Ask the Best and Brightest: Ceramic or Kevlar Brake Pads?
A reader writes:
I’m beginning to shop around for pads for my ’07 Sonata (3.3 liter motor). I’m looking to replace the OEM pads (which were very good, BTW) with something with a little more bite. Initially, I was looking at ceramic pads, but I’ve noticed in my shopping that Titanium Kevlar pads are roughly $10 cheaper depending on where you go. What is the consensus between Ceramic vs. Titanium Kevlar? Is it one of those you get what you pay for deals? Or is there a value? Also, would it be ill-advised to mix and match? Say Ceramics up front and Titanium Kevs in the rear? I’m having a somewhat hard time looking for sites that offer ceramics for the rear of the car. Do the B&B recommend any good sites for brake shopping? TireRack doesn’t offer them, at least for my car. I’ve scoured the forums and they are mostly useless on this subject. I basically want a set of pads that bite well, haul the car down noticeably and give good feel. I don’t care about brake dust.
I upgraded my '97 Camaro to Hawk HPS's and Power Slot rotors - the HPS pads stopped well, and had surprisingly little dust, despite the slotted rotors. Unfortunately, the Power Slots warped, like every other set of rotors on that car, and being slotted, you can't get them turned. (I believe that GM used 'undersized' rotors on that car, considering it was 3300lbs and ran fairly huge rubber.) So, I can assume that the OEM rotors are still in good shape? How many miles?
+1 on the Hawk HPS pads. Run 'em on my daily driver/canyon carver M3. Less dust than stock, more bite than stock, and longer life than stock. What's not to like?
Manufacturer pads are chosen for three things, and three things only: quietness, lack of brake dust, and longevity. Things that you don't usually associate with good stopping. I've got Hawks, and the brake feel is much better than stock, but the squealing is pretty incredible. I think a good set of metallic or less aggressive ceramic pads would do just as well, though. Stainless is better than rubber, but it's a difference you will only appreciate once you've switched to DOT4 and are doing repeated laps on the track. On the street, your brakes will almost never get hot enough to warrant the change to stainless lines.