I recently had my brakes serviced. Pads and rotors were replaced. Everything seemed fine. Today, I took a 30 minute drive where I applied the brakes significantly on the way back due to hilly terrain, but nothing out of the ordinary.

When I stopped at home, I noticed that there was smoke coming from the driver side. What kind of brake problem would cause overheating only under conditions that required more braking than level terrain, but not braking that would usually be considered abusive? I've driven on those roads before with no overheating, before the brakes were serviced.

  • Were these ceramic brake pads? Jun 24, 2015 at 23:07
  • 1
    was it definitely smoke, or just brake dust? And if it was smoke, could you see what was smoking?
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:17
  • @Paulster2: Hm..not sure. I'll check with the shop.
    – kec
    Jun 25, 2015 at 5:22
  • @RoryAlsop: I'm reasonably sure it was smoke, since it continued for about 1 minute after I stopped, and there was an odor that I associate with something overheating. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell where it was coming from before it stopped, but it seemed to be from the driver side wheel well. I'll observe and update when/if I notice it again.
    – kec
    Jun 25, 2015 at 5:24
  • Are they ceramic?
    – Shobin P
    Jun 25, 2015 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


If these were ceramic brake pads, they tend to smoke on first heavy use. Usually, if the shop which puts them in also beds the brakes, you won't see any smoke because they'll already have caused all the smoke.

I don't know if it is just the paint on the brake pads which gets burnt up, or if the binding material is fully curing, but I've seen it happen many times with ceramic pads. There is nothing wrong with this. It happens once, then doesn't happen again. I would bet you have nothing to worry about.

  • The shop said that they were indeed ceramic. I haven't used them heavily since then, and probably won't for a while, but I'll assume that indeed this is the cause.
    – kec
    Jun 26, 2015 at 19:48

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