Saturday, April 6, 2013

New Brakes

With tires on the way, I turned my sites back to brakes. The rear brakes on this car are good for about 40,000 miles. If you buy a Golf of any sort via CPO, like my wife's, most have had their rear brakes replaced as part of the preparation for re-sale, so this seems pretty typical.

Unlike most "regular" cars, and very much like most German performance cars, when you change the brakes, it's recommended you also change the rotors. The thin rotors are a high performance design and can't be resurfaced. Some will say they're good for two sets of pads, but from what I've read, most problems with noise and other issues are new pads attempting to seat with old rotors. Rotors are fairly inexpensive, so it's recommended to just replace them.

Part of my "ticking time bomb" comment that upset people was related to the short (high performance) brake wear life, although I didn't know rotors were also required at the time. You are paying for performance, more than with other cars. My old Mazda 6 for example, went 110,000 miles before needing new brakes.Still, if you do the research, the total maintenance costs for the GTI are similar to other cars in its price range, so no big deal.

I could have saved money with OEM pads and rotors on just the back, but as I've mentioned, I'm unhappy with GTI braking. It's likely a lot to do with Pirelli mud and snow tires, but I figured, since I'm paying to have brakes installed anyway, lets go with a higher performance application. Like most people, I'm looking for a quiet, long lasting solution that avoids fade and simply stops better in normal driving applications.  The car will never see an autocross track and I'm not likely to be chased by baddies in a shopping mall. Ceramic pads sounded like a great solution. It's especially recommended you change rotors if you change brake compounds, in this case semi-metallic OEM to ceramic.

Here's what I'm doing at all four wheels:

1 Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic Pads (front) $68.00 $68.00
1 Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic Pads (rear) $40.00 $40.00
2 Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series Rotor (rear) $32.00 $64.00
2 Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series Rotor (front) $63.00 $126.00


Total $372.10

I could have saved some money at Amazon, but Tire Rack deserves a lot of credit for their research and value add. Also, which company is likely to help with a problem, the one with a staff of wheel specialists or the online discounter who sourced my four parts from three different third party vendors?

There is endless research on pad selection, with the obvious choice being a brand of Hawk pads. After a lot of forum research, I decided against them, due to conflicting reports of noise, and instead went with the Centric ceramics, as there's nothing but positive praise for these. For street use, rotors are less important, or at least less hotly debated, so I went with Centric again, perhaps gaining a little "synergy" by staying with the same brand of pads and rotors.

Mileage: 35,600

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