Do Ceramic Brakes Pads Smell?

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The resins of rubber are fund of polymerizing and producing bigger bonds when they are subjected to heat during braking, which in itself is an advantage.

However, the downside to this advantage is that whenever the resins polymerize, the end products which are mostly gases, hardly ever smell pleasant.

Another thing is that this smell may not be a bad thing in an overwhelming number of cases for new pads.

Furthermore, whenever rubber brakes are used for the very first time, the heat produced in the process leads to a kind of polymerization reaction, commonly referred to as curing.

During the process of polymerization of the brake pads, innumerable gases with different characteristics are generated, which usually smell just like burning. This smell is a means of informing you that your new brake pads indeed becoming stronger.

Table Of Contents

What brings about the smell in ceramic brake pads?

The most plausible explanation with regards to the smell exuded by ceramic brake pads is due to the intense heat which polymerizes the resins in rubber.

During this bedding-in process, as it is commonly referred to, several gases with different odors are produced which leads to the burning smell.

As you leave the brake pads in intense heat for a couple of minutes, it builds up to such an extent that it overheats, and that’s when the burning smell begins, which some people describe as the smell of the burning carpet.

This smell is a testament to the fact that the resins in the new brake pads are indeed being strengthened with use over time.

Does ceramic brake pad smell for long?

No, ceramic brake pads do not smell for any length of time. Commonly, these brake pads smell after installation and during their first use for between one and two hours tops, and in cases where the smell persists for longer than that, you should begin to suspect your brake calipers for they smell much like ceramic brake pads when they have spoilt or when they have one malfunction or the other.(Read Also:Why Does Brake Fluid Feel Warm On The Skin?)

What do I do to stop ceramic brakes from smelling?

There are many procedures people use to protect their ceramic brake pads from smelling. First, most people accelerate at first for up to about 60 mph(miles per hour) and maintain this speed for several minutes without braking to enable the brakes to cool down.

This procedure usually completes the bedding of the brake pads, although some brake pads are produced with a kind of special surface ‘transfer’ coating that rubs off on the brake pads and attaches to the brake rotors while the brake pads break-in.

Bedding is also the process that enables your brake pads to transfer an even layer of brake pad material onto the surface of the brake rotors which will help in smoothing the operation of the brake and also increasing your braking efficiency too.

In a similar development, some people hasten the break-in of their ceramic brake pads by first, speeding up to about 35 mph before they will now use moderate brake pressure to slow down to about 5 mph.(Read Also:Can ABS Cause Caliper To Stick? Find Out Now)

They will then repeat this process about 2 to 3 more times. Next, they will drive to a speed of about 5 mph and then use strong brake pressure to slow down the vehicle to as low as a mere 5 mph.

This procedure will also be repeated up to about 4 or 5 times. Finally, they will drive for between 5 and 10 minutes to enable the brakes to gradually cool down, before the vehicle is parked and the brakes are given the chance to cool down for about one hour at a stretch.

Performing these maneuvers several times will perfectly break in your new brake pads and by so doing stop them from smelling.

Most brake pad materials can take up to about 300 to 400 miles before they can fully break in or transfer film onto the rotors. In the event of any failure to adhere to this procedure, it can lead to the generation of excessive noise, and other several complaints in breaking in the new brake pads. These new brake pads need a fresh surface on which they can lay down a smooth transfer film.(Read Also:Do Motorcycles Brake Faster Than Cars?)

What causes ceramic brake pads to go bad?

Ceramic brake pads can go bad for different reasons. Firstly, your brake pads can go bad if they are constantly exposed to moisture which may lead to the rust of some metallic parts in the brake pads.

Secondly, your brake pads can go bad prematurely if they are not installed properly in their rails in the brake drum, and when they are so poorly installed, they may become very noisy which can even lead to the damage of other parts of the brake.

Your style or nature of driving is also capable of damaging your brake pads too, especially if you apply them too regularly when you do not really have to.

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Do brake pads have a specific smell?

Indeed, brake pads have a specific smell they give off when heated through whatever process. Most commonly, they are said to exude the smell of burning rubber, which is also described as the smell of burning carpets. (Read Also: Do New Brake Drums Need To Be Turned?)

Whatever the case may be, some carpets are made up of rubber, for all we know. This means that ceramic brake pads generally smell like burning rubber.

Frequently asked questions(FAQ)

Do new brake pads squeak?

Yes, your new brake pads can and do squeak while in use for the first few times. First, they may squeak because they are being broken in or strengthened in order to measure up to what is required of them.

Secondly, your brake pads may squeak when they are not installed properly in the brake drum. Finally, your brake pads may squeak where they are installed properly but are unfortunately not put in place well or tight enough, with due respect to the fact that they are not supposed to be too tightened.

Why are new brake pads burning?

All new brake pads burn for a few miles after installation and when they are used for the first time in a process known generally as breaking-in of the brake pads. Should you fail to brake in your new brake pads, you risk preventing them from bedding in the brake rotors. (Read Also: Can You Brake On Cruise Control?)

This will surely reduce your braking power and effectiveness too. Furthermore, it can also cause uneven braking power, squeaking noises, and reduced life spans of the brake pads, although not the rotors.

At other times, your new brakes may only produce smoke and not the traditional smell when they are breaking in until they are properly seasoned. Most experienced mechanics usually ‘burnish’ these new brake pads through what is called a 30 30 30 measure.

This measure is 30 normal stops from 30 miles in one hour between 30-second cooldowns after each 30 miles drive. During this process, the brake pads are burning.

In extreme circumstances, your brake pads may even catch fire for a variety of reasons, the main of which is inadequate repairs and reckless driving too.(Read Also:Can Brake Fluid Damage Tires?)

Your brakes can burn or catch fire when you apply them a little too hard than should normally be the case, which will, in turn, apply friction to the parts in the braking system and as a result make it overheat, produce smoke, or even burst up in flames.

It is therefore highly suggested that you take it easy with your new brake pads until such time when they have become accustomed to or used to be used under great friction, force, and excessive heat. Should your new brake pads overheat too rapidly, they can cause what is commonly called brake fade. 

Some signs and symptoms will show you that the brakes are indeed burning up. First, the brake pedal may feel soft to the touch and the brakes may equally begin to smell or smoke or both in some instances. (Read Also: 6 Best Brake Pads For Audi SQ5 In 2022)

Other signs are when your brake pads start to produce squeaking noises when you are driving too recklessly without any caution. In all these situations, you should try to engine brake your car, a process the article has earlier explained in great depth, and visit a qualified mechanic or auto shop as soon as is realistically possible too.

Do Ceramic Brakes Pads Smell – Conclusion

It is very normal for new brake pads to smell during the first few uses until they properly sit in or break in. However, there is a limit to the length of time they take to break in fully. Usually, this time does not or should not exceed about one or two hours at most.

Where they refuse to stop smelling even after the expiration of this much time, you should think about your brake calipers which can give off the same smell when they are damaged. Consolably, you can overcome this smelling episode using a few technical procedures.

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