Ceramic pads can take the heat

Ceramic brake pads may be expensive, but they can withstand the extreme heat generated by high-performance race cars.

Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads offer great braking performance, wear well over time and are very lightweight -- all of which are important for high-performance driving. So again, what's the problem with ceramic brake pads? They're very expensive. 

Ceramic brake pads are made from ceramic fibers, filler material, bonding agents and they may even have small amounts of copper fibers within them as well. Because they're mostly ceramic, these brake parts dissipate heat well, which keeps performance strong, even after repeated hard stops. They also don't break down very much with repeated use; that means they produce less dust than other types of brake pads -- and the dust that they do produce is lighter in color and doesn't stick to the wheels. However, because they're so expensive, ceramic brake pads aren't for every type of vehicle.

Sports cars that are routinely driven hard -- as part of club racing, for example -- can benefit from ceramic brake pads; however, almost every other vehicle performs just fine with other brake pad materials. For most drivers, the extra performance of ceramic brake pads isn't worth the extra cost.

Keep reading to find out about brake pads that won't break the bank.