Ceramic brake pads

A recent Car Talk column mentioned advantages to ceramic brake pads.

So, when I took my wife’s '92 Accord EX in for routine service I asked about them.

Service knew nothing and referred me to Parts. The Parts guy said they don’t use them, adding “They wear the rotors faster!”

Is this really a problem???

If the vehicle didn’t originally come with ceramic brake pads it doesn’t wear the rotors faster per se, but it can prevent the ceramic brake pads from seating properly to the OEM brake rotors. And this can result in unwanted brake noise.

If you were to bring the vehicle to me for a brake job, I would only install OEM specific components so I don’t have a come-back for brake noise. But if you want to experiment with non-OEM specific friction materials then you redo the brake job on your dime.


I have a 2005 Accord EX V6 and use ceramic pads. They wear well and I don’t have brake noise. I use Wearever Gold ceramic pads.


As far as I know, nobody was using ceramic brake pads in 1992

In the later years of this generation Accord, Honda started using ceramic pads. I put them on as replacements on my 97 Accord and had no problem. The original brakes lasted about 70k miles, the Honda ceramic pads lasted 100k miles, all this on the original rotors. I used Wagner Thermoquiet Ceramic OEM replacement pads and Wagner rotors on my last brake job. No noise, no issues.

Ceramic pads are actually easier on the rotors than organic pads.

Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that SOME of the aftermarket ceramic pads are super aggressive with regards to the rotor.

db, I agree, I have found the Duralast ceramic pads to not only wear out faster but are very aggressive on the rotors. High Performance ceramics are very aggressive but the Wagner and Akebono seem to be OK.

Aftermarket ceramic pads that I have personally found to be aggressive to rotors

Duralast Gold

NAPA ultra premium (noisey, too)

Both of these did a fine job stopping the car, but they did NOT last longer than factory pads

For the average driver, it’s hard to find any advantage offered by ceramic or other “premium” priced brake pads…The standard issue, $25 organic brake pads will stop your car just as well and do it for a long time…But why spend $25 when you can “upgrade” to $80 pads??

I have EBC Red Stuff (ceramic) pads on my Mustang and they are quiet, stop well, and produce no noticeable brake dust, I highly recommend them. I have the EBC Green Stuff pads on my TR6 (fronts) and they are a big improvement over the organic pads that were on there from 20+ years ago.

I have the O’Reilly $25 organic pads on my Crown Vic and they are silent, stop perfectly and I’ve never seen any unsightly accumulations of brake dust…I always get 40,000 miles or more out of my brakes so that’s really not an issue…

@Caddyman Have you ever had anything other than organic pads? 40k out of a set of brakes is pretty bad by today’s standards even if you do a lot of around town driving.

@FoDaddy some newer cars go through brake pads like crazy, right from the factory, even when everything’s working.

It sucks

But it is the reality for some people

And in some cases there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it

My Camry came with semi-metallic. At 93K miles when it needed new brakes, I put Duralast Ceramics along with new rotors. No more dust and stops just fine. Not sure about longevity, but my originals still had half the meat at 93K miles, just the rotors had a hint of vibration on quick stops.

@db4690 I’m well aware of that. BMW’s are particularly notorious for it. But I’m fairly certain that crown vics can go further than 40k on a set of brakes, my grandfather has had CV’s and nothing but CV’s ( or LTD CV’s) since the Carter administration and I don’t recall doing brake jobs that frequently once he started getting the 1992+ models.

@FoDaddy some of the more recent Benzes also go through brake pads like nobody’s business.
Fortunately, you can go through about 2 or 3 sets of pads before needing rotors.

The crazy thing is that on some of the models the REARS wear out first. Benz admitted to “improving” the brake system balance so that the rears do more of the work.

I have found ceramic pads seem to last a long time but I find more of a correlation with the quality of the pads. I just replaced some inexpensive ceramic pads that only gave me 50,000 miles versus the 90,000 I got out of the last set (and still had 40% of the pad remaining). I threw a set of semi-metallic pads in there that cost half as much and I will see how they wear. They certainly seem to provide much stronger braking!


The “problem” with semi-metallics was not the braking . . . they grab like a crab!

The “problem” was the dusting

And many drivers never had a problem with that.

It’s called washing your car and rims regularly

The only “advantage” that I’ve ever seen from ceramic brakes is that they do produce less brake dust on the front wheels. I went back to semi-metallic after a local car wash opened near our house. The pressure will take the hide off of a water buffalo. I haven’t lost any paint yet but my fingers are still crossed.

When I step on the brake pedal gently, (most of the time) the car stops gently…When I step on the pedal hard, the car stops quickly…When I STAND on the brake pedal (maybe once a year) the ABS kicks in and the car stops as fast as it can possibly stop, regardless of what type of pads are installed, $25 ones or $80 ones…