Tip & How-To about Volkswagen Jetta

All About Brakes

This tip is about Car and Truck brakes. The different kinds of friction materials use to make the linings, and a few brake suppliers that you can trust... The Brake Stops Here.

Your vehicles brakes are the single most important piece of safety equipment you have. Without good brakes you are driving a deadly weapon. I am often asked "what are the best kind of brakes?" or "who makes the best brakes?" Let's take a further look in to these questions.

There are many different kinds of friction materials on the market--obviously you want the brakes to perform as good, if not better than the original factory equipment (OEM)--- So what are your choices? OEM brake pads? Premium aftermarket brake pads? Standard or economy grade aftermarket brake pads? Carbon - Carbon metallic - Semi-metallic - Ultra Premium or Ceramic. As you can see it's easy to get confused.

The decisions you make regarding which kind of brake pads to use is an important one because the wrong choice can create noise and wear problems you did not have before. Noise complaints are the number one reason motorist will return to complain about a brake job. Based on my experience, most noise problems are created from semi-metallic pads and/or the lack of "anti squeal" shims behind the pads-- Premium Ceramic pads are what i recommend & install on most all the brake jobs i do. Ceramics are lighter in color & will produce less brake dust, which will help keep those nice alloy wheels clean.
On some high end European cars, i will install a carbon or carbon metallic pad...On a 15 year old truck that is used on the farm, we can save a little money with a lesser quality or economy pad.

One thing to keep in mind about ceramic pads is that they are not all created equal. In other words, "ceramic" is not a generic term for a type of pad material. It is a marketing buzzword for the latest & greatest pad, that covers a wide spectrum of different friction products. The only thing they have in common is that they all contain some type of ceramic as an ingredient... One companies pads may contain 20 different ceramic formulas vs another companies 2 or 3.

Premium friction materials typically provide the best combination of stopping power, fade resistance, noise and wear. They also command a higher price, which more motorist are willing to pay on late-model, luxury cars and light trucks.

The bottom line is that premium grade pads are almost always the best choice. Don't skimp on quality---Premium pads most always provide the best combination of braking performance, noise control and wear & are engineered for your specific vehicle. At the end of the day, they will provide the best all-round value for the money.

^Note the anti squeal shims & rattle springs in this image^

As far as brake suppliers, Bendix - Raybestos - EBC - Wagner, with any of these you can't wrong. Brembo makes a good brake also, "High Performance" but IMO, they are over-rated & priced.

Check back for more of my tips & tricks, or shoot me a direct question...I am here to help.

Until next time, Safe & Happy Motoring!
Mr B

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1 Answer

After starting brakes don't let the car move on- they stay on. Why?

This has been an ongoing problem since brake friction material stopped being asbestos based. Some none-asbestos compounds are very porous and can contain a quantity of different metals.

The problem of a sticking parking brake can be a mechanical linkage or cable type problem or the friction material welding itself to the brake disc or drum or a combination of both. This tends to be a particular problem on vehicles where the usage rarely or never get the brakes thoroughly hot.

Brakes are open to the atmosphere and can become saturated with dew or condensation.

One customer experienced the problem so severely he had to apply a lot of power to get moving at all. The car started with a tremendous bang as the friction material was torn from the disc pad backing. Later I needed to use a hammer and chisel to clean the disc.

Fitting only OE friction material might help and not using the parking brake overnight...

Jan 21, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

I just bought a certified pre-owned 2012 Hyundai Elantra and the rear rotors are only measuring 6 mm. This seems very low so I do not see how it could have passed certification. What is the minimum r

Hello Bethany,
I know a bit about cars but being English I don't understand about rear rotors. I am guessing it is what we call brake discs or disc brakes.
Unlikely I would have thought the actual rotors or discs would be worn to a thickness of 6mm (which would be bad news) and perhaps you are referring to the thickness of the friction material?

It is only a relatively small percentage of braking effort that is exerted by the rear brakes so the rate of wear is much lower than the front brakes so it isn't unusual to discover new friction material isn't much thicker than about 8mm, though many are thicker and some are as thick as those at the front.

It is a general rule that is adopted by most brake and car manufacturer that replacement of friction material or disc pads is not required until there is only 3mm left and I have seen manufacturer's recommendations saying 2mm.
With 6mm of friction material still remaining which is two or three times the recommended minimum there would be no grounds to refuse certification.

Take your car to the service shop and the guy in the greasy overalls will ask himself if 6mm will last you until your next visit and if he is honest he will replace only after asking you what sort of mileage you cover. If he is normal he will grab the extra profit with both hands...

Jan 15, 2015 | 2012 Hyundai Elantra

4 Answers


there really is no easy answer for this because of many factors that may affect brake component longenvity.

brake friction material type
stop and go traffic
hard stops
freeway driving
road conditions
dusty driving conditions

expect 25K to 50K and beyond

Hard driving can lower the mileage below 25K miles

Jan 14, 2011 | 2002 Mercury Sable

4 Answers

what is brake lining? it shows on my warning light.

you need to have new pads and rotors installed,the rotors is where your vibration is coming from

Jan 15, 2010 | 1995 BMW 7 Series

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