Your brakes are among the most important parts of your entire vehicle. They’re primarily responsible for speed control and safety, and they do a great deal to ensure that you’re able to accurately keep your car steady.
That said, the brakes also need proper lubrication to work. And, when considering lubricant choices, the argument between ceramic and silicone lubricants tends to take center stage.
In this piece we’ll delve into this comparison to help you better understand which is better.
Brake Lubricants: The Underrated Player In Vehicle Maintenance
Also known as brake grease or caliper lubricant, brake lubricant is a special lubricant type that’s built for use in an automobile’s braking system. As you can imagine, its objective is to ensure that the car’s brake components work as long as possible and are safe to operate.
In most cases, brake lubricant is made of a material with both high-temperature resistance and moisture resistance. This is why options like the Permatex ceramic extreme brake parts lubricant tend to work. However, you can also see lubricant options made with silicone or synthetic materials as well.
All in all, these lubricants are built to withstand the extreme heat that is gotten when you hit the car’s brake. Just as well, they withstand the effects of external components such as road salts and water that can degrade the performance of the car’s brake over time.
The roles of a permatex brake lubricant in a car’s overall braking system are quite extensive. They include:
- Corrosion Prevention: With a brake lubricant, you have a protective barrier that is formed over different brake components – pins, caliper slides, and other hardware options. This barrier keeps corrosion out, ensuring smooth component movement overall.
- Friction Reduction: For efficient functionality, brake components require smooth movement. With brake lubricant, you get to cut down on the friction between these components, ensuring that they move freely without the incidence of binding.
- Eliminating Noise: Brake lubricants also take out excessive squeaking and squealing, cutting vibrations that can cause noise during the interactions of the brake components.
- Ensuring Proper Brake Release: In some braking systems, caliper slides will need to slowly retract after braking to release the brake pads from the rotor. This retraction process can be optimized by the brake pads, ensuring that the pads don’t maintain contact with the rotor when the brake isn’t being engaged.
Silicone Brake Lubricant: Stopping Vehicle Screeches
Silicone is one of the most popular materials in the automotive space. And, one of the most prominent uses of the product is in making lubricant products.
A silicone brake lubricant is a form of lubricant that’s built with silicone-based compounds. As you can imagine, its use is primarily in an automobile’s braking system, where it offers optimal lubrication and protection of the different brake components.
These lubricants also work in specific brake system parts that require a high level of temperature resistance and moisture-retardant lubrication solution. Primarily, the silicone brake lubricant is made of the following:
- Silicone Base: To begin with, it goes without saying that silicone brake lubricants are made of silicone grease or oil. This crc brake grease is a clear, synthetic oil that combines silicone atoms with those of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
- Thickeners: In the case of silicone grease, you also need thickeners that improve the material’s viscous consistency. These thickeners help to keep the lubricant in place, allowing it to properly adhere to its surfaces.
- Additives: You can also find different additives that help to optimize the performance of the silicone brake lubricant. From improving temperature resistance to protection from corrosion, these additives provide several additional properties.
- Inhibitors: Corrosion inhibitors are usually added to silicone brake lubricants in order to improve their protection from corrosion and moisture. Just as well, they go a long way to keep out rust and other corrosion forms that can reduce the overall movement of the brake parts.
- Antioxidants: These components can be added to keep the lubricant stable over time. They prevent the degradation of the grease or silicone oil, especially since it is usually exposed to a lot of heat and other environmental factors.
As for the characteristics of these products, you have some of the following notable options:
- Heat Resistance: The primary characteristic of a silicone-based lubricant is its high temperature resistance. During braking, it’s possible for these components to reach some elevated temperatures. With the best brake lubricant, you will be able to withstand these high temperatures without wearing off the components themselves.
- Water and Moisture Resistance: Inherently, silicone-based lubricants resist moisture. This makes them adaptable for brake systems that might get exposed to road salts, water and other contaminants.
- Lubrication and Smooth Movement: Silicone brake lubricants will also cut out the friction between components such as pins, caliper slides, and hardware. This optimizes smooth movement, preventing binding and ensuring a seamless distribution of braking force.
- Noise Dampening: With their ability to absorb sounds and vibrations, brake lubricants easily cut down on noise generation during the overall braking process.
- Non-Reactivity: Silicone lubricants generally don’t react with rubber and other materials that you mostly see in brake systems. As such, they are more compatible with different system components and won’t cause any swelling or material degradation over time.
As long as these lubricants can be administered properly, they provide some of the best use across the board for any automobile system. Even better, we at Legenday can easily provide proper guidance to help you understand how best to make use of your lubricants and the situations where silicone-based products can be perfect for you.
Silicone Brake Lubricant: Advantages and limitations
With silicone brake lubricant, you essentially have two sides of a coin. While the lubricant is especially advantageous, it leaves a little to be desired in some areas.
Advantages of Silicone Brake Lubricants:
- High Temperature Resistance: These lubricants are known for their impressive heat resistance, which allows them to maintain the use of braking components during the actual braking process.
- Moisture and Water Resistance: Silicone is known for its ability to repel moisture. As such, silicone-based lubricants do well under humid, wet conditions.
- Non-Reactivity: These lubricants don’t react with any material in the braking system, so they are compatible with different components without causing swelling.
- Lubrication and Smooth Movement: With their ability to reduce friction between components, silicone brake lubricants ensure their smooth movement, preventing uneven wear and binding.
- Longevity: Due to their heat and moisture resistance, you tend to have impressive operational longevity from these lubricants.
Disadvantages of Silicone Brake Lubricants:
- Compatibility: To be fair, silicone-based lubricants tend to not react with other materials. Still, you could experience some compatibility issues – especially with specific forms of synthetic materials or rubbers that form part of the braking systems.
- Thicker Consistency: In most cases, you’d find silicone grease being used. With its thicker consistency, you might find difficulty when it comes to specific parts that require lighter consistency levels.
Ceramic Brake Lubricant: The New Kid on The Block
The ceramic brake lubricant is primarily used in high-performance automobile braking systems, where ceramic brake pads are also applied. The lubricant form is designed to address some of the most pressing characteristics and needs of ceramic brake pads, optimizing their interactions with other components in the braking system.
Generally, these brake lubricants are formulated with the use of different ingredients that are chosen to address particular needs of a brake system. While the exact composition will usually vary based on the manufacturers, here are some notable components:
- Base Oil: The central ingredient of a ceramic brake lubricant is the base oil. This can be a synthetic oil or a combination of different oil variants. With the base oil, you get the primary lubricating properties necessary for smooth brake component movement.
- Ceramic Particles: You can also find microscopic ceramic particles or additives in ceramic brake lubricants. These help to improve the interaction between the pads and other components in the overall system, and they can help cut down on friction – thus reducing vibration, noise, and harshness.
- Anti-Wear Additives: Many ceramic brake lubricants contain anti-wear additives that help protect the internal brake components from wear and friction. These additives form a protective barrier on the surfaces, extending the operating life of the brake components across the board.
- Extreme Temperature Additives: Considering the fact that the braking process generates massive temperatures, ceramic lubricants can also contain additives that help to improve their temperature resistance.
- Corrosion Inhibitors: As you get with other brake lubricants, there are corrosion inhibitors in ceramic brake lubricants that hinder component movement and prevent rust.
- Friction Modifiers: These modifiers are added to improve the interaction between ceramic brake pads and caliper components. They reduce noise, ensure a smoother braking experience, and improve overall performance.
Some of the major characteristics of these brake lubricants include:
Brake Pad Compatibility: Perhaps the most prominent feature of ceramic brake pads is their ability to operate well in high-performance situations. They don’t generate any dust, and their consistency in braking means that you can pretty much count on them. Nevertheless, ceramic brake pads are also known to come with different friction coefficients and interactions with other system components.
To that end, ceramic brake lubricants are built to address these challenges and ensure that all system components can interact smoothly.
- Friction Modification: The additive components in ceramic brake lubricants ensure that they can cut down on direction between the brake pads and the caliper braces. Just as well, these additives cut down on vibration and friction, ensuring that the braking system operates quieter overall.
- Temperature Resistance: A ceramic brake lubricant is built to operate in high-temperature environments. It won’t evaporate or degrade, and it can ensure the proper functionality of your braking system.
- Corrosion Protection: As you would expect, ceramic brake lubricants offer protection against material corrosion. They prevent rust on brake components as well, ensuring that brake performance is optimized.
- Reduced Dusting: Ceramic brake pads are known to produce less brake dust compared to traditional pads. When you have the right ceramic lubricant, you have a product with low-dusting functionality. This means that you can optimize the interactions between the brake pads and the calipers.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Ceramic Brake Lubricant
So, let’s look into where ceramic lubricants shine and where they might need to do some more work.
Advantages of Ceramic Brake Lubricants:
- Optimized Interaction: The formulation of ceramic brake lubricants is made to ensure that the interactions between brake pads and other components is optimized. The lubricants help to improve friction characteristics, resulting in better braking performance and smoother operation.
- Reduced Noise and NVH: Thanks to the presence of additives, ceramic brake lubricants also reduce vibration and noise, resulting in a quieter and more comfortable braking operation.
- Corrosion Protection: As you get with other lubricant products, ceramic brake lubricants offer impressive protection from corrosion for your brake components.
- Temperature Resistance: With their unique formulation, ceramic brake lubricants ensure optimal temperature resistance, easily withstanding the high temperatures generated during braking.
- Low Dust Generation: One of the reasons why ceramic brake lubricants are perfect for ceramic brake pads is the fact that they help maintain the pads’ low-dusting characteristic. This is done by optimizing the interaction between the caliper components and the brake pads themselves.
- Longevity: By cutting down on friction and wear, ceramic brake lubricants do a great deal to contribute to the longevity of brake components.
Disadvantages of Ceramic Brake Lubricants:
- Compatibility: In general, ceramic brake lubricants are built to operate well with ceramic brake pads. With pads made of other materials, however, they don’t do so well.
- Application Expertise: To properly apply ceramic brake lubricant, you’d need a perfect understanding of your brake system’s needs. You don’t want to apply too little or too much lubricant, or you risk getting suboptimal results.
- Availability: Depending on where you are, you might find that ceramic brake lubricants aren’t as broadly available to you.
- Maintenance Complexity: For those who aren’t familiar with the specific maintenance requirements of a ceramic brake system, the use of these lubricants might come with a level of complexity that needs proper understanding.
- Cost: Compared to some other types of brake lubricants, silicone-based products tend to be more expensive. This is mostly because they tend to be tailored to high-performance functionalities.
Silicone vs Ceramic Brake Lubricant: Differences In Lubrication Process
To begin the comparison between both lubricant variants, let’s look into how the products are applied to understand which might be easier to work with:
At the end of the day, the process of applying both lubricants is pretty much the same. All you have to do is follow these steps, and you should be ready:
- Gather Safety Precautions: Ensure that the vehicle is parked on a level surface and that the engine is off. For manual vehicles, engage the parking brake as well.
- Access the Brake Components: Take out the wheel to gain access to brake components. Note that this might require raising the vehicle.
- Clean the Brake Components: If you find that the brake components have been compromised by dust or dirt, then you can get a brake system cleaner and apply it to them all. This isn’t all the way necessary, but it sure helps.
- Identify Lubrication Points: The next step will be to identify the particular areas where you need to apply the lubricant. These could be the pins, the caliper slides, and other areas where the caliper contacts the pad shims.
- Apply the Lubricant: Take a thick layer of the silicone or ceramic brake lubricant and apply it to the lubrication points. You can do this with a cloth or your fingers – provided you’re wearing gloves. Remember to avoid excess application as this could attract dirt.
- Spread the Lubricant: You might need to get a brake pad spreader to ensure even lubricant distribution in some cases. Once again, this is especially needed for components like pad shims.
- Reassemble Components: Once the application is done, reassemble the brake components. See to it that everything is secured, and you’re good to go.
- Repeat for Other Side: If you’re working on the vehicle’s other side, then repeat these steps to apply the lubricant to that side too.
- Reinstall the Wheel: Place the wheel back on the vehicle, tighten the lug nuts, and lower the vehicle. Remember to press the brake pedals gently a few times before driving to ensure that the components now work smoothly.
Silicone vs Ceramic Brake Lubricant: Performance Comparison
Next, let us examine how both lubricant products perform across the board
One of the primary functions of any lubricant material is to ensure optimal temperature resistance. And, to be fair both silicone and ceramic brake lubricants do well to address this. However, the major difference here lies in the formulation of the materials.
Silicone brake lubricants are built to provide consistent performance across a broad spectrum of temperatures. This means that they work for both regular and high-temperature driving conditions without experiencing any form of breakdown.
On the other hand, ceramic brake lubricants will need to have additives that enhance their temperature resistance in order to align with the brake pads’ characteristics.
As such, silicone brake lubricants’ ability to offer broad temperature stability makes them a more versatile option in general.
In terms of noise reduction, you also have two products that do quite well. However, ceramic lubricants appear to be better suited for this task.
These lubricants are formulated to especially address issues with noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) during braking. This isn’t to say that silicone brake lubricants can’t work, of course. However, when you consider the fact that the ceramic variants have a more dedicated formulation, you see that they might be the best option if noise reduction is really when you’re prioritizing.
Impact On Brake Hardware
The formulation of both ceramic and silicone brake lubricants is to ensure that the braking system operates as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. From the pins to the caliper slides and more, these lubricants focus on reducing friction between all components, thus preventing binding and uneven wear on them all.
However, this is another area where silicone brake lubricants take the prize. These lubricants are built to emphasize smooth component movement and reduced friction, thus contributing to better hardware performance and longevity.With their ceramic counterparts focusing more on brake performance and noise reduction, you can easily make a decision based on your priorities.
At the end of the day, both options are developed in a way that they can withstand different environmental factors. However, the most prominent difference here is based on the specific product properties as well as what you’re looking to achieve with it.
For instance, silicone brake lubricants are known to provide impressive resistance to environmental factors such as water, moisture, and road contaminants. They also come with water-repellent properties, which allow them to operate well when exposed to humid and wet conditions.
Just as well, a silicone brake lubricant achieves stability across a broad temperature spectrum, making it perfect in both hot and cold weather conditions. And, with the lubricants offering lower susceptibility to oxidation and degradation that comes from air exposure, they can easily optimize efficiency and longevity across the board.
As for ceramic brake lubricants, the major environmental boost here is that the material stays stable under massive heat levels. This means that you can ensure consistent performance, preventing system breakdown and optimizing longevity.
Cost & Availability
Perhaps the biggest difference point for both materials is in terms of their availability and cost.
Generally, ceramic brake lubricants tend to come at a higher price tag than their ceramic counterparts. However, while this is true, there is also the fact that these lubricants are more readily available.
Besides this, you also need to factor in the fact that ceramic brake lubricants are better suited for being applied to ceramic brake pads and mechanisms. As such, they might not necessarily work well when you mix them with non-ceramic braking systems.
Silicone vs Ceramic Brake Lubricants: Considerations for Vehicle Types
So, you understand the importance of brake lubricants to your vehicle. But, you’re worried about whether to get a silicone lubricant or a ceramic one. How do you make an informed decision? Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
Brake Pad Type
The first thing you want to do is consider the type of brake pad you’re working with. Ceramic brake lubricants are better suited for ceramic brake pads, while silicone brake lubricants are more versatile in their application. This here is the biggest distinction between the two.
You also want to evaluate your overall driving style. High-performance driving that’s combined with aggressive braking will be best for ceramic brake lubricants. This way, you get to focus more on noise reduction and performance optimization.
As explained earlier, anyone looking to reduce noise generation will be better served by a ceramic brake lubricant. Their formulation makes them perfect for reducing noise and dampening vibrations altogether.
The environmental conditions that your vehicle will be exposed to can also influence your decision. If you live in a wet, humid environment, then you’ll need the water-repellent properties of a silicone brake lubricant.
Consider the overall temperature extremes your brake system may encounter. For instance, if you constantly drive in situations that require high brake temperatures, then you’d need a lubricant with excellent temperature resistance – such as a ceramic brake lubricant.
You need to know your comfort level with brake maintenance. If you’re not familiar with the need of high-performance brake systems, then a ceramic brake lubricant might be a bit complex for you.
Finally, consider the cost of it all. Ceramic brake lubricants might be more expensive since they tend to be built more for high-performance systems. Nevertheless, assess your cost requirements and you can make an informed decision.
Considering that they are among the most popular lubricant types, choosing between a silicone and a ceramic brake lubricant can be challenging. However, the overall point here is to find an option that works for your driving style, braking system, and requirements.
You can also reach out to us at Legenday to learn more about which braking lubricant is perfect for you. Our technicians will be more than happy to offer you proper counsel.