Bendix® POLICE Semi-Metallic Brake Pad was one of the new products introduced
at PFE-Charlotte. Second only to tires, disc brake pads are the highest wear
item in the police vehicle. In fact, many Preventative Maintenance programs
call for a brake pad thickness inspection during every oil change. This also
makes the best practice of rotating the tires at every oil change easy and
problem with brake pads that wear quickly is the ill-advised temptation to
replace the pads with whatever the local auto parts store happens to have. Big
mistake. The rule has always been to replace the OE pads with OE pads, or
OE-equivalent pads. And the burden of proof that the pads are truly
OE-equivalent falls on the pad manufacturer. Many claims of OE-equivalence are
made, but few companies offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because the
brake pad fits on a police car doesn’t mean it belongs on a police car.
Just Use Whatever Fits
all pads that claim to be police-spec or OE-equivalent are actually so. For
example, the NAPA
website lists five different POLICE pads for the Dodge Charger. Three of these
POLICE pads are ceramic. (Don’t use ceramic pads on police patrol vehicles!)
One of these POLICE pads is non-asbestos organic, NAO. (Don’t use NAO pads on
police patrol vehicles!) One of the pads is a semi-metallic. Semi-met is the
right type, but the manufacturer is either unknown or open to change.
two of the ceramics are more expensive than the semi-met, while the NAO and one
of the ceramic pads are less expensive. Of course, all are claimed to be
OE-equivalent and identified as such. So, the lowest bid pad that fits and the
second to lowest bid pad that fits, both identified with POLICE, are totally
the wrong brake pad.
because a replacement pad is available in a size that “can” be used on your
police vehicle doesn’t mean it “should” be used on your police vehicle. In
fact, some pads should not be used on any police vehicle.
example, ceramic pads should not be used on any vehicle likely to be in a pursuit.
Ceramic pads run hotter than the correct semi-metallic pad, which raises the
temperature of the entire brake system. And the hotter the ceramic pad gets,
the worse it performs. The ceramic pad is clean, and it is quiet, but it does
not do well during a pursuit.
auto parts store chains custom brand (rebadge) brake pads made by various,
non-disclosed manufacturers. The problem is these sources may change without
buyers knowing. One manufacturer may have the contract to supply the chain in
2013, entirely different from the supplier in 2012 and entirely different from
the supplier for 2014. Brake pad compounds change often enough from the same
True and Proven OE-equivalent
Friction Materials, makers of Bendix brakes is one brake pad company that is
both 1) an OE brake pad supplier for some vehicles; and 2) has had their police
pads independently tested against OE police pads. Their proof of OE-equivalence
for the Bendix POLICE Semi-Metallic Disc Pads is Link Engineering’s Declaration
of Conformity using Laboratory Brake Evaluation® in accordance with the OE
is an OE supplier to Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Toyota,
Honda, Chrysler/FIAT, Mazda/Ford and Volkswagen. The Bendix POLICE brake pads
are currently made in Canada.
Another production facility in Mexico
is scheduled to come online soon.
Born from Fleet MetLok
used their years of experience with the Fleet MetLok® pads to develop the
Police pads. The Bendix POLICE friction materials used the Bendix Fleet MetLok
as a starting point. Fleet MetLok has a long history of OE-equivalent
performance in a wide variety of fleet vehicles.
MetLok is suitable for a wide variety of cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers and
both light and heavy trucks. The Bendix POLICE line is more focused on the
police sedan segment. The Fleet MetLok remains the better choice for heavier
vehicles, i.e., ¾-ton pickup or van and above. Where a Bendix POLICE parts
listing exists, this is a better choice than the Fleet MetLok for police use.
to the Fleet MetLok baseline, the Bendix POLICE friction materials excel in two
areas: fade performance and pad life. The Bendix POLICE pads produce slightly
shorter stopping distances. This new brake pad is also quieter. “We zeroed in
on noise,” said Grif Jordan, North America
product marketing manager for Honeywell Friction’s Bendix brand.
No Burnish Needed
blue coating on the Bendix POLICE pads comes from their TitaniuMetallic™ II
premier line of semi-met pads. The unique blue color of the titanium metallic
coating is a sign that these pads do not need to be burnished after pad
installation. The facts are that all other brake pads should be burnished (a
series of increasingly harder stops from increasingly higher speeds) yet
virtually no brake job includes this last step. With the titanium metallic
coating, no burnishing is required. The Bendix Police pads stop with maximum
force of the very first brake pedal use.
is a first among major friction materials used on police vehicles. Nearly every
automaker, nearly every brake pad supplier has a burnishing procedure for new
brakes. The problem is that each brake pad company has a different burnishing
yet, the burnishing procedure from the auto companies sometimes varies from
year to year on the same make and model. Worst of all, virtually no one
burnishes the brakes after a brake job…it is put the tire on and go back in
service. The out gassing during the first few stops on an unburnished pad has
indeed caused first or flash-flame on brand new brakes.
Independent Dyno Testing
Engineering tested the Bendix POLICE pads against the OE pads on the Dodge
Charger Pursuit and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV. They checked four areas important
to police patrol: 1) maximum stopping power; 2) shortest stopping distance; 3)
resistance to fade; and 4) quietest braking. “Equaled or exceeded” is an
over-used term, but that is exactly how the Bendix Police pads performed in all
maximum stopping power test conducted by Link Engineering is a
variable-controlled dynamometer test. The program loaded into the dyno is that
of a road course used by the police to test the overall acceleration, braking
and cornering. Many police departments use the annual Michigan State Police
tests and/or the Los Angeles County Sheriff tests as a purchase criteria. That
is, passing these tests is part of the bid spec.
a result, some auto, brake and tire companies have driven these courses with an
instrumented car and then duplicated the exact courses on their dyno. It is
easy to have the dyno accelerate to 60 mph, apply medium brake pressure,
accelerate to 120 mph and apply max brake pressure, i.e., do whatever the test
vehicle recorded on the road course for as long as it took to make four laps.
Shortest Stopping Distance
shortest stopping distance is simply that: stopping from 60 mph with hot
brakes. The shortest stopping distance test is conducted by Link Engineering immediately
after the max stopping power test.
fade test is a hot performance test that determines how long it takes for the
brake pad to fade, i.e., how long before the stopping distances start to get
significantly longer. The brake fade test is simple enough. Accelerate to 60
mph, and then apply the most braking rate possible short of ABS activation.
Proven each year at the MSP and LASD vehicle tests, 12 stops in rapid order is
not enough to fade police-spec, semi-metallic brake pads. While 12 stops from
60 mph, in this case, is not enough to cause brake fade, the 40 stop test
protocol certainly is enough.
quietest braking test is a sound test. The instruments record the noise made by
the brakes in a wide variety of circumstances. A certain decibel threshold is
established. Beyond this point, most drivers would find the noise objectionable
or irritating. All brakes make noise as a semi-metallic surface is pushed
against a metal surface. However, it is just the screech/squeal noise that is
objectionable. So this test records how frequently during a specific dyno test
the pads make those high decibel sounds.
Bendix POLICE pads have a J-chamfer where the friction material meets the
backplate. This relatively sharp angle means the contact surface remains
constant as the pad wears. On pads with a more angled chamfer, the contact area
gets longer as the pad wears. This causes both brake noise and an ever-changing
contact area. Not so with the Bendix POLICE pads.
Pad Locked to Backplate
Hot & Cold Shear Test is the ability of the friction material to remain
attached to the backplate at all temperature extremes. The brake pad is heated
to 500 deg F for 48 hours. This temperature and duration is enough to burn off
all the adhesive between the friction material (pad compound) and the metal
backplate. To pass this test, a mechanical bond must be used and the mechanical
bond must be stronger than the strength of the friction materials. The pad
compound must crumble before the pad separates from the backplate.
of the Bendix POLICE pads use a mechanical retention system to secure the
friction material to the backplate. Something like the Velcro® hook and loop,
the backplate has a wood rasp surface. These teeth engage the glued-on friction
material, forming both a chemical bond (adhesive) and a mechanical bond (retention
More Development Tests
dyno testing systems are used at different speeds and temperatures. Engineers
then document any change in braking performance based on changes in temperature.
The testing generally starts at 200 deg. F, which is relatively cool brakes, up
to 400 deg. F, which is a normal operating temperature for most patrol
testing is usually conducted at 90 percent of the speed limited top speed. For
the police sedans that hit 150 mph, the testing involves hard braking from 135
mph. Cold testing starts with all of the brake components (rotor, pads,
caliper) at 14 deg. F. The test involves emergency stops from 20 mph. The test
then continues with the brakes at 32 deg. F, 50 deg. F and 68 deg. F.
Comparable Brake Wear
one aspect of brakes that cannot be objectively tested is brake pad wear/pad
life. Every fleet manager knows this varies from officer to officer, from
precinct to precinct. In this regard, the Bendix POLICE pad is claimed to be
“comparable” to OE pads in service life. Since the Bendix POLICE pads were
OE-equivalent in other areas of brake performance, their claim of comparable
wear is easy to believe.
vast amount of brake pad development takes place on a dynamometer. This is a
precision, controlled variable test stand that gives the best theoretical
results. There is an interim step between the dynamometer and a limited
production run on patrol vehicles. The on-board instruments record the pedal
force, pedal travel and deceleration rate. However, police officers don’t drive
dynamometers. At some point, the brake pad needs to leave the lab environment
and hit the street. Bendix POLICE pads have been beta-site tested with the
Westport, Conn. Police.
New Brake Pad Applications
Bendix POLICE brakes were developed specifically for the police package and
special-service package sedans, crossovers and SUVs. As new police vehicles are
introduced, Bendix is developing new brake pads. For example, the Charger
Pursuit got much larger brakes as a running change in the mid-2014 model year.
Bendix will have pads for the 2014 ½ Charger in the fourth quarter timeframe.
POLICE brakes are available for the Ford CVPI, PI Sedan and PI Utility; the
Dodge Charger and Durango; the Chevrolet Impala, Caprice and Tahoe. Bendix
POLICE brakes will be available for the Chevy Silverado, RAM 1500, and Ford
F-150 in the July-August timeframe.
a rule, Bendix brake pads are professionally installed. From an availability
viewpoint, that means the Bendix brand is less likely to be found in a local,
after-market auto parts store like O’Reilly’s, NAPA, or Car Quest. Instead,
Bendix parts are more likely to be available at specialty brake shops. The
easiest way to find Bendix brakes is through the “distributor locator” on the
Bendix/Honeywell website. Simply search by zip code.
or exceeded” is an over-used term, but that is exactly how the Bendix POLICE
pads performed both during dyno testing and on patrol. The Bendix POLICE pad
can prove its claim of being OE-equivalent.