Organic Brakes vs. Ceramic: What’s the Difference?

November 1, 2017 8:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Are you the type of person who waits until the last possible moment to start braking? Do you unconsciously ride your brakes down hills? Are you a “brake tapper” when there’s heavy traffic? All of these habits take a toll on your brakes, leading them to need replacement quicker than they might normally.

Brakes are a cornerstone of routine auto repair service in Madison, TN. But more than just getting your brakes replaced when they call for it, it’s a smart idea to understand your driving habits so you can understand which type(s) of brakes may be best suited for your vehicle.

Did you know there was a choice? Like any auto part, there are options available to you: specifically, getting organic vs. ceramic brakes. How you drive can have bearing on which option might be right for your vehicle.

Organic Brakes

In the old, early days of automobiles, brake pads were actually made of asbestos. As we know now, this material isn’t suitable for much because of its cancer-causing properties. Today, asbestos brakes have been replaced by non-asbestos organic (NAO) materials. They’re a strong bundle of fibers and resins—usually glass, fiber, carbon, rubber and more.

About 3/4 of all cars come from the factory with organic brakes because they’re a great one-size-fits-all solution. Most drivers will get great lifespans from their organic brakes, as well as other benefits that include:

  • Low heat thresholds for generating friction
  • Low manufacturing and purchase cost
  • Soft, quiet operation

Simply put, they get the job done. Now, these brakes aren’t without drawbacks. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to lose their friction coefficient over time, meaning you might have to mash the brakes a little harder a few years down the line to get the same result. They’re also not great in weather extremes, such as triple digit temps or torrential rainfall.

Ceramic Brakes

Often just called “performance brakes,” ceramic brakes are high-end brakes that are manufactured for ultimate stopping capabilities. Instead of the basic organic materials, these brakes are actually formed with a denser ceramic material that’s kiln-fired for ultimate strength and resistance. The result is a brake pad that performs better and lasts longer. Some other benefits include:

  • Extremely quiet operation
  • Super-clean operation
  • Stability over temperatures and weather conditions

The downfall for ceramic pads is price—you tend to pay more for quality. They may also raise the overall temperature of your brake system, thanks to their high friction coefficient.

Which Option Is Best?

For most people, organic brakes will get the job done. They’re a smart solution that supports most everyday driving needs, and they’ll hold up well over time.

Now, if you’re someone who abuses their brakes with any of the habits we mentioned at the beginning of this article, you might consider ceramic brakes as a smart investment. These brakes will weather your unconscious habits better and last longer, without compromising performance.

The next time you’re in for routine auto repair service in Madison, TN, ask your mechanic about brake options. Depending on how your current brakes are weathering, they might suggest one over the other to better support your driving habits.

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