Today’s fleet managers have many options when it comes to which brand of brake pads to use on their police cars. Choosing the right brake pad is vital to officer safety, considering the high speeds and wear and tear that is typical on law enforcement vehicles. The following is a look at five brake pad manufacturers / distributors and the OE-equivalent police package brake pads they recommend. Also included are some of the agencies across the country that are using these pads. ACDelco
ACDelco is a global leader in automotive replacement parts and services and offers aftermarket products for all makes and models, including Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota and Honda, plus some original equipment replacement parts. ACDelco is a brand of GM Service and Parts Operations (GM SPO), a division of General Motors.
ACDelco offers two brake line choices: Both the ACDelco OE brake line and the DuraStop® brakes are available to ACDelco distributors. DuraStop brakes have been independently validated using SAET1652 and GM-approved performance criteria. This brake line is designed for nearly every make of vehicle on the road. Coverage is also available for specific medium-duty truck applications.
According to Pamela Flores at GM SPO Communications, ACDelco’s recommendation for the late-model Ford CVPI is the DuraStop pads. However, Flores would not qualify it as the OE equivalent or identical to the original brake pads. “This part is consistent with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for this vehicle, and it is certified to the D3EA® standard,” Flores said.
The ACDelco DuraStop “all-makes” brake line includes more than 14,000 part numbers, covering 95% of all passenger cars and light-duty trucks. ACDelco DuraStop brakes (and OE brakes) offer a complete selection of brake parts, including disc brake pads, brake shoes, reduced shoes, drums, rotors, cables, disc and drum hardware kits, brake hoses, clutch master cylinders, brake master cylinders, remanufactured brake calipers, and performance brake parts. DuraStop brakes for all makes go through extensive testing of all components to ensure quality. Other features include stable frictional output and a powder coat finish for appearance, rust protection and extended shelf life.
In addition to organic and semi-metallic brake pads, the ACDelco DuraStop line offers ceramic brake pads. The ACDelco DuraStop ceramic pads are generally quieter and offer more durability than semi-metallic pads. Like other DuraStop brake pads, the ceramic pads are D3EA tested and approved, where the test platform is available. In addition, they produce less dust than semi-metallic brake pads and are manufactured using ceramic and nonferrous materials for smooth and quiet stopping power, durability and rapid-braking recovery.
The Okalusa County Sheriff’s Department in Shalimar, FL, uses ACDelco’s DuraStop pads on its police vehicles, including Ford CVPIs and Expeditions, as well as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Impala. Police Fleet Manager spoke with Robert Young, who has been the shop foreman at Okalusa for 18 years. Young likes the DuraStop pads because of their extended brake life.
“We don’t need to do brakes as often,” he said. Young uses the metallic pads on Okalusa’s investigative vehicles, while the ceramic pads are put on the high-pursuit and marked vehicles. According to Young, his cars experienced brake fade and cracked rotors after just a few thousand miles before switching to the DuraStop pads. Overall, Young is “extremely pleased” with the DuraStop pads.
The city of Daphne, AL, also uses ACDelco’s DuraStop pads on its 2003 to 2007 CVPIs and its public works trucks. PFM spoke with Billy Crutchfield, maintenance supervisor at Daphne Public Works. According to Crutchfield, they used to get 13,000 miles with the factory pads. Now, the amount of miles the cars get has more than doubled with the DuraStop pads, often reaching 27,000 miles on the same pad. “They’re great; they stop a lot better with no brake fade,” Crutchfield said. Affinia Under Vehicle Group
Affinia Under Vehicle Group is a manufacturer and distributor of on- and off-highway replacement products and services, including such brands as Raybestos® brakes. Raybestos offers two brake pad options that are popular with law enforcement use: Raybestos Police Patrol & Pursuit Friction and the Raybestos Advanced Technology Ceramic Friction. The Police Patrol & Pursuit pad is developed specifically for police use. It is available for Ford CVPIs, Impalas, Chargers and Tahoe police pursuit-rated vehicles. PFM
spoke with Dwight Motley, sales manager, about the Raybestos OE-equivalent police package brake pad. According to Motley, Raybestos does not feel “OE equivalent” is an adequate description of the need of the field fleet or the best way to achieve maximum cost per mile without compromising safety. Motley said most fleets do not use OE specifically because they do not find sufficient benefit in performance and/or life to justify the higher price.
The Raybestos Police Patrol & Pursuit Formula features include: shimmed with police-specific logo; 100% integrally molded construction; 100% shimmed, slotted and chamfered; rubber-coated abutment clips where needed; and internal foam pack. The Raybestos Police Patrol & Pursuit Friction pads offer performance and extended life with minimal noise at considerable savings compared to OE products. The formulation is either HD semi-met, or ceramic, depending upon best performance characteristics on the specific vehicle. Both the Ford CVPI and the Charger are supplied with OE semi-metallic, and the Impala and Tahoe are OE ceramic.
Raybestos’s Police Patrol & Pursuit pad has undergone more than 1 million miles of field tests in city, county and state police fleets. PPSV (Police and Public Service Vehicle) certification by Greening Labs is under way. It is a test of brake pad performance conducted on the vehicle, front and rear together, modeled after the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Michigan State Police tests. It is intended to provide a measure of brake safety and performance beyond that of the FMVSS105/135 tests conducted by the OEM. At this point, the Raybestos pad is the only product that has been / is being tested and certified, with the certification complete for the Impala, under way on the Ford CVPI, and soon on the Charger and Tahoe.
The second brake pad recommended by Raybestos is the Raybestos Advanced Technology Ceramic Friction. Some fleets prefer the ceramic friction for even better noise resistance and no brake dust. Performance and life is very long, but at a higher cost. According to Motley, some fleets that test both prefer one over the other with no consistent reason.
Motley typically suggests that a fleet try the new Patrol & Pursuit Friction pad first because it offers superior performance and life at a lower cost. Most who prefer the Advanced Technology / Extreme have been using that product for some time with great results and find it difficult to change. Based on his experience, Motley said results from fleet tests are difficult to conduct and interpret. The best case is a general conclusion drawn over a brake lifecycle test conducted on several vehicles.
Even then, however, it is impossible to determine if use over the period was the same, drivers and their habits were the same, etc. This reinforces the benefit of independent lab, on-car certification, avoiding inconclusive tests. As to formulation, Motley recommends what works best on the particular application given its use and finds that no one size fits all. “The ability to offer several options to tailor the vehicle brake service to need is another benefit of the Raybestos program,” Motley said.
The Raybestos ATD931P front pads and the Raybestos ATD932P rear pads are intended specifically for use on the late-model Ford CVPIs. Raybestos also offers the D1040A Police rear pads, and they are interchangeable but smaller.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCHP) has been using Affinia’s products for 12 years on all field and driver training vehicles. Ronnie Faison, equipment superintendent for NCHP, has the largest Charger fleet in the country, and he services those Chargers with Raybestos brake pads. He also uses them on NCHP’s Tahoes, Ford CVPIs, Impalas, as well as their high-speed pursuit 2001 Camaros. According to Faison, Raybestos’s ceramic pads “hold up extremely well in high heat and high-speed chases lasting 30 to 40 minutes.” Faison put on aftermarket pads after the OE pads wore out. Before using the Raybestos pads, Faison said his vehicles experienced brake fade problems.
Faison said his vehicles can go 18,000 miles with Raybestos brake pads before they have to be changed. This is ideal for his troopers who write 100 tickets per week and who often run down cars at top speeds of 150 mph. The NCHP continually performs brake testing at its training facility in Raleigh, NC, as part of its R&D program. It also trains many other LE drivers in high-speed pursuit driving, including officers from the Secret Service, FBI, as well as sheriff and police agencies across the country. Overall, “I am real proud with where we are with our brake program—especially [for use] in long, extended chases,” Faison said. Bendix by Honeywell
Honeywell Friction Materials continues the Bendix® tradition of utilizing new brake technologies and products, which are used by vehicle manufacturers and professional technicians alike. Bendix by Honeywell recommends the Bendix Fleet MetLok® (FM) product line for police applications. The FM brake pads use a semi-metallic material. Bendix’s current catalog lists the following for the late-model Ford CVPI: Front—MKD931FM; Rear—MKD932FM.
Bendix Fleet MetLok pads are engineered, formulated and manufactured with the requirements of the fleet operator in mind. Utilizing a friction material that has proven itself over millions of miles, the Fleet MetLock pads offer stopping power in high temperatures and extreme operating environments. Since the introduction of the enhanced friction formulations, the semi-metallic brake pads combat noise and dust better than before.
The severe-duty friction material is integrally molded and utilizes a robust attachment method that provides increased resistance to lining-plate separation under harsh driving conditions. They include slots and chamfers that reflect the OE design and come equipped with high-quality steel shims to help ensure quieter braking. In addition, the OE-tested and approved formulas are designed to provide virtually fade-free performance.
According to Griff Jordan, Bendix product manager, Bendix brakes are in use by the city of San Antonio, TX, where they specify Bendix Fleet Metlok brake pads for San Antonio’s police cruisers. Federal-Mogul Corp.
Federal-Mogul is a global leader in the development and manufacture of asbestos-free friction products, including advanced friction materials and components engineered to meet the needs of today’s vehicle manufacturers. Federal-Mogul offers a wide variety of friction products for a broad range of applications. These include everything from light- to heavy-duty vehicles, and railway, motorcycle and industrial applications. Every Federal-Mogul brake is backed by its “OE Fit and Form” promise—it will be equal in fit and form to the original part it is replacing.
Federal-Mogul’s friction development is in direct cooperation with the brake caliper manufacturer, with close attention to the vehicle manufacturer’s requirements. Criteria for friction material development include friction level, fading, pad wear, disc wear, noise, behavior under wet conditions, pedal feel and heat absorption. With friction formulations consisting of more than 20 raw materials, Federal-Mogul develops customer-specific solutions for each individual application. PFM
spoke with Peter Murnen, global director of marketing; Walt Britland, director of aftermarket engineering; and Kevin O’Dowd, group brand manager for aftermarket brands at Federal-Mogul. According to Murnen, et al, Federal-Mogul recommends the Wagner® SevereDuty brake pads as its OE-equivalent police package brake pad. The front pads are metallic, and the rear pads are organic, non-metallic. Federal-Mogul sets high standards for both OE and aftermarket parts by dynamometer and vehicle testing to ensure performance under real conditions. The company tests its brake pads at a variety of speeds and weights (light and heavy loads) at its testing facility in Toms River, NJ.
Wagner provides replacement brake pads and shoes made with the platform-specific friction materials the manufacturer originally put on many agencies’ vehicles. Because police vehicles have different braking requirements, Wagner friction materials offer the application-specific formulas and designs to deliver stopping power and durability with minimal brake noise. Wagner Brake Products’ EDGE™ is an advanced brake technology that features laser-shaped friction, patented integrated insulator and Silent Guides™.
SevereDuty brake pads and shoes from Wagner utilize friction formulations that have been specifically developed to address the needs of the medium-duty market segment. The carbon-based, metallic friction formulations are technologically enhanced to perform in extreme temperature situations and feature a reinforced friction bond for strength. As a result, they resist the brake fade that can occur in extended and extreme use, providing a longer life and the stopping performance needed for law enforcement use.
The Houston, TX Police use the Wagner SevereDuty brake pads on all their police vehicles. According to the parts manager for the Houston PD, they use the Wagner SX 931 and SX 932 pads mainly on their Ford CVPIs, from model years 1996 to 2008. They have used the Wagner pads for five years, and so far, they are performing as expected with no problems. Because the Houston Police have a strict maintenance program, they often change the SevereDuty pads before they even need to. They also like the customer service offered on the Wagner pads, as well as the packaging, especially because they order large quantities at a time. Wellman Products Group
Wellman Products Group regularly develops new application-specific formulations for a variety of end uses. These engineered materials withstand high operating temperatures while providing the desired amount of friction for improved vehicle safety, as well as productivity and profitability. The company’s wide variety of materials provides long-life applications. PFM
spoke with Chip Hurst, sales manager at Wellman Products. According to Hurst, Wellman offers the disc pad SKUs for police applications in both the Hawk Performance and VelveTouch Disc Pad brands. The Hawk Performance brand is all about stopping power. The compound description is “ferro-carbon.”
VelveTouch is the pad Hurst most recommends for all-around police use. The VelveTouch Front WPD0931K and Rear WPD0932K are intended specifically for use on the late-model Ford CVPI. This brand’s compound description is “carbon semi-metallic.” VelveTouch pads are designed to offer stopping power that in most cases exceeds the OE, along with good rotor compatibility at a competitive price. “In almost every case where a new agency uses this product, the first reaction from the officer is [that he notices] the easier braking with less pedal effort,” Hurst said.
The Lauderdale County, MS Sheriff’s Office uses the VelveTouch F1 pads on its police vehicles. According to Harris Wilder, shop supervisor, they are used on the 2003 to 2008 model year Ford CVPIs and also the Dodge Chargers. Wilder said the officers at Lauderdale County like the VelveTouch F1 pads because of their excellent stopping power, although they do notice a squeal after running them a while, especially in the hot weather. “We don’t mind the noise as long as they can stop at 130 mph, which they do,” Wilder said. Wilder said the vehicles usually have 15,000 to 18,000 miles on them before they have to change the VelveTouch pads.
Many options exist when it comes to selecting a brand of brake pad. Fleet managers must educate themselves on the different types and choose which one is best for their agencies’ fleet, with officer safety in mind. Jennifer Gavigan is the former associate editor of Police Fleet Manager. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.