Brake Pads

  1. How do I know if my car has heavy duty brakes? Does it matter? Do the different pads fit in the same caliper? I’ve got an '06 Charger Daytona, and both standard and heavy duty are my options when I’m trying to buy online.

  2. Who makes the best product? I’d weight it as 6.5 wear and 3.5 performance. I’ve been looking at ceramic pads, but I recently heard about titanium. Is there a notable difference?

  3. How difficult is it to do myself. I’ve never done it, but I figure it’s about time I taught myself. Seems pretty easy based on some online tutorials. I’ve changed starters, alternators, distributor caps, and batteries, spark plugs, oil, etc., but nothing major.

  4. Why the hell do I need my second set of front brake pads at 45k?!

1.) Sometimes it can be determined from the VIN, sometimes from an options list hidden somewhere on the vehicle (e.g. on glove box lid or on spare tire cover). Often the easiest way is to make a visual comparison between the parts offered and what you’ve got. On all the vehicles I’ve seen that offer a heavy duty brake option it’s a different design from standard duty, so yes it matters because the pads and calipers are totally different.

2.) I routinely use Wagner ThermoQuiet pads on customers’ cars and find them to be quite satisfactory. If you’re looking for “beyond everyday use” performance, however, that’s out of my bailiwick. There is certainly a difference between premium grade pads and economy grade, but I don’t know the details of the esoteric stuff.

3.) Generally not very difficult, but I highly recommend having someone knowledgeable guide you through the first time. There are lots of little details that make the difference between getting it done and getting it done really well.

4.) Got me. Are the rear brakes doing their share of the work?

Thanks, Gary. I’m expecting one of my buddies to show up, he “owes” me some time for helping him with math.

Is there a website that would allow me to do this? In my cursory browsing last night, the only thing I saw about VINs was to determine the trim package.

I don’t know, how do I tell. I’m kind of embarrassed I don’t know the answer to that, actually. The car doesn’t seem to pitch forward too wildly when I hit the brakes at speed, though.

I can’t really add anything to GaryT’s post. But the front brakes do a hell of a lot more work than the rear. That’s why they wear out faster. Probably something to do mass vectoring away from the rear of the car or something, I dunno.

A friend of mine put ceramics on his Chrysler 3000 and ended up with warped rotors. Maybe a compatability thing. You really can’t go wrong with finding out what the manufacturer uses at the factory and jusy copying that.

Doing the work yourself is messy, fun, easy and rewarding. But you really need to see it done or have someone walk you through it once or twice. It’s not really self-explanatory.

Yep. The car tips forward, and there’s more weight on the front wheels than on the back. More weight means a higher normal force onto the pavement, which allows more braking force that can be applied without skidding. I’ve done more research on motorcycle brakes than cars, but modern bikes get, on average, 70% of the braking to come from the front disks. Sportsbikes are often capable of having that number go to 100%, if the rear wheel comes off the ground.

A Chrysler 3000? Never heard of those, where would I find one? :wink: But seriously, the 300 and the Charger are built on the same LX platform. I wonder if they just have thin rotors, because I needed them to be turned after 20k (with the factory pads).

Sounds like my kind of thing. Thanks for the advice.

Did you ever send me your VIN #?

Send it and I’ll tell you and give you a price-- if need be I’ll sell you them with a credit card.

Your ride is right up my alley.

As far as your pads lasting, better get used to it. Once the government outlawed the use of asbestos, it’s been all downhill as far as brake life is concerned. As an aside, I put ceramic pads on my Durango and man, they’re some squeaky mothers. But judging from the amount of brake dust I see they are lasting pretty well. Any time you use a harder pad, you’re going to experience more rotor wear.

Perhaps he’s refering to the Mitsu GT3000, comparable to a Stealth, haven’t been made since 1995.

uh, yeah. They’re just like the 300 only, uh, more. :smack:

PM sent, Thanks!

Oh, and by the way, I do have an exhaust leak. It took awhile to manifest itself enough to be able to manifest itself enough to be able to see it. I’ll get that taken care of over Christmas. Cars are expensive!

Even better than the 300C, I take it? Or did he just fill in the rest of the “C”? :stuck_out_tongue:

No, it’s not coded in the VIN like the year, model, etc. If it’s available through the VIN it’s something that dealers get by punching the serial number into their system.

Usually the biggest clue is the amount of wear on the rear linings. The fronts do most of the work (usually 60-70%), but they’re also usually beefier designs to correlate with that. There’s a fair range of variation in the ratio of normal wear front to rear among different vehicles, so there’s no universal formula. If it’s worn through two sets of front linings and the rears aren’t close yet, I’d have some concern. On the other hand, if braking feels normal and balanced that suggests it’s probably okay. Another factor is what kind of front pads were installed - there’s a lot of variation in how long they last among the different quality grades available.

Glad you found out what it was. I’m sure Garyt or Rick would tell you some things are not always as they seem. As long as you got it fixed. That shit can work your damn nerves.

HEY! REMEMBER! Aftermarket replacement brake pads still may have asbestos in them. DO NOT let that dust get to your lungs. I only use Raybestos in spite of the ironic name.


I don’t know if the situation has improved since this article was published.

PS - Get the rotors turned. As little as 0.015" of wobble can make your brakes rumble. Lube the pins that the calipers float on. RTFM, big time. The stoppy bits on your chariot are second in importance only to the steerie bits.

No. Unless the rotors have deep scoring or are KNOWN to have runout, it’s best to leave them be. Factory specs for runout are typically in the 0.002-0.004" range. If there’s no detectable pedal pulsation, it’s a pretty good bet they’re in spec.

Yes. Whatever contact points are involved in pad and/or caliper motion should be cleaned and lubed with high-temperature grease.

By the way, you can change the pads on cerain FORD models, without having to remove the calipers. this is a huge advantage-FORD ougt to be commended for designing the brakes in such a sensible fashion.

From what I’ve read, brake pad compounds are generally designed to work best in certain temperatures and your trade-off is high temp performance versus low temp. A normal street car brake pad works well under low temperatures but will fade when it gets hot enough, making it unsuitable for race cars. Aggressive race car pads work great at high temperatures but not so much at low temperatures. OK for race cars that get to warm up before the race but not so much for your point-to-point transportation. It’s hard/expensive to get brake pads that work well hot and cold.

For the record, Omegaman is double plus good!


I was told that rotors are really not reusable, and they should be replaced with the brakes. Is that generally true? I’ve always done my own brakes, and the people at the parts store told me so.

It depends on the particular make and model of vehicle. Some cars are built with rotors that will last just barely longer than the pads - they’re engineered to a mechanical spec that might make it impossible to do any more aggressive resurfacing than buffing with #0000 steel wool. (PS: Don’t buff your rotors with steel wool!)

In such cars, you probably do need to replace the rotors when you replace the pads. Or, it at least makes sense to do replace them as long as you’ve already done 95% of the labor and they’re hanging there out in the open. Fortunately, rotors are usually pretty cheap, and certainly cheaper than body work and medical bills if your brakes don’t work right.

You lucky bastard! Only two sets of pads in 45,000 miles?

I’ve got 45K on my 6-year-old car, and I’m on my 15th set of front brake pads, my 10th set of rear pads, my 5th set of front rotors, and my second set of rear rotors.

Of course, there’s a reason for that. :smiley:

There is a problem located between the brake pedal and the seat.

Seriously, the largest single factor in brake wear is driver usage patterns. The second largest factor is where you drive.