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Ceramic Brakes

My car has 246,000 miles and there is still some ceramic pad left. When should I change these pads and at that time must the rotors be ground? I used to use the pads with little bits of metal in them figuring that they would grind into the rotors well enough for the beaters I used to drive. My rotors on this car are still smooth with only a lip on the edge so thus arises my wondering.

Regards, Daniel

If you aren’t getting any pulsing and there are no heat spots on the rotors, you can get away with reusing them ONLY IF they meet the minimum thickness imprinted on them.

What about that lip on the rotor? Will that be a problem for new pads? A friend of mine who looked at my situation said it looks like I got a quarter left on my pads and I should just forget about it. But I got OCD and worry about every little clunk. This car is getting clunky but burns no oil because I change that often. So I wonder if I should go ahead and put on new pads but I?m unfamiliar with ceramics.
Regards, Daniel

Would you be replacing the pads yourself? Or having a shop do the work? If this is a DIY job you can omit rotor resurfacing, based on your description of the rotors’ condition. A shop would insist on doing the work regardless; it is included in their quoted price. As for the lip, simply make sure the new pads clear the lip when applied.

If you are pleased with ceramic brake pads then by all means replace with a new set of the same. Personally, I prefer the semi-metallic pads but that doesn’t mean my choice is any better than yours.

Put the new pad in position and see if it will ride on the lip. If it does, I grind the lip off using a right angle SANDER with a flap disk. It goes very fast and you can do both sides with the rotor on the car. It goes even faster if the rotors are off and you can even scuff the entire surface in a few seconds.

You did not say what year car you have (or make and model). Most modern cars have lightened the rotors and consider them good for one set up pads. I suggest that you replace them, no matter how good they look. How long have the rotors been on there and how long the pads. 246,000 miles is a long time.

Ceramic pads are much easier on rotors than semi-metallics so the rotors should be good for another set of Ceramic pads. The minimum thickness for most vehicles in 1/16". Personally I don’t like to get that close, 1/8" is thin enough for me to replace. New pads are 3/8" to 1/2" thick so you can judge the remaining life based on this.

If they are original and were never turned there will not be an issue with min. thickness since pads do not wear metal off the surface of the rotors.