It is estimated that today’s passenger vehicles contain about 30,000 individual parts. But a modern vehicle, as compared to one manufactured a decade ago, is best thought of as a collection of systems, each of which might include dozens or even hundreds of components engineered to work together for optimal performance, reliability and safety.
For example, a modern brake system includes brake pads, discs, master cylinder, brake lines and hoses, fluid, booster, calipers and pistons, anti-lock brake system (ABS) control module, wheel speed sensors and more. Oh, and don’t forget the brake pedal itself, which not only activates the system but also transmits certain operating characteristics back to the driver. Think of the brake system, therefore, as a holistic unit designed to operate at peak efficiency in all driving situations.
This system is a lot like those featured in other consumer technologies, including computers, smartphones and even our Internet-based music libraries. Introduce substandard components or software into any of these systems and things just won’t seem as fast or efficient as they used to be.
Engineered together to run together
Brake pads and discs are the brake system’s most commonly replaced components. This is because their primary function – to stop the vehicle by absorbing and dissipating kinetic energy – occurs through the gradual wear of their respective operating surfaces.
High-quality brake pads feature friction materials formulated to provide safe, reliable, comfortable and quiet stopping when mated with a complementary brake disc. Therefore, if the vehicle’s brake pads and discs need to be replaced, it’s always best to select parts that were designed, manufactured and tested to operate together. This is how leading aftermarket brake parts suppliers such as FERODO develop premium pads and discs, and why installers using FERODO premium brake pads can be certain there are precision-matched FERODO brake discs available for the best possible safety, performance and durability.
Understanding the risks
It’s virtually impossible to keep up with all of the new brands of brake parts these days. While having choices is good, it can be difficult in today’s Internet-based economy for installers and consumers to distinguish between quality parts and those that are poorly designed and potentially dangerous. It is vital, therefore, to first select a brand you know and trust. FERODO, for example, has been a preferred provider to vehicle manufacturers for more than 100 years and is a trusted choice of automotive service professionals worldwide.
The FERODO approach to designing and manufacturing brake pads and discs is another key differentiator. These components are engineered for a perfect match when installed together, which helps ensure optimal bedding-in of the friction material on the rotor surface. This, in turn, helps prevent buildup of uneven layers of material on the disc, or uneven disc wear, which can lead to unwanted brake pulsation, steering wheel vibrations and noise.
A non-FERODO disc might also feature significantly lower-quality metallurgy and substandard machining which both could negatively impact heat dissipation, pad and disc durability, pedal feel, operating noise and safety.
Other drawbacks of “cheap” discs can include overly wide ventilation gaps resulting from the manufacturers’ desire to use thinner, less expensive disc plates. Unfortunately, these discs might not cool as efficiently as FERODO discs, potentially leading to heat-induced “brake fade” and accelerated pad wear. In extreme situations, excessive heat can even cause failure of other wheel-end components and, in a worst-case scenario, wheel-end fires, or the collapse of the braking system.
Even if a cheap brake disc has a similar appearance to a quality product, there might be design differences that can profoundly degrade safety and performance. For example, every FERODO premium brake disc features precisely shaped and spaced cooling frames engineered to match the vehicle’s unique braking requirements. Lower-quality discs often have fewer cooling frames, less efficient frame shapes and/or improper spacing that can result in higher operating temperatures.
‘safe’ don’t match
A vehicle’s braking system has one overarching purpose: to help keep drivers, passengers and other motorists safe. It’s impossible to put a price tag on safety. Rather than search for the least expensive option, it’s important to remember the potentially devastating costs of operating an unsafe vehicle.
While many installers and consumers understand and appreciate the role of brake pads, they often fail to remember that every stop requires the proper interaction of the pads and discs. Therefore, when you make the smart choice by selecting a proven, high-quality FERODO brake pad, don’t compromise the pad’s performance, durability and bottom-line value by matching it with a non-FERODO brake disc. There’s simply too much at stake.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment, informational and promotional purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.