I used to have a 96 Nissan Sentra with 1.6l. I had the car for a very long time and did at least 3 brake jobs on it. Every time i would change the pads and rotors I would try using ceramic brake pads. According to several catalogs, that's what the car came with. Every time the ceramic pads were installed the car refused to stop. The feeling was like both front calipers were locked up. Excessive brake pedal effort was required to stop the car and the front rotors would get very hot.

Every time I would change the ceramic pads out for semi-metallics and just like magic the car stopped normally. I tried 3 different brands of ceramic pads and all acted the same way. I have used these same brands on other cars with no issues. New rotors were installed every time. The last set of pads was driven with for over a week just to eliminate any possible bedding issues. Everything was clean and well lubricated in both the front and back brakes.

What would cause a car not to like ceramic pads? Has anyone seen similar issues with their cars?

(I don't have the car anymore - I'm asking just out of sheer curiosity)

  • An interesting read - ebcbrakes.com/articles/ceramic-brake-pads - "There is NOTHING a Ceramic based brake pad can do that a good non asbestos organic pad cannot". It doesn't answer your question however. – HandyHowie Nov 2 '15 at 15:09
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    You haven't mentioned anything about the rotors you put on. Were the replacement rotors meant for ceramic brake pads? By the sound of it I think the answer to the question lies in the rotors, not the pads (locking up, rotors getting very hot, excessive pedal effort) – Zaid Nov 2 '15 at 15:22
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    Wow nissan sentra came with ceramic brakes stock?? Also i think @Zaid is asking a good question – Shobin P Nov 2 '15 at 15:35
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    @Zaid How does a rotor differ between ceramic and non ceramic pads? I have never heard that before. The first set of rotors were Brembo, the second and third were just cheap stuff. – vini_i Nov 2 '15 at 17:08
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    @Paulster2 Good one :) – HandyHowie Nov 2 '15 at 22:59

It has been my experience that ceramic brake pads will require a bit of break-in (and I'm not talking about the bedding in process here) for them to work optimally. I don't know whether they require curing time or if this is just the way they are. Almost every time I've used ceramic pads, they will heat up quite extensively at first causing them to actually create smoke (I believe this is the paint burning off). Once this break-in period is over (after you bed them and they are totally cooled off), there are no more issues with them.

Please note, I don't have any hard empirical data on this, nor references, just a bit of practical experience. The first time I saw the brakes smoke after the installation I was quite worried. Then, once they cooled down, no more issues of any type.

  • But even after over a week of driver the breaks did not improve? – vini_i Nov 3 '15 at 19:29

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