What to Think About When Replacing Your Porsche 911 Brake Pads

Brake pads are one of the most important parts of any car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that many of the most common complaints consumers make regarding their vehicles are about brakes. Although the federal government sets performance standards for brake parts and systems in new cars, there are no regulations in place to cover replacement brake pads. In other words, it’s up to you to understand the options available to you. Two decades ago, there were only two types of brake pads, and the mechanic would just replace the same kind that came with the car. However, today, there are a number of types of brake pads, aftermarket options and dozens of available brands. So, how do you know what’s best for you and your Porsche 911? The most expensive parts may not work better than standard ones, while the cheapest brake job could compromise your safety. Here, we’ll look at choosing the best brake pads based on your car and driving conditions.

Checking Your Porsche 911 for Worn Brake Pads

Before you replace your Porsche 911 brake pads, it’s important to know how to tell when the pads are ready for replacement. In most cases, the indication you’ll get that lets you know your brake pads are worn down is a high-pitched squealing noise. Other symptoms may include vibrating, grabbing or feeling your car pull to one side when you brake. When the squeaking sound or vibration turns into a grinding noise, it’s now past the time for a replacement, and the worn brake pads could be causing significant damage to the rotors. For this reason, it’s important to replace the brake pads as soon as you notice signs of damage or wear. Some pads are equipped with wear indicators that easily inform you when it’s time for a replacement.

Types of Brake Pads to Consider

The brake pad is responsible for biting down on the friction they need to stop. Brake pads are made from a number of different materials and come in a variety of designs and styles. There are three general types of brake pads for your Porsche 911, so it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. First, ceramic brake pads are composed of bonding agents, nonferrous filler materials, ceramic fibers and small amounts of metal. Ceramic pads are more expensive than other types and lighter in color, and they are quieter and cleaner. Ceramic brake pads can effectively slow down and stop your vehicle without wearing down the rotors, and ceramic is one of the most common materials for everyday street use since it is so quiet. Ceramic also slows the onset of wear for both rotors and pads, and it generates less dust, which ultimately keeps your wheels shiny and clean. Also labeled as NAO, non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads are made from natural fibers, including Kevlar, carbon, rubber and glass. These pads create less noise because they’re softer, but they also create more dust and are prone to wearing faster. Some organic brake pads consist of an organic material combined with a small amount of steel or copper to help with the heat transfer process. Organic compounds may be used for mid-size sedans or compact cars, which may be more sensitive to the noise produced by metallic brake pads. Finally, semi-metallic brake pads consist of 30 to 65 percent metal such as iron powder, chopped steel wire or wool and a graphite or copper filler. Semi-metallic pads have excellent heat transfer and are more durable, yet they also wear down the rotors at a faster rate. They may not perform at their optimum levels at low temperatures, and they have a tendency to be very loud. Metallic brake pads are generally a good choice for full-size pickup trucks for their reduced brake fade and additional stopping power.

Features of Brake Pads to Think About

Some types of brake pads may come with different design features to minimize noise, improve stopping power and extend the life of the rotors and other brake parts within the system. Not every brake pad contains the same features as another, so it’s important to compare before making a decision. A few brake pad features to consider include:

- Pad wear sensors or indicators

- Springs and clips that reduce brake noise and rattling

- Metal shims or plates on the back side of the pad to reduce brake squealing

- Slots on the friction surface to provide a way for brake dust and gas to escape.

Every driver has different preferences, and one may desire one feature whereas another driver couldn’t care less. Keep in mind that none of these additional features will help the pad to work better or wear longer, so only choose the features that best meet your needs and your budget. Also, most manufacturers offer a number of pads for every application, and price is one of many factors you should use when figuring out which brake pads you’ll need to install.

Conclusion

Brakes are often overlooked, but they’re, without a doubt, one of the most important components of your Porsche 911. Although you may consider heading to the nearest auto parts store in North Carolina to purchase the most expensive brake pads you find, that’s never a smart way to choose parts for your vehicle. Some drivers may prefer a looser feel to the brake pedal, while others may prefer a tighter brake. Think about your driving habits and preferences before making a decision, and take note of the warning signs that let you know there’s a problem with worn or damaged brake pads. Taking the time to research, analyze and choose brake pads based on your Porsche 911 and driving conditions in North Carolina is the best way to find high-quality brake pads that will protect you, your loved ones and your Cherokee.