How Brake Pads Stop a Vehicle

How do brake pads work to stop a vehicle? What happens when a brake pad comes into contact with the brake rotor?

Brake Pedal

When you press the brake pedal, the brake pads are pushed against the brake rotors. This action causes some of the brake pad friction material to transfer from the pad onto the surface of the rotor.

Bed in the Brake Pads

Called “bedding in the brake pads,” the action of the brake pad material grabbing from the pad and the rotor generates enough friction to stop the vehicle.

The “bed in the brake pads” process is necessary when replacing brake pads. During the installation of the new pads, the caliper pistons are forced into the brake caliper body, leaving a gap between the brake pads and the brake rotor.

This gap is eliminated by pressing the brake pedal several times to push the caliper pistons and pads against the rotors. Then at low speed, the brake pedal is depressed to force the brake pads against the clean rotors. It’s best to clean and replace rotors at the same time as the pads.

Transferring brake material from pads to rotors is a continuous process because the pads rub against the rotors. This process generates heat, which breaks down a small amount of the brake pad material and transfers it onto the surface of the rotor. Heat and material transfer are necessary for brake pads to work effectively.

Heat & Material Transfer Simulation

To simulate this process, take two sheets of sandpaper. Turn one sheet over and then rub the smooth back with the rough side of the other sheet. You’ll feel resistance, and when you rub the sheets together quickly, you feel heat being generated. The smooth back of the sheet of sandpaper is the steel brake rotor.

Now, turn the sheet over and rub both rough surfaces together. The effort and heat generated are significantly higher. Rubbing both rough surfaces simulates the interaction between the rotor and the pad. There is more resistance.

You must replace brake pads because they wear out as the pad material deteriorates during the process of braking.

About Goodyear Brakes

Goodyear Brakes manufactures premium quality brake bundles, calipers, rotors, brake pads and all the hardware required to successfully install brakes, all backed by a national warranty, decades of production experience and one of the best-known names in automotive excellence. The brake pads are manufactured in the USA using a proprietary green production process by a company with more than 50 years of experience in friction science. The Goodyear Brakes product line is available through Goodyear Brakes at Amazon, CarID, Buy Brakes and AutoAnything.

Goodyear (and Winged Foot Design) and Blimp Design are trademarks of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company used under license by FDP Virginia Inc., 1076 Airport Road, Tappahannock, VA 22560, USA. Copyright 2020 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Goodyear Brakes and FDP Virginia are not responsible for its products when they are subjected to improper applications, installation, or accident.

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