Brake Pads: OEM vs. Aftermarket Performance Pads

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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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Mike Cote
My 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab 4x4 offers bed space to camp in, haul my dirt bike around, and it's been done up to take on the trails. Favorite mods include my Icon coilovers to soak up the bumps. My Walker Evans 501 Legend wheels wrapped in Toyo RT tires give me the clearance from my upper control arms to fit (and they look darn good) and the over-sized tires take on rocks with plenty of traction. My Rigid Industries fog lights have kept me out of a ditch or two when night wheeling. Growing up going to car shows and helping my dad work on the family vehicles ignited my passion. My best memory was the first time I flushed the coolant. My dad forgot to tell me to keep my face out from under the drain plug. Never made that mistake again!

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