Brake Pad Info

Rotora Brake Pad Compounds

Rotora’s Ceramic, Graphite Metallic, and the all new Super-Graphite Metallic brake pads are the latest high-performance street and race pads to be introduced into the aftermarket.  Rotora has applied the same materials, engineering, and quality standards from the formulation used in its high performance brake systems to OEM vehicles with stock calipers.  Designed for extreme street or track and hard braking applications, Rotora pads feature ceramic-carbon strengthened non-asbestos formula with a high co-efficient of friction and high temperature fade resistance with quick recovery to offer more consistent pedal feel for driver confidence.  Rotora is constantly developing and refining new ceramic-carbon brake pad compounds and new variations will offer nothing but the very best in all aspects of brake controllability and reliability.



The all-new reformulated H2 Ceramic is exclusively designed for low noise and low dust while maintaining sold initial brake bite for added driver controllability.  This is the ideal pad for daily street driving in all environmental conditions.


The H6 Graphite Metallic pad delivers excellent initial bite and brake force under all driving scenarios. Recommended for all around performance, the H6 achieves consistent brake pedal feel while maintaining stable co-efficient of friction. This is the ideal pad for street to track performance.


The H8 Graphite Metallic pad is a track-spec upgrade offering tremendous fade resistance and thermal stability under high brake disc temperatures. Recommended for sprint racing with short braking points, the H8 maintains a high coefficient of friction with excellent pedal feel response from the very start.

DISC TEMPERATURE RANGE: 200-800 C/392-1472 F

The H9 Super Graphite Metallic pad offers absolute fade-resistance for high performance circuit racing. This is an ideal pad for sprint and semi-endurance use only.

Saleen/Roush Alcon brake pads


We get a lot of calls for Saleen/Roush Alcon brake kit pads.

Click on the compound you want in the table below. 

Type  Characteristics  Buy Now
 Street Compounds  Street Compounds  Low Dust - Work well in cold temps and for show. Click here
 Dual Use  Dual Use  Mid-range temps.  Suitable for autocross and hi performance driving Click here
 Race Only  Race Only  High temperature.  Work best on track.  Not suitable for street use. Click here



Understanding brake pad wear patterns

Understanding your brake pad wear patters is important to diagnosing the general condition of your brake system.  This guide can help you identify common issues.

Inboard or Outboard side uneven wear

Brake Pad Outer Wear

One pad has significantly less friction material than the other pad.

This happens when the caliper piston is not returning to the rest position due to a worn seal, damage, or corrosion. Inspect caliper for residual pressure and guide pins or piston boot damage, respectively.  Wear like this is caused by the pad continuing to ride on the rotor after the caliper releases. Pads catching on the guide pins or the pistons not retracting (bad seals or damaged pistons)  Service or replace the guide pins, seals, or the entire caliper, and replace the brake pads.

Read more: Understanding brake pad wear patterns


The REAL truth about warped brake rotors...

The typical situation: New pads are fitted to a new pair of brake discs. A week later there’s a vibration or “judder” when the brakes are applied. A call to a mechanically inclined friend and an online search offers the diagnosis—the brake rotors are warped.

Feeling some shudder in the steering wheel when applying the brakes? Conventional wisdom says that the rotors are warped, but really you might have a problem with friction material transfer. Don't worry, though, as the fix is relatively simple.

The diagnosis may be further verified by measuring the surface of the discs to see if they vary in thickness. Some customers have the discs turned on a brake lathe to remove the high spots. That stops the vibration, apparently proving that the discs were warped. Except that the symptoms come back in a couple of weeks.

Now the frustrated and disappointed customer calls us or simply returns the brake discs as defective.

The fact is: The discs were never warped at all. Every warped brake disc that we’ve investigated with the assistance of our suppliers shows uneven patches of friction material from the brake pads on the surface of the disc. These patches cause variation in thickness (run-out) and the vibration under braking. Brake manufacturers have been struggling to deal with this situation for years because warped discs are so readily blamed for brake-related vibrations.



To understand what’s taking place, let’s look at what happens when we step on the brake pedal. The pads press against the surface of the disc, converting the energy of motion into the energy of heat through friction. What you may not know is that there are two kinds of friction at work: abrasive and adherent.

Abrasive Friction: According to Carroll Smith, author of “The Warped Brake Disc and Other Myths of the Braking System,” abrasive friction involves breaking the crystalline bonds of both the pad material and the cast iron of the disc. Breaking these bonds generates the heat of friction. In abrasive friction, the bonds between the crystals of the pad material (and to a lesser extent, the disc material) are permanently broken. The harder material wears the softer away, meaning the disc wears the pad. When we see the word friction, it is abrasive friction that comes to mind.

Adherent Friction: When brake pads press against the surface of the steel disc, some of the pad material transfers directly to the surface of the disc forming a thin, uniform layer. The surface of the steel disc and the surface of the brake pad become identical in composition. As the disc moves between the pads, friction material transfers in both directions, breaking and reforming bonds at the molecular level. This transfer of material in both directions is a normal and essential part of braking friction.

Running the right brake pads and properly bedding them in will often cure any shudder. This can easily be an afternoon project.

Pad Material: Brake pads all use a combination of abrasive and adherent friction during braking. Pad material differs based on the manufacturer’s specifications, which are always attempting to balance performance, wear, noise, and to a lesser extent, dust. There must be enough abrasive elements to keep the disc surface clean, and the pads must provide uniform adherent friction material transfer to the disc within the intended temperature range.

Uneven Friction Material Transfer: Pads that are used beyond their intended temperature range will cause problems. Pads can be heated to the point where they transfer friction material to the disc in random, uneven patches. The thick and thin layers are not generally visible, but the driver can feel vibration and measure it with a dial indicator. Modern brake pads are engineered with the best possible combination of features, but they are still limited to their intended range of operating temperatures.



Pad Selection: Generally, there are street, performance and racing brake pads, and most quality pads have broader temperature ranges than pads made 10 years ago. However, no street pads are suitable for racing, and no racing pads are suitable for the street. Performance street pads are a compromise—they’re more effective at low temperatures than racing pads and they can operate at higher temperatures than street pads.

Where to Start: If you have vibration under braking with new discs and pads, first eliminate the obvious by making sure that the hub and wheel flange are flat, clean, and rust free. A miniscule amount of run-out here will be magnified at the edge of the brake disc. Verify that disc mounting hardware is in good condition, installed correctly, and tightened in the correct order according to the recommended torque specification.

Bedding-In Your Brakes
When new pads and brake discs are fitted, the most important thing you can do to prevent problems is to properly bed the brakes. This critical step is the initial transfer of friction material from the pad to the disc forming a smooth, uniform layer. It establishes a foundation that’s essential for proper brake performance. It minimizes the chance of laying down uneven, random patches of friction material which will be felt as vibration when the brakes are applied.
All high-performance discs and pads should come with installation and break-in instructions. The procedures are similar for all major manufacturers.
Since you don’t come to a complete stop during pad or disc break-in, you have to plan where and when you do this procedure for safety purposes. If you come to a complete stop before the break-in process is completed, there is a chance that nonuniform pad material transfer or pad imprinting will take place, resulting in an irritating vibration during braking.


Basic Bed-In Procedure
1. After installing new disc rotors and/or brake pads, perform eight to 10 slowdowns applying moderate pressure from about 30 to 40 mph (50 to 60 kph) without coming to a stop.
2. Make an additional two or three slowdowns applying heavy pressure from about 40 to 45 mph (60 to 70 kph) without coming to a stop.
4. Allow at least 15 minutes for the brake system to cool down.
5. While the car is at rest during cool-down, DO NOT APPLY THE BRAKES. If you do, material will transfer from the pads to the rotor and probably give you braking vibration.

After Brakes Are Bedded-In

Slotted rotors reduce brake fade and pad material build-up on the rotor surface.

At this point, your new disc rotors and/or pads are ready for normal use with a thin, uniform coating of friction material on the rotors. But the full process of building up the friction layer can take 190 to 300 miles (300 to 500 kms) depending on your driving style. There are two situations you should try to avoid during that time, as they can ruin that fragile friction coating, requiring another round of bedding-in.
First, if you drive gently over a period of time with little heavy braking, you can actually strip off the necessary thin layer of friction material on the surface of the disc. This makes your brakes vulnerable to problems again. You can restore it by repeating the bedding-in procedure.
Second, if you have an incident where you are driving at high speed and have to brake hard coming to a complete stop with your foot on the brake pedal, the pads will imprint on the disc surface, transferring what seems like a hunk of friction material. This uneven material will cause vibration.
You can generally get rid of the excess material with abrasive friction by repeating the bedding-in process. If it’s a bad imprint and you can’t get rid of it this way, take your car to a shop with an on-car brake lathe. This process returns the discs to dead flat and then you can re-bed.
So bedding-in may not be a one-time deal, but it will work with patience

If you allows the uneven pad deposition to continue for too long, eventually the rotor is “deformed” in that it will wear at a different rate. A harder substance called “cementite” will build up on certain sections and will not wear as fast as it is much harder than the standard iron. As a result, the bedded section wears more quickly, developing high and low spots. The iron itself isn’t warped, it is just worn unevenly.


Choosing the right brake pad


Choosing the correct brake pad starts with an honest assessment of the driver's typical driving conditions.  For example, if the vehicle is driven 80 percent in highway and 20 percent sporty and zero percent on the track, then an Alcon "street" pad will likely offer the best combination of stopping performance, low dust and low noise. The biggest issue we see is more frequently is people choosing temperature ranges that are too high rather than too low, and hence the pad isn't working optimally.


When we have time - we will use rotor and caliper temp indicators to figure out what range they need to operate, THEN select a pad. Its about a $100 investment the first time, but worth it if it saves you buying one set of pads that doesn't work.  You can find those items in our "Temperature Control" section

If the vehicle is frequently used for track days but also as a daily driver, it might be better served by the a mid-range racing pad - provided that an even transfer layer of pad material on the rotor is maintained by periodically re-bedding in the pads.


pad selection chart


Performance Friction Brake Pad Compounds


90 compound

This compound has been a favorite of race driving schools because of its modulation characteristics. Used exclusively at race schools such as Bob Bondurant, Derek Daly, and Jim Russell because of is forgiving nature.  90 Compounds is very easy on the discs, yet has higher cold bite than 83 compound along with less torque rise for improved modulation.  90 Compound has been replaced by 97 in most applications, but is still available in a limited number of applications.


Read more: Performance Friction Brake Pad Compounds

Hawk Brake Pad Compounds



Extremely high torque with aggressive controllable initial bite. Superior release and torque control characteristics. Brake pads designed for cars with high deceleration rates with or without down force.

Read more: Hawk Brake Pad Compounds

Pagid Compound Characteristics




RS 4-2-1 Black

High Performance compound with low fading characteristics and high cold friction. The RS 4-2-1 is a most comfortable medium friction compound and very easy on the discs (rotors). Very popular for brake up grades or tuning. It is OE on various Super Sports Cars among others Aston Martin, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborgini, Lotus or McLaren. Suitable for street and light track use such as track days or driving education.


Read more: Pagid Compound Characteristics

Pagid Brake Pads - Compounds and Friction Profile


Graph shows friction vs temperature. PAGID materials are very linear as far as rubbing speed and line pressure is concerned. Since the coefficient of friction is related among other things to the brake disc material we do not show friction levels in this graph. It is only considered to show the difference among the Pagid compounds.


PAGID Friction Compounds

PAGID racing compounds are complex formulations with very high content of ceramic materials. All Pagid materials are asbestos free. The difference to competitor’s ‘metallic’ compounds is the superior thermal insulation and the higher heat resistance of ceramic compared to iron. Ceramic has, to the contrary of iron, very low heat conductivity. Consequently less disc (rotor) temperature goes through the pad into the caliper. We measured up to 60°C (140°F) less caliper temperatures with PAGID pads vs competitor’s pads. This is very crucial when it comes to brake fluid boiling.

Read more: Pagid Brake Pads - Compounds and Friction Profile