In my previous article titled “Which Brake Pad Is Best For You?”, we discussed the best compounds for the different types of vehicles on the road today. Some brake pad applications work better with some vehicles while others are superior in other cars. With all these choices available today, it can be a bit mind-boggling trying to decide which is best for you. Usually the type of vehicle you have and what it’s used for will determine the answer.
Companies spend millions on marketing professionals and modes to make their product more appealing than the next guys. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy gift wrapping and verbiage, used to up the value of the item in the box. What really matters though is what is really inside the box. What are important, are those that have been over-tested and proven under the most strenuous of conditions.
New automobiles must meet federal performance standards such as a minimum stopping distance in various situations using specified pedal effort. Most motorists believe that the brake pad set they are buying will be exactly like, if not better than, the original equipment brake pads on the vehicle. However this is not always the case. Fortunately, there are two different types of voluntary certifications a brake company may obtain for their product, if it passes the test. Make sure to look for a certified label on the brake pad set you are purchasing.
Dual Dynamometer Differential Effectiveness Analysis Certification (D3EA) – This certification was introduced in 1996 as an independent proprietary program put together by Greening Testing Laboratories, located in Detroit, MI. The D3EA Certified Label endorses that the pad has gone through their series of rigorous testing. Using dual dynamometers, this tests both front and rear friction materials together. Vehicle weight and speed is simulated through a complex computer program allowing measurement of the effectiveness and stability for various automobiles. Some companies with D3EA certified products are Duralast, Raybestos, Satisfied, NAPA, Monroe, Wagner, Centric and Akebono.
Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedure (BEEP) – This alternate type of certification was introduced by the Brake Manufacturers Council or BMC. Unlike the D3EA testing, BEEP evaluation is done using only a single dynamometer. Ultimately, the argument was that most consumers only replace either their front or rear brake pads, and not both sets at the same time, making a dual dyno test unnecessary. If the products pass their series of strict tests, they will be approved to market their seal of approval.
Not all product lines under each manufacturer are tested using one of these two systems. Thankfully, most companies see that it is important to your safety and that of others that they do have approved products. Most of the brand name brake pads these days have successfully taken and passed these certifications. Next time you’re having your auto mechanic install a set of brake pads I challenge you to ask him if they are D3EA or BEEP certified.