexpensive, due to which most manufacturers prefer them the most.
Furthermore, the organic pads are gentle, noise-free, and softer on the brake system. These pads are more suitable for regular on-road commutation.
However, organic pads do have disadvantages, such as they wear down more rapidly in comparison to their other counterparts in the segment.
In addition, they also generate brake dust which can be quite inconvenient at times. One needs to apply more pressure on the brake pedal in the case of organic pads.
Semi Metallic Brake Pads
If off-road driving is your area of interest, nothing will suffice the requirements more than semi-metallic brake pads. These are crafted specifically for extreme driving conditions.
Likewise, such pads have a higher percentage of copper, steel, and iron along with other metals in the composition. These are long-lasting and can withstand heat-related damages with ease.
Apart from that, the semi-metallic brake pads provide excellent stoppage power while driving.
Another good thing to consider about these pads is that they perform well in all types of temperatures. Moreover, they have exceptional heat-absorbing capabilities, which keep the brake system cool.
However, the semi-metallic pads function aggressively, causing wear on the brake rotors. Other than it, they are noisy and generate a substantial amount of brake dust.
These pads are the optimal choice for those who require reliability during sudden brakes or are towing heavy cargo. Yet before concluding which one is better amongst the semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads, let us analyze the latter one too.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads are expensive than the other ones present in the segment. These are noise-free and ultra-durable, which makes them ideal for long-term use.
Besides, they are made with ceramic materials and copper fibers. Most importantly, the ceramic pads offer maximum stability in a vast range of temperatures.
Another impressive aspect is that they produce an insignificant amount of brake dust. Ceramic pads offer a firm grip on the brake pedal but are placid on the braking system.
Talking about the downside of the ceramic pads, they are not much efficient in absorbing heat. Because of it, they might not perform consistently well in extremely hot or cold weather.
Consequently, it can also lead to excessive wear of the braking system. Overall, ceramic pads are recommendable for comfortable and disruption-free regular driving.
Assessing Semi Metallic vs Ceramic Brake Pads
Be it semi-metallic or a ceramic brake pad, each of them is having distinct properties, usage, and specialty. Hence, the selection of the best will vary as per the user’s requirements, preference, and budget as well.
Yet, if you want to choose between semi-metallic vs. ceramic brake pads, go through the following aspects of comparisons.
Semi-metallic pads are apt for those outdoor enthusiasts who like to indulge in off-road expeditions quite often. Likewise, these pads offer great support while driving over bumpy surfaces or rough terrains.
On the contrary, the ceramic brake pads are more suitable for regular on-road driving. So if you are an adventure lover, go with the semi-metallic ones for safety assurance and reliability.
In terms of durability, both the semi-metallic and ceramic brake pads deliver impressive results.
However, the latter one is more long-lasting in comparison to the semi-metallic brake pads. Still, the ceramic pads are not made for higher-intensity usage.
Build-up wise, the composition of the semi-metallic brake pads contain steel, iron, and copper with other metals. Whereas, the ceramic brake pads are engineered with copper fibers alongside ceramic materials.
Though the semi-metallic brake pads are more robust in comparison to the ceramic ones; they tend to wear due to aggressive usage.
Stopping power efficiency is one of the most important determinants while evaluating semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads. Generally, the semi-metallic brake pads are more versatile and offer an exceptional braking response.
Nevertheless, the ceramic brake pads also have stoppage capabilities satisfactorily; they are not good at facilitating sudden power breaks.
Emphasizing the performance, semi-metallic brake pads are made for heavy-duty usage. These provide better friction, due to which the user gets to experience braking reliability even in adverse conditions. Coming onto the ceramic brake pads, these are meant for light-duty usage.
As a result, they perform well only on the regular roads and not the bumpy ones. If you want to go on a long off-road drive, semi-metallic will be a perfect choice. Contrarily, ceramic brake pads will be ideal for daily commutation.
Picking the best amongst semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads becomes easy when you prioritize your necessities. Comfort refers to fewer disturbances while you drive. Likewise, the ceramic brake pads are less noisy in comparison to the semi-metallic ones.
Thus the former creates very little or no disruptions during the drive. If comfort is your foremost priority, go for the ceramic brake pads. Yet if you need performance-oriented brake pads, look no further than semi-metallic ones.
Usually, the brake pads produce brake dust when in use. However, the intensity of the same might depend upon the type of brake pad and its functioning.
Likewise, the ceramic brake pads generate a negligible amount of brake dust. As a result, the user will have to spend lesser time on its maintenance.
Speaking of the semi-metallic brake pads, they produce a noticeable amount of brake dust. Hence they require more cleaning and maintenance to stay in good condition.
If the braking system gets excessively overheated, the components will tend to wear out. That is why the brake pads need to absorb the heat and cool down the system.
That is why heat resistance is an important factor while comparing semi metallic vs ceramic brake pads.
Generally, the semi-metallic brake pads conduct heat properly, thus leading to effective heat absorption. Eventually, it aids in keeping the brake system cooler and increases the longevity of prolonged use.
Besides, ceramic materials act more as an insulator rather than a conductor. Due to this, the ceramic brake pads might not absorb heat completely in an extremely hot climate.
In particular, ceramic brake pads are the costlier ones in the market. Apart from it, the manufacturing cost of these brake pads is also high.
Whereas, the semi-metallic brake pads are available at budget-friendly prices. As a user, consider your monetary limitation and compare the features with the utility of brake pads to make a wise choice.
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FAQs: Semi Metallic vs Ceramic Brake Pads
Which brake pads are not suitable for cold weather?
Commonly, the ceramic brake pads contain lesser cold bites than the semi-metallic ones. As a consequence, they are unable to perform efficiently in cold weather. If you are driving in cold temperatures, it is advisable to go for semi-metallic brake pads.
What is a cold bite?
Cold bite refers to the intensity of the friction level when the brake pads are cool. Precisely, if the brake pad’s cold bite capabilities are higher, it will work more efficiently in cold weather.
What is a hot bite and maximum operating temperature (MOT)?
Hot bite is the measurement of friction level when the brake pads are warmer or overheated. Besides, the MOT is the optimal temperature at which a brake pad can operate before becoming unsafe or getting out of use.
How to know if the brake pads are worn out?
When the brake pads are worn out, they will either screech or vibrate. Apart from it, they will not function smoothly. One might have to apply extra pressure to stop or slow down the car.
Conclusion: Semi Metallic vs Ceramic Brake Pads
After going through the aforementioned information, you will be able to pick the best between semi-metallic vs. ceramic brake pads. Without a doubt, both the brake pads serve the purpose for which they are made.
As a user, it will be your task to rule out the features and functionality that your car’s brake system needs. Make sure to get the top-notch quality brake pads only for experiencing optimum comfort and safety while driving.
Daniel Bass, owner of Best Vehicle Parts, leverages 8 years of auto parts expertise to author insightful blogs sharing his automotive knowledge.