Do you need special brake pads for ABS Brakes?
Do you need special brake pads for ABS Brakes?


Basically it’s a myth put about by people trying to sell you higher priced parts but there is no proven engineering behind any claim that ABS brakes use different brake pads to non ABS system vehicles.


A brake pad can work just as well on both ABS Brakes and Non ABS Brakes and a decent pad is all you are looking for.


ABS Brakes have been around for some years now and some systems are better than others. Basically ABS Brakes have an interrupt device that senses when the wheels have locked up and for a split second releases the brake whilst you still have you foot on the brake pedal to allow the wheels to rotate again slightly. This happened hundreds of times a second and will allow much shorter stopping distances under good control in heavy braking or when braking on slippery surfaces such as water ice or snow.


Brake lock-up causes cars to slide and rear wheel lockup will cause a vehicle to spin out of control, therefore control of all four wheels is essential and it is logical to have ABS Brakes on all four wheels.


When choosing pads for your ABS Brakes look for the following:


  • First if you do not want to pay out for higher priced original parts there are plenty of quality pad manufacturers around and you should be confident that an aftermarket brake pad can be just as effective or even better than original parts. A friction level that is compatible with your vehicle is desirable and one that has such marking as the ECE R90 brake safety regulation which outlaws cheap imports in Europe or the USA FMSI letter grading is a good starting point on evaluating pad choices. A pad that is made in an accredited factory such as one with ISO 9000 approval is also another good way to be guided.
  • Keeping your vehicle brakes well serviced is a must for the modern driver where speeds and hazards are on the increase on most roads.
  • If you plan to do your brake pad or rotor install at home refer to the manufacturers service guide, do not attempt this work unless you are a reasonably competent mechanic and have the right equipment and use such DVD installation guides as are available.
  • However messing with the ABS system electronics is NOT something you should try and if your vehicle develops an ABS Brakes fault we strongly suggest you return the vehicle to a competent main dealer.