Simple ceramic brake pads are among the most popular options for replacing brake parts when a vehicle’s brake systems get worn down over time. However, there are some things that vehicle owners can do to help break in these parts gradually. Some experts refer to this process as “bedding-in.” No matter what you call it, helping to provide a good transition for brake pads helps the parts to wear evenly and last longer on the road.

Clean Surfaces as Necessary

Some mechanics recommend cleaning the surfaces of rotors or other brake parts before installing ceramic brake pads or similar brake accessories. This is only necessary if there is some kind of debris or buildup on the surfaces that will come into play when the brake pads are replaced, but for some vehicles, this kind of additional step might make the process more effective.

Inspecting Rotors

A whole lot of mechanic shops will inspect the rotors on the vehicle when the driver brings it in for possible brake pad replacement. That’s because if the rotors are incorrectly calibrated, replacing other parts might not help fix brake problems or provide an effective long-term solution. Rotors can get warped or uncalibrated over time, which is why drivers might hear their mechanics recommending a bigger brake job when  brake pads are worn down.

Breaking In Ceramic Brake Pads: Road Testing

Some car magazines and other sources show drivers how to “season” new brake pads when they have been replaced on a vehicle. Some of the common tips include specific start-and-stop speed ratios where the driver builds up speed over time. For example, a guide for working ceramic brake pads might recommend several stops from 30 mph to 10 mph. Then, to progressively add resistance, the next step might be several stops at 50 mph to 10 mph. Gradually, the brake pad materials will apply evenly, and the pads will work up to braking at higher speeds.

Avoiding “Dragging”

When it comes to how to apply the brakes with new ceramic brake pads, some professionals are advising drivers to apply the brakes more decisively at first. This means avoiding a foot that rests slightly on the brake pedal, where the consistent pressure can lead to “dragging” or applying the brakes in smaller increments, which can have an adverse effect on braking in the new pads.

Stop and Go Traffic

Another common tip for getting new brake pads oriented on a vehicle is to avoid stop and go traffic for the first several hundred miles of use. Some computers will even go out of their way to find a new route for the first week of using new brake pads or other brake parts. Traffic jams and roads with many stop lights or stop signs can produce a lot of strain on the brakes as they are getting used to using the new pads. A temporary highway approach might help brake pads wear in better.

The above tips are just some of the common practices used to optimize new brake parts when they are added, either as brake problems develop, or during routine maintenance times like annual inspections.