Comparing Ceramic vs Semi Metallic Brake Pads

15 Nov.,2022


Auto Brake Pads, Brake Parts Wholesale

Ceramic pads are the best option for everyday driving, while semi-metallic pads are preferred for high-performance cars. It’s good to think about your driving style and the manufacturer’s recommendations before making your pick. 

No matter the sign or reason, brake pads are one of those car maintenance tasks that seem to always be popping up. 

Ever since Bertha Benz (of the Mercedes-Benz fame) created brake pads from leather in the 19th century, brake pads have since become essential to today’s modern braking systems. 

When it comes to buying new brake pads, you’ll likely encounter two options: ceramic, and semi-metallic brake pads. But what’s the difference? 

With some help from


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, this guide will help you choose the best brake pads for your car, especially when it comes to ceramic vs semi metallic brake pads. 

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What’s the difference between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads? 

As you’re shopping around for new brake pads, you'll come across two common types—ceramic and semi-metallic. Here’s a closer look at the differences between the two. 

Ceramic brake pads

Since hitting the market in the 1980s, ceramic brake pads have become an increasingly popular option for daily driving. They’re typically the

most expensive option

when it comes to brake pads and are made from a mix of copper fibers and ceramic materials that wear well over time. 

Ceramic brake pads work best in mild to hot temperatures (preferably 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above) and are

good for daily driving

Another reason why ceramic brake pads are a common choice is that they’re

extremely quiet

—you won’t hear any additional sound when you step on the brake. They’re also one of the cleanest options since they produce

relatively little brake dust

compared to their semi-metallic counterparts.

However, ceramic brake pads are a

bad choice for high-performance cars

since they cannot sustain the high performance and heat levels those cars require.

Semi-metallic brake pads

If you have a

high-performance car

, semi-metallic brake pads are what you’re looking for. 

Because they’re made from a mixture of steel, copper, iron, and other metals, this option has an

increased stopping power

that can handle the higher pressure required by performance vehicles or vehicles that frequently tow heavy loads. 

Plus, these


pads can also handle a wide range of temperatures, which makes them able to endure colder climates than ceramic pads in addition to hot temperatures. 

But there are drawbacks. Semi-metallic brake pads are

harder on your brake system

. This is especially true if you’re coming to fast and frequent stops. 

They’re also the


option and produce the

most brake dust

. For cars that don’t need the increased stopping capability, the semi-metallic brake pads will likely be too harsh for your car’s braking system. 

Key Takeaway

Ceramic brake pads are a great option for most cars except high-performance or towing vehicles, for which semi-metallic pads are the better choice. 

What about organic brake pads?

In some cases, you may come across a third option—true to their name,

organic brake pads

are made from a mixture of

organic materials

(rubber, carbon, glass, fiberglass, resin, etc.). 

Like ceramic brake pads, organic brake pads are best

for daily driving

and not special performance or heavy-duty vehicles. Though they’re easy on the vehicle’s brake system and brake softly, they tend to

wear out faster

than other brake pad options. 

Basics of brake pads

But how do brake pads actually work? They’re a part of your large (but fairly simple)

braking system

When you step on the brake, pressurized fluid is sent through the car’s brake lines and eventually reaches a


at each wheel. The calipers are attached to the

brake pads

, which gently push against the

disc rotors

of each wheel. It’s this

applied pressure

that slows your wheels down and

eventually brings your car to a stop

Since the


created by the brake pads and disc rotor is the critical ingredient in slowing your car down, your brake pads will

inevitably wear out over time


How to tell when your brake pads need to be replaced

As soon as you hear squealing metal sounds when you brake, it’s time to have your brake pads checked out. The squealing is a result of the rotor touching the base of the brake pad.


other signs

that the brake pads need to be


may include:

  • Dashboard indicator light

  • Brake pedal vibrates when pushed

  • Brake pads are visibly thinner (i.e., less than a quarter-inch thick)

Choosing the right brake pads for your car

Now that you know the differences of ceramic vs semi metallic brake pads, it’s time to pick some out for your car! 

There are a few

things to consider

when it comes to choosing brake pads:

  • The vehicle’s manufacturer recommendation

  • Your driving style (do you drive quickly and/or brake frequently? Or are you a slower driver?)

  • The ride you want from your car (do you drive a high-performance vehicle or drive your car like one?)

If you’re still unsure which type of brake pad is best for you, don’t be shy to take your car to an

auto mechanic

—they’ll be able to get your vehicle fitted with the best option.

Does car insurance cover brake pads?

Car insurance

does not

cover general wear and tear to your vehicle. Even if you have

full coverage

insurance, you can

expect to pay for brake pad replacements


However, this could be a good time to revisit your car insurance plan to see whether your coverage still fits your needs. That’s where


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