Improved technology has made brakes and friction materials more durable and better performing. To avoid customer comebacks, tire dealers must take care to use quality parts matched to the correct application. Below are several brake system and friction material products and attributes that manufacturers in this category want dealers to know about.
The ACDelco Advantage friction lineup is a popular, entry-level portfolio of brake pads and hardware that the manufacturer said is designed to provide tire dealers with a competitively priced, yet quality alternative to other entry-level brake friction products. The company said its Advantage brake friction products cover about 80% of the current U.S. car population. The line includes non-asbestos organic, semi-metallic and ceramic brake pad formulations, depending on the vehicle application. ACDelco Advantage friction products carry a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty, compared to many competitors’ products that offer a 30-day warranty or none at all, ACDelco noted. In addition, Advantage brake pads come with the installation hardware in the box (when applicable), which can make the job easier for installers and even help ensure a better fit. Advantage brake shoes include attached parking brake levers where required, and also come with a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty.
Aisin World Corp. of America said there are several types of brake pads in the market, but they are divided into three categories: semi-metallic, low-steel and non-steel. Semi-metallic brake pads consist of 30% to 50% steel in the friction material; low-steel pads are comprised of 10% to 30% steel; and non-steel incorporates little to no steel. Only the latest OE brake pad technology, as developed and used by Advics, can formulate and fuse the 20+ ingredients needed to manufacture ceramic brake pads specific to each vehicle application, the company said.
Akebono said its ceramic brake pads are OE in North America on all of the top 10 best selling cars and six of the top 10 light trucks. The company noted police departments and other fleet managers across the U.S. rely on its brake pads for high performance power, responsiveness, durability and overall best long-term value. The ceramic technology used withstands enormous pressure and heat for a long time, the manufacturer notes, and because each pad is refined specifically for every make and model, the pads perform quietly. This, coupled with special harmonic-dampening, guarantees a good fit for superb performance, Akebono added.
Beck/Arnley said its line of 089 Foreign Branded Brake Pads is sourced by application from leading OE-approved suppliers and provides the foreign nameplate specialist with first-rate foreign brands that are a direct equivalent to the OE dealership. The 089 program includes 7,097 applications with a focus on applications from 1995-2011. This product category complements the brand’s existing range of OE replacement pads. The company adds that it carries the top reliable Asian and European brands that are OE in the box, including Sumitomo, ATE, Mintex, Advics, Pagid, Textar, Jurid, Nissin, TRW, Sangsin, Hitachi and Ferodo. Whether ceramic, organic or semi-metallic, the material is driven by the OE application. These quality friction products provide excellent heat dissipation and stable braking action, the company noted.
Bendix said its premium product line offers content enhancements to help today’s dealers get the job done accurately the first time, build consumer satisfaction and reduce comebacks. Technicians can rest assured knowing that when they order Bendix CT-3, Bendix CQ, Bendix TitaniuMetallic II and Bendix Fleet MetLok products, they’ll have everything they need to do the brake job right in the box, the company noted. Value-added content includes: shims, a variety of premium noise insulators used to help eliminate noise-related comebacks; hardware, from abutment clips to spreader springs, needed to help restore OE performance, eliminate comebacks and reduce installation time; wire wear sensors (where applicable), which allow the vehicle’s wear indicator system to operate as originally designed; and product protection – each brake pad set is individually wrapped to guarantee shipment quality.
QuietCast premium disc brake pads from Bosch feature a rubber-core shim that promotes silent operation. Bosch said its brake pad program provides 95% coverage for all makes and models of domestic, Asian and European cars, light trucks and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada. The program offers platform-specific ceramic, semi-metallic and NAO formulations, plus rubber-core shims with molded shim technology on selected applications. This ensures that the shim stays attached and won’t delaminate over time or shift, reducing effectiveness, according to the manufacturer. Every QuietCast brake pad is fitted with Bosch’s exclusive pre-attached rubber core shim designed to dampen brake vibration. The laminated rubber core shim is heat and pressure cured between two layers of steel, a process that ensures the highest quality bonding of the rubber to steel, Bosch explained. This produces lower noise, increased strength and corrosion resistance.
Tenneco’s Monroe Brakes product line includes complete brake repair kits featuring application-engineered pads, hardware, wire wear sensors and lube – all of the parts needed in one box for many applications. This all-in-one approach helps save time, increases bay productivity and minimizes comebacks, the company said. Monroe Ceramics and Monroe Dynamics semi-metallic brake pads are based on OE-style formulations and designs to ensure superior stopping and long-lasting performance, Tenneco said. These pads also feature OE-style slots and chamfers for noise reduction. In many cases, there are aftermarket-specific chamfers that further customize for specific applications, the company added.
NAPA said its Reactive One rotors provide a three-in-one advantage over traditional premium rotors, offering style, longevity and performance, and exceptional pedal response. The rotors are created from high-carbon damped iron to remain cool, quiet and vibration-free. A specially formulated polymer coating covers the rotor surface outside the pad swept area to keep the edges and vanes rust-free, the company says. Onyx Guard corrosion protectant is applied to every rotor hat to stop unsightly rust and corrosion. Non-directional Cool Track vents on the rotor surface improve pedal feel by allowing pad out-gassing, which reduces brake fade, said NAPA. The non-directional design eliminates the need for unique right and left part numbers, which simplifies ordering and inventory.
Using the same “floating” technology as a Nu-Lok shim, the Nu-Lok Piston Cushion is designed to attack the known NVH problem area at the caliper piston/pad interface, according to Nucap. This caliper enhancement technology absorbs piston vibrations, a major cause of brake noise, and provides your brake service some low cost insurance against costly noise-related comebacks. Nucap said that whenever you are replacing brake pads or brake calipers, play it safe and eliminate brake noise with the Nu-Lok Piston Cushion.
Performance Friction said it is quickly expanding its product line to include custom big brake kits for over 450 applications. One example is the company’s Subaru WRX STI big brake kit for STI models 2004 and later. The full brake upgrade kit is equipped with the manufacturer’s V2 rotors, Z-rated calipers and Z-rated pads. V2 rotor technology is a two-piece full floating rotor design that interlocks, eliminating excess hardware, which results in reduced weight and easier assembly, the company said. The 362mm front upgrade rotors and 330mm rear upgrade rotors are machined to tight tolerances, resulting in zero vibration, improved braking control and five times longer disc life. The STI front upgrade features a four-piston forged monoblock caliper equipped with four pads – one individual pad per piston. This multi-pad design creates a more even pressure distribution on the pad under braking and more even pad wear, the company said.
Raybestos said its Professional Grade Ceramic line uses ceramic friction material that matches or improves on the OE ceramic formulation to provide maximum stopping power and safety. These pads achieve strong and silent braking with low dusting, improved pedal feel and enhanced responsiveness, Raybestos added. The Professional Grade OE-Matched line uses semi-metallic and NAO friction material that matches OE and is engineered to restore factory performance. Premium shims dampen noise, while OE-or-better slots and chamfers provide a smooth, quiet ride, the company said.
Federal-Mogul recently introduced replacement pads for 2011 Ford Mustang models, as well as pad sets for a variety of popular Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Smart applications under its Wagner brakes brand. The company said Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads feature highly advanced, application-specific ceramic and semi-metallic friction formulations developed within Federal-Mogul’s global network of technology centers. ThermoQuiet pads also incorporate the company’s integrally molded insulator one-piece pad design and Wagner Edge Laser-Shaped Friction technology for quieter performance, superior stopping power and longer pad life, Federal-Mogul claims. In addition to premium direct OE replacement ceramic pads, the ThermoQuiet line includes ceramic alternatives for many semi-metallic applications.
WBR quality brake calipers for European, Asian and domestic vehicles are friction ready and remanufactured in the U.S., according to their distributor, WorldPac. WBR offers both OE-quality and OptiSelect premium quality for high-end performance vehicles. OptiSelect exceeds OE specifications for non-performance vehicles, the company notes. All WBR brake products include the necessary mounting hardware and mounting brackets and carry a full 12/12 warranty. WBR brake calipers are distributed exclusively through WorldPac.