Sparesbox Blog

How to Choose the right Brake Pads for your European Car

By Brad Nash

Thu Jul 09 2015

Brake pads aren’t nearly as simple as they first appear. You know what they look like and what they do, and of course you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible fit for you and your vehicle, but it can be complicated.


Not to worry! This very simple guide is going to help you cut through all the complexity, and give you the tools you need to choose the most suitable brake pads for what you do. In this stage, we’re looking at the differences between European and conventional brake pads.


Anyone who’s ever driven in Europe will be quite quick in telling you that their roads are vastly different from pretty much anywhere else in the world, as are the cars they produce. European roads are among the most diverse in the world, from the Autobahns of Germany, to the tight streets of renaissance-era Italian villages, to windy mountain passes and highways running through the Alps and Carpathian mountains. In a similar fashion, European cars range from hot hatchbacks through executive german saloons, all the way to the world’s fastest supercars.


Europe: AKA Driving Heaven


As you could imagine, European governments generally take a rather dull view of all this fun stuff, and in turn a set of regulations – known rather intriguingly as regulation 90 – are imposed on brakes manufactured in Europe (and placed on European cars) which don’t apply anywhere else in the world.


“ECE Regulation 90 (abbreviated “ECE R90″) is an ECE Regulation specifying design, construction, and performance requirements and test protocols for replacement brake linings for road-going motor vehicles and trailers. R90 calls for linings to be tested for speed sensitivity, cold performance, and replacement Brake pads and brake shoes are permitted to deviate from the frictional characteristics of their original-equipment counterparts by not more than 15%. In addition, R90 requires tamper-evident, sealed packaging for replacement brake linings.” – Wikipedia


What this means for you, is that if you’re using European-specific brake pads, you can expect a certain degree of quality that you don’t get in the standard brake pads for cars made elsewhere in the world. European brake pads prioritise stopping power over all else, ensuring a higher degree of safety and more consistent stopping power in a huge range of different driving conditions.


Being more technologically advanced than a lot of cars around the world, European brake pads also often come with additional sensors that measure how much they’re wearing, alerting you when it’s time to get a replacement.


There are some downsides to this. With a higher amount of friction generated by the brake pads, they also create a larger amount of brake dust and noise than more conventional pads produced elsewhere. If you have pretty rims or are willing to forego some stopping power for the convenience of not having to clean your wheels quite as often, European pads probably aren’t your best bet.


If you value stopping power above all else though, European-oriented brake pads are the best choice for you. We stock a wide range of Ferodo and Bendix European-oriented brake pads, all designed to meet the standards set out above.



For all the additional info you need, make sure you check out our detailed articles on the brands and ranges of brake pads that Sparesbox carries.