Auto Parts, Brake Pads and Vehicle Fitness

Auto Parts, Brake Pads and Vehicle FitnessHow much do we know about brake pads and their role as necessary auto parts in vehicle fitness and the safe driving and stopping of our vehicles?

Brake pads are a part of the disc braking system, which is standard equipment for modern vehicles. In a disc braking system, a calliper is situated around the front wheels of your vehicle (most of a car’s stopping force comes from the front tires).

The calliper is fitted with brake pads. When you press the brake pedal, the calliper squeezes the brake pads against the wheel and the resulting friction slows your vehicle to a stop.

With the Assistance of Auto Parts Specialist Goldwagen, we approached Hella Pagid with a Q&A to gain more insights on brake pads as friction components.

Introduction

  • Joint Venture between TMD Friction, one of the global leading friction manufacturers, and Hella KG
  • More than 100 years of experience in automotive spare parts

Which types of brake pads are more commonly used in vehicles?

  • Three main friction material concepts are used worldwide in relation to metal or steel content: Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO), Low metallic and Semi-metallic.

Hella Pagid is almost fully engaged in the low metallic friction concept which offers the best braking performance with sufficient lifetime and highly accepted comfort.

What are the major differences between HPBS brake pads and others in the market? Do we have a one-type-fits-all brake pad or are there different types and characteristics we should be aware of when buying brake pads?

Brake pads are safety products and should provide optimal performance under whichever conditions might exist. Following this, all brake pads offered in the market should do their job, they should brake and should fulfil the legal safety and regulatory requirements.

These legal requirements are most often merely designed to meet the minimum standard, e.g. ECE R90 in European markets. With our brake pads, Hella Pagid fulfils the ECE R90 legislation. We do believe, as the regulations show below, it’s not enough to focus only on brake performance.

Hella Pagid brake pads go beyond the ECE R90. Comfort, wear and environmental aspects need to be considered as well and be tested for with the HPBS pads as shown in the table below. For environmental matter, almost 90% of what Hella Pagid is selling in friction is copper-free.

A contribution to environmental-friendly products.

In theory, a one-type-fits-all brake pad or friction material would be nice to have as it can cover all types of vehicles, from small or mini cars to medium or sport utility vehicles and high-performance cars.

Nevertheless, all these vehicles do have different characteristics. They differ in terms of power, speed, weight, suspension, places to use, braking distribution between axles or preferences by the driver regarding deceleration, pedal feeling or stopping behaviour. In order to fulfil our requirements several friction solutions are needed - the one-type-fits-all brake pad does not exist in the real world of friction.

Whenever a driver needs to replace his old brake pads and is looking for a new pad set, the following questions should be answered:  

  • How is the relationship between Price and Value? 
  • Do I have a brand name on hand that I can trust?
  • Is it a pure aftermarket product or a product from an OE supplier?
  • Is the brand owner a producer of friction components or a buy-in player?
  • Can I see the quality, health, and safety standards available about the product?
  • Can I gain insights into the experiences others had with the product?
  • Can I see visual differences between a “cheap and expensive product” in terms of
    • Branding of product
    • Appearance (mechanical treatment or finish of the brake pad)
    • Accessories inside the box, e.g. bolts, calliper, or anti-noise shims
    • Additional features like cutting edges or special noise measurements on the product

Almost 100% Hella Pagid low metallic brake pads are produced in its production facilities at TMD Friction in Europe. The compounding is completely made by TMD Friction.

With this engineering and production background, we get tested and have traceable products beyond the ECE R90 standards. At the same time, we do have access to OE products and standards in friction. We do explain what’s inside the box.

Influencing factors in braking

  • A well-maintained braking system in which parts (e.g. calliper, piston) can move easily is most suitable for optimum braking performance.
  • Recommended not just to replace pads, new pads and discs provide optimum braking.
  • Tyres and suspension should be in the same condition. If not, stopping distance is extended.
  • Both pads and disc should not reach wear-off levels.
  • Type and use of the vehicle are given, hence the product a quality supplier offers into the market should be dedicated to the model.
  • Quality products are tested in various conditions, whether performance, comfort or safety. This includes weather conditions, whether hot or cold.
  • Brake parts are safety products, hence technicians should be trained and have the skills to do this job. Braking isn’t a DIY job!!!

The Technical overlaps to other Vehicle Components

In general, overlapping occurs to all related components or systems close to the braking system:

  • Suspension and bearings
  • Chassis
  • Tyres / Wheel hub
  • Steering

What are the Risks of using inferior or incorrect brake pads?

  • Overheating / Fading
  • Weak comfort (noise)
  • Poor treatment in production or finishing (e.g. fixing of anti-noise shims, dampening weights or incorrect piston clips) causes damage inside the braking system
  • High wear on pads or discs
  • Insufficient maintenance could lead to damage of brake-related components
  • Improper repair without respecting assembly instructions can have a bad result in comfort and wear
  • Risk of life

Conclusion

The required specifications on brake pads and discs are nearly unlimited.

Especially safety-relevant aspects are major issues which have to be fulfilled from the manufacturers' side. Overall the vehicle should be able to stop during all possible situations without delay. Furthermore, comfort aspects (e.g. noise, pedal feel, braking response) must be considered, even if it is not safety-related, but nowadays mandatory to fulfil.

Braking products like pads and discs are often seen as commodity products wherein price is the main determining factor. Well-tested braking products undergo years of development and require special know-how and expertise. It’s not just a simple black block needed in the safe stopping of a vehicle.

Therefore, choose quality products that you can trust. Every meter in stopping distance counts and can save your life. Hella Pagid Brake Systems provides high-quality braking products to meet all kinds of requirements in the fields of physical/chemical attributes, friction and comfort. No compromises!

With an inferior brake pad, you might pay twice.

Also view:

Brakes, Braking and Road Safety

Safe Driving and Understanding your Brake System

Following Distances and Road Safety

Buying Auto Parts and Safety on the Road

Vehicle maintenance and safety guide to the roadworthiness of vehicles

Safe Driving with ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems)

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