Choosing the wrong brake pads can be dangerous!
I don’t want Grandpa Joe who reads this thread to get the wrong idea about what brake pads he should get.
A few have recommended the Hawk HPS. My opinion is yes and no. Yes, the Hawk HPS is a great pad, but keep in mind that the HPS stands for High Performance Street. When I was 18, I would have loved to had a brake pad like this. They do offer better stopping power, dust a bit more and tend to wear out the rotors faster too. They will also give you slightly different feel when hot or cold. They will grab more when hot.
Before we can say what is better than stock, we have to know what stock is first. According to Motor Trend the CT can stop from 60 mph in 131 feet. That is not bad in comparison with other 4 wheel disk cars with ABS (Anti Lock Braking).
Should you put on Hawk HPS? Yes, if you are an aggressive driver or hit the race track once in a while. No, if you just drive to work and do normal duties with your CT.
Hawk also makes a HP+ (High Performance Plus) pad that is a Ferro Carbon material and a step further than the HPS. I would NEVER advise these pads for the street, as they are basically race track only and can actually be UNSAFE and DANGEROUS for street driving.
Ceramics (in general) are mainly designed for long life, minimal to low dust, little to no noise and will return to you stock or slightly better than stock stopping power.
Semi Metallic’s are the manufacturers choice for most cars. They are relatively cheap, good stopping, will dust up your front wheels, and will only occasionally squeak.
I only mention this as stock or perhaps a grade above is enough for me. My CT rarely gets driven hard and will never see the race track. Brake technology is always changing and what was the best yesterday is now different today. Just remember when you get into a high performance brake pad, it can really affect the feel of your brakes. There are great stock, or slightly better than stock brake pads that can be purchased at Advance, Auto Zone, Car Quest, NAPA, and other parts stores. Most come with a lifetime warranty and are reasonably priced. Buy the HPS only if you really need it.
I'm going to add a few comments to this, as I think there's good info here....but needs a bit of clarity:
HPS pads are designed for a more aggressive street driver who demands a bit more from their car than the ordinary everyday driver.
I think the ONE thing Hawks do better than any other pad, is FADE RESISTANCE...that is -- the ability to avoid that mushy feeling you get in the pedal after repeated high-speed stops. According to tire rack:
What causes brake fade?
"Brake fade occurs when the brake pads are operated in excess of their normal operating temperature. Overheated pad compounds melt and break down, releasing gases that build up between the pad and rotor contact surfaces. This gas layer between the pad and rotor can keep the pad and rotor from making contact and generating friction. It’s very much like a tire hydroplaning in standing water or a puck floating over the surface of an air hockey table. When this occurs the trapped gasses under the pad literally cause it to float over the surface of the rotor without making physical contact. If the pad can’t contact the rotor surface, it can’t generate friction and it can’t slow down the spinning rotor. The result is a soft feeling brake pedal that will often go all the way to the floor without stopping the vehicle! This can occur very quickly and without warning especially when the brake pads are new and not completely bedded-in."
These pads are somewhat overkill for the average driver, but are still on par with the price you pay for OEM's.
I really do not find Hawk HPS pads to be SO differently characterized in terms of pedal feel, stopping power, or overall braking attributes. So, I have to refute crashmaster's assertion that it could be "dangerous" to choose the Hawks. They behave and perform quite normally under everyday driving....but rather, PERFORM when asked to - hot, cold, wet, or dry!
I'm not trying to convince ANYONE that Hawk HPS pads are the BEST out there, or the correct application for EVERY CT driver.
But for MY driving style, and performance requirements -- I think Hawks are hard to beat!
personally - i find the OEM's a bit "grabby" for my tastes, but they last a good long time, and are absolutely fine for MOST drivers.
Yes, I drive ALOT of hondas every single day, so I have a pretty good basis for this comment.
DUSTING means your brake pads are doing their job!!
The more dust, the less of your Rotor face/Surface is getting eaten-up in lieu of stopping your vehicle. Does it make your wheels dirty? SURE!
But you CAN clean it off (lazy asses!) and I'd prefer dirty wheels over less stopping power or "cooked" rotors.
I think ceramic pads are more dangerous than ANY others!
By nature, they are HARD, and don't dust as much -- guess what: they're tougher on your rotors as a result.
They tend to be noisier as a consequence as well -- who wants that?
Yes, they last, and are cheap -- but aren't most of us here Old Enough to have learned by now....you Get what you Pay for?!
In the past several years, there really has been no Revolutionary breakthrough technology in the Braking department. You've got a reservoir, you've got brake calipers, pads, and rotors, utilizing hydraulic technology that's been around more than a century or five!
ABS is really the last BIG thing that happened to brakes, and that was over two decades ago. Most improvement in braking are more recently derived from electronics pkgs, traction conrtol (vsa), and driver-systems integration.
Braking systems: STILL THE SAME! Heck, nobody even bothers to equip cars with multi-piston calipers anymore!!
THE most important component to your daily drive / STOP, IS your brake pads. If you are unsure about what to choose, then stick with OEM.
As was said before in a different post: Honda spent alot of time and money to create the correct pad for your braking system. Who knows MORE about your car??
**Oh, and as std. disclaimer -- i do NOT drive a CT as my DD currently, I drive an 02 Maxima!**