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Brake Pads: OEM vs. Aftermarket Performance Pads

OEM vs. Aftermarket Brake Pads

OEM Pros

  • Produce less dust than traditional semi-metallic pads
  • Allow for softer, quieter braking
  • Work great upon immediate driving and in cold weather
  • Cause less wear on your brake rotors than most performance aftermarket pads

OEM Cons

  • Make for noticeably longer stopping distances
  • Wear out sooner than most ceramic brake pads
  • Can cause a “mushy” brake pedal feel
  • Quickly lose their coefficient of friction under extreme heat

Aftermarket Pros

  • Made in a wide-range of compounds, from organic to aramid fiber
  • Less prone to brake fade when used with a high-performance brake fluid
  • Dramatically shorter stopping distances over OEM pads
  • Provide a more consistent pedal feel and better pedal modulation

Aftermarket Cons

  • Abrasive compounds will wear your brake rotors more quickly
  • Must be heated to the optimal operating temp to brake effectively
  • Produce more brake dust for more frequent cleaning
  • Can be noisier than your OEM pads

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

  • Metal compound usually consists of steel, iron and copper, combined with friction modifiers, fillers and graphite lubricant
  • Metallic composition draws heat away from the rotor and aids in more efficient brake cooling
  • Produce more noise and dust than ceramic but are arguably the more versatile of the two
  • More effective over a wider-range of temperatures and have a much higher thermal threshold
  • Provide better cold bite than ceramic pads and maintain much more consistent friction characteristics throughout their operating range
  • For track use or even spirited street driving, semi-metallic pads are the clear choice

Ceramic Brake Pads

  • Composed of a dense ceramic material, similar to fired pottery, with embedded copper fibers
  • Generally cause less wear and tear on your rotors than semi-metallic pads
  • Less effective in cold weather or before the brakes are up to temperature
  • Typically have a lower coefficient of friction than their semi-metallic counterparts (the higher the coefficient of friction, the better a brake pad will stop your vehicle)
  • Offer ample stopping power for casual city or highway driving

Choosing OEM or Performance Brake Pads

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