1999 was the year the iconic Ford Focus was launched, first of its generation the car was manufactured almost entirely in Europe and ended a period of bad reputation by the dated Ford Escort. The second generation model came along in 2004 with a slightly redesigned body and more room. This generation of Ford Focus was followed by the Ford Focus ST, an upgraded version that could go form 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds. The third generation Ford Focus was introduced in 2011 and it had the biggest design change in a Focus.
This was also the very first time the model was offered with a 1.0 litre turbo charged petrol engine. The third generation Focus was also the best selling car worldwide in 2012. As we’ve established the Ford Focus has been a great car but no vehicle stays the same over the years and one of the ways to take care of vehicles is to regularly replace components. The same goes for the brake pads.
When Do You Need New Brake Pads?
Vibration & Grinding
It’s one thing to get new Focus brake pads but another to know when you actually need to do that. One of the ways you can tell if you need to change brake pads for focus is to check for vibrations. If the brake pedal is vibrating or pulsing it means the rotors have warped and there’s a chance that the pads have been damaged because of that. Grinding noises can actually mean two things, either the there’s something on the rotors that gets in the way of the pads or the pads have been used up completely. No matter the issue you should bring your Focus to your local mechanic for inspection.
Scraping & Squealing
A scraping or squealing sound can occur when the brake shim is wearing down or when the pads have a layer of dust on them. But if that sound disappears after you’ve used the brakes a couple of times there is no need for replacement, otherwise visit the nearest mechanic.
Loss of Brake Pedal Pressure
When your brake pedal feels spongy or if it doesn’t allow you to depress it all the way to the floor it mainly means that you have a leak in the brake lines. Sometimes adjusting your brake pedal could solve the problem but if that doesn’t get rid of the issue it also be that the entire braking system is failing. This issue isn’t necessarily related to the brake pads.
What to Look For In New Brake Pads?
First of all, before you move on to more advanced features such as pad material and quality the brake pads for focus will need to be compatible. They’ll need to match the make of your Focus and also your driving habits. Do you take long trips or do start stop driving most of the time? Do you go through uneven terrain or smooth surfaces? The answers are going to determine the pad material.
Organic pads are the most commonly used pads and also the oldest. They are made of a mixture of non-metallic ingredients that make them an inexpensive option but also one that wears out quickly. An Organic Ford Focus brake pad is also known as NAO (non-asbestos organic) since they were first mass produced with asbestos which was proven to be toxic hence why the switch of materials was made.
Semi-metallic pads are made of a combination of copper, iron, graphite or steel together with other compounds. These type of Focus brake pads don’t wear the rotors as much as other pads and they can perform well in cold weather. Their downsides are that they are louder than some other pad materials and don’t hold up that well on longer trips.
Fully-metallic pads have nothing else in them except for metal which makes them way more durable than their semi metallic counterparts. These pads perform the best even on longer trips and they conduct heat extremely well too. But they are also the loudest type of pad material and can wear down the rotors faster than any other type of pads.
Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive you can get but also perform well in both cold and hot environments whilst producing less brake dust thanks to soft materials. Ceramic pads are made of copper fibres mixed together with other compounds that help reduce noise which makes them the quietest of all pads. They do wear down pretty quickly though and are not very good at dissipating heat.
The quality of a brake pad depends on the stopping power or to be more exact how smooth and responsive it is when you apply the brakes. Erosion is another important factor as it signifies how good are the pads at reducing and dissipating heat as well as reducing wear on the rotors. Dust build up is also important and the less dust they create the better they are – the same goes for noise.
Pads that reduce grinding, squeaking and squalling noises are more convenient but also put less strain the rotor. Durability and weather resistance go hand in hand but they are not going to be that important if you drive in an area where poor road conditions and extreme temperatures aren’t present.