Variable quality pads – a warning.

Apec has received feedback from technicians about the variable quality of the cheaper brake pads they have bought and fitted. After conducting our own investigations, we can confirm that technicians should beware – these sub-standard pads are widely available in the marketplace and are causing problems for motorists and workshops.

The Problem

These inferior pads are sold cheaply, making them attractive in tough economic times. However, Apec arranged Europeanstandard AK-Master laboratory tests to see how the cheap pads performed compared with Apec pads.

The tests

Braking performance was checked using a number of sample pads, across a range of simulations including braking from cold and hot and at motorway speeds, evaluating pedal pressure, fade and recovery time.

The results

Pad performance for Apec was almost identical to OEM and easily met R90, the legal requirement for brake pads on sale in Europe. Yet the performance of the cheap pads was highly inconsistent, with some examples even failing to meet R90 standards.

Some samples had friction material that was very easily worn down; they wore out 13 times faster than Apec. By the end of the test, only the backing plate provided braking.

Pad performance.

Apec pads fully conform to R90, and during tests closely matched or even exceeded OE.

Braking results.

Tests also showed the performance of cheap pads to be highly inconsistent, with some examples even failing to meet R90 standards.

Pads affected discs.

The pads didn’t simply lose their friction material – it adhered to the surface of the disc. The disc surface became ridged and corrugated, reducing the pad to disc contact area, resulting in poor braking performance, uncomfortable noise and judder.

Other samples of the sub-standard pads had friction material that was highly resistant to wear. Although these pads were long lasting, they were also extremely abrasive and the discs quickly became thin.

With less metal to dissipate the heat generated during braking, this combination of abrasive pads and thin discs suffered badly from fade. Thin discs are also more prone to fracture; cracks can soon develop at the disc’s weak spots, and in extreme circumstances, the metal will shear.

With these cheap pad samples, a driver would experience a long brake pedal, some anxious moments and, potentially, premature disc failure.

The conclusions

The tests showed that cheap pads were inconsistent, with rapidly wearing and adherent or highly abrasive friction material that shortened disc life considerably. The discs would have required replacement far earlier than usual and negated any savings made on the pads. More critically, braking performance was significantly compromised.

Wear results.

Some samples had friction material that was very easily worn down; they wore out 13 times faster than Apec.

The solution – fit Apec for quality you can trust every time.

Apec pads provide consistent quality that motorists and technicians can trust, thanks to highly accurate control of friction materials and production processes.

Apec pads are made with a mix of friction materials, including minerals, abrasives, lubricants, graphites and organic materials, providing friction coefficients closely matching OE. The pads are produced in robotically controlled deep mould presses and bonded to the back plate during strictly controlled pressure cycles, then cured for up to 10 hours.

Finally the complete pads are heated to 650°C under 1 tonne pressure, to provide better braking straight from the box, longer life and quieter operation. With computer controlled friction mix and production processes, Apec pads provide consistent quality and performance standards only achieved at the highest levels of manufacturing.

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