I recently replaced the drum brake pads on my old El Camino and found limited options when it came to brake pads. Of course with a job as tough as replacing the brake pads and how critical the brakes are, I will gladly spend a few extra dollars for premium pads. I had a hard time finding good options for my car though and wanted to avoid cheap aftermarket brake pads. But which are really better and where can I get good quality brake pads from?
Should I use relined O.E.M. brake pads or aftermarket brand new pads?
Brake pads made of a higher quality material will render better stopping power and less wear on the brake drums making relined O.E.M. pads the better choice if the only alternative is new aftermarket cheap pads. The best option is to find brand new high quality pads made by companies such as Akebono and Raybestos.
Relined O.E.M Brake Pads vs. Aftermarket Brake Pads
I bought both types of pads when I went to replace my brake pads and compared the quality by examining them, holding them each, and looking at them closely. I felt better and trusted the relined O.E.M. brake pads sold by Raybestos than I did the Duralast or Brakebest that I had purchased.
After speaking with a Raybestos customer service representative, I had the peace of mind that I needed to use a set of “refurbished” brake pads.
Relined brake pads use the old steel cores and refinish them with paint or powder coat and reline them with fresh brake pads.
Reasons Relined Brake Pads are a Great Choice
O.E.M. relined brake shoes most often provide a greater peace of mind since they are made in the U.S.A.
The biggest benefit of using relined brake pads is the steel of the brake pad has not “gone bad” and there is no normal wear that occurs that would cause the steel in the brake pad to wear out.
The steel in the original brake pads is not what goes bad after all. It is only the brake pad that gets worn down against the drum.
Relined brake pads are often assembled in the U.S. and this supports our economy!
Using relined brake pads pose no safety risk and allow old brakes to be recycled and reused efficiently.
Reasons Not to Install Relined Brake Pads
If the brake pads seem cheaply assembled or if the pad is loose then do not use the brake pads.
Relined brake pads have the risk that there may be unusual damage to the brake core that was overlooked so inspect it for bends or anything that looks misshaped. I always compare my new brakes closely with the old to ensure a perfect match.
They can be difficult to find.
I found high quality relined brake pads for sale on rockauto.com.
Brake Pads Made in the USA
Akebono brake pads are the only brand of brakes that I know of that still manufacture and assemble their brake pads in the United States. They are at the top of high quality brake manufacturers. Most top brands have been outsourced because they have been able to find reputable manufacturers/assemblers for significantly cheaper than sourcing the work in the U.S.
But not all outsourced products are equal. These brands have a reputation for providing a good quality product:
Material Selection for Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads last longer than semi-metallic or organic material brake pads. They are slightly more expensive but last longer, cool more efficiently, and are even quieter than other brake pad materials.
The benefit of semi metallic or organic brake pads is that they have better stopping power. For this reason ceramic brake pads are not used in performance applications but are the best choice for a small commuter car to get the most life out of the brake pads and for a quiet ride.