Organic Brake Pads: What Are They and Why Should You Use Them?

Most brake pads are semi-metallic, composed of metal shavings that are bonded with resin. If you look at the brakes of most vehicles, unless they are meant to carry heavy goods or head around a race track, you're generally going to find that they are semi-metallic. If you picked up a car for everyday driving, they're probably what your brakes use, too.

However, that doesn't mean you necessarily have to replace worn out semi-metallic brake pads with new semi-metallic brake pads. Instead, why not consider going organic?

The organic difference

When people think of organic alternatives, they typically think of food. However, brake pads are also referred to as organic when they are made from non-metallic components, including rubber, glass, and, increasingly, Kevlar. These materials are bonded with resin. It used to be that organic brake pads used asbestos, but the asbestos dust created during braking was hazardous, and the material is no longer used; for this reason, you may sometimes find that organic brake pads are referred to as 'non-asbestos organic brake pads'.

So, why should you fit your car with organic brake pads?

Organic brake pads are more eco-friendly

As the name suggests, organic brake pads are more eco-friendly than semi-metallic brake pads. This is partly because they are made from materials that can be easily disposed of or recycled, which isn't always the case with semi-metallic brake pads. Perhaps more importantly, the dust that all brake pads give off during use isn't going to cause any pollution when you go organic.

Organic brake pads are softer

The fact that organic brake pads are softer might sound like something of a disadvantage; however, it's actually a real plus. The problem with semi-metallic brake pads is that they often cause an unpleasant grinding sound when they are applied. Since organic pads are a lot softer, the same problem should not occur. Additionally, the smoothness of organic pads typically means that you'll experience smoother braking performance.

Of course, that softness will mean that organic brake pads tend to wear down a little faster than semi-metallic pads. However, the difference will only really be noticeable if you drive very aggressively or tend to tackle challenging terrain.

Organic brake pads are cheap

There are other alternatives to semi-metallic brake pads, but they usually cost a pretty penny and are only meant to be used in high-performance vehicles. Ceramic brake pads, for example, last a very long time and also drastically reduce the noise created when you brake, but they are a lot more expensive than either semi-metallic or organic brake pads.