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General Questions

General Questions
How should I improve my vehicles braking performance?

Brake performance will be positively impacted by improvements in the following areas:

What brake pads are the best?

The answer here is subjective. Only you know what you want out of your braking system. Some want more performance- some want less dust, etc... Every manufacturer that we carry is a 'class of the field' performance brake pad manufacturer. If there was ONE pad or ONE compound that was better than any other- then we wouldn't have all of these different manufacturers - would we?

Why don't you recommend Ceramic Brake Pads?

Let's start by saying that ceramic brake pads have a place in the automotive industry. They were designed to be a low-dust, noise-free brake pad. They came into popularity after the discontinued use of asbestos-based brake pads. At that time, semi-metallic pads exhibited problems with higher noise and dust levels.

Should I use the same components as specified as OEM?

OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. Translation: A component manufactured by a third-party company and selected for use in the original vehicle. An OEM manufacturer will typically manufacture their part based on specifications and designs supplied to them by the vehicle manufacturer.

What causes brake pad failure?

There is no single answer to this question - there are simply too many variables. However, in general, pad failure is caused by excessive heat. Brake pad compounds are designed to operate within a certain temperature range. When the pad is overheated to a temperature above what the material was designed to handle- it will wear at an excessive rate, crumble, decompose, and the like.

What causes brake pad glazing?

Brake pad glazing is caused when the brake pad friction material is overheated. This results in crystallized friction material on the pad surface and the brake disc. Typical symptoms of glazed brake pads include: Poor stopping performance, vibration or brake shudder, and cracks or fissures in the brake pad material.

What is better- Slotted or Drilled Rotors?

Again - this is a subjective question. As they say- liars can figure- and figures can lie. Proponents of both sides will espouse the benefits of each.

Why all performance rotors are not created equally .

Some manufactures do not take the time to create a program specifically for the rotor in question. The result is that the machine has drilled though one of the cooling veins and has compromised the structural integrity of the rotor. SP Performance creates application-specific programs for every rotor that it manufactures - This insures performance, safety, and reliability.

Are Big Brake kits really better?

Big brake kits that are incorrectly designed can actutally perform worse than your stock brakes. Bigger pads and rotors primarily do one thing: They dissipate more heat than the stock brake setup. They do not necessarily stop you in shorter distances. Stopping distances are impacted by the coefficient of friction of the brake pad used and the clamping force applied by the caliper. Bigger brake pads do not apply more pressure- they only apply the same pressure over a bigger area. But- Don't take our word for it:

Can I use racing brake pads on the street?

Simple answer: NO.

What makes Brake Pads work?

If you got to this section- You are a die-hard braking fanatic! - Congratulations! Now onto the SCIENCE OF BRAKING! ?

What causes 'Warped Rotors'?

Typically warped rotors are caused not by a failure of the rotor itself. Warped rotors (in most instances) are caused by the brake pads being operated at temperatures outside of their specified range. When the pads get too hot the pad material actually melts and 'fuses' itself to the rotor surface and creates a 'bump' on the surface of the rotor. In most cases this is not noticeable to the naked eye. This creates an annoying vibration when the brakes are applied. The only solution to this is turning (grinding) the rotors or installing new rotors.

What makes my brakes squeak- and how do I fix it?

High-pitched brake squeal is caused by a high-frequency vibration between the pad and the rotor. Brake noise is not caused solely by the brake pad. The brake rotor diameter, and stiffness of the disc are also factors in the offending noise. Metallic-Carbon pads (as opposed to organic (asbestos) pads) typically produce more inherent noise than the older organic pads. Different brake pad manufacturers use different and varying amounts of substances in their pads: Iron, Copper, Zinc, Other Alloys, Lead, Carbon, Ceramic compounds, Kevlar, and numerous other fillers. This variation in pad composition, geometric design of the pad, and the stiffness (density) of the pad material itself can also contribute to the noise. Lastly, all of these factors can be affected by environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

Do I really need these more expensive, premium-grade components on my car?

Consider this: In most instances, car disc brakes and rotors will last anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 miles or more before needing replacement. If we estimate on the conservative side- and say they only last 30,000 miles- and the typical cost of premium components (rotors and pads) may cost $300.00 That averages out to a cost of 1 CENT PER MILE.

The 'Lifetime Warranty' Myth

Some manufacturers and repair shops offer brake parts with a 'Lifetime Warranty'. Why do you suppose this is? Without question, every brake component will fail with eventual use. It is a wear part.

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