By Andrew Markel
of the toughest applications for brake pads are the Honda Accord and
Toyota Prius. Selecting the correct pad is critical not only for the
safety of the vehicle but the profitability of the shop you serve.
Honda: Seventh-Generation Accord Parts Selection
seventh-generation Honda Accord (2003-’08) and Acura TL are some of the
top-selling vehicles in the U.S. They have a very simple brake system
to service, but it can be prone to brake noise if the wrong parts are
The seventh-generation Accord brake system comes in two
flavors with two different rear brake systems. Systems are made by
either Akebono or Nissin. When ordering pads, make sure you have a VIN
and production date. Also, find out if the vehicle is equipped with ABS
and/or TCS. Some brake part electronic catalogs might ask for the trim
level. The smaller brake system came with 15-inch wheels and the larger
system came with 16-inch or larger wheels. But, some special editions
and later models violate these rules.
The DX model is the low-end of
the range and is equipped with the smaller front brakes and rear drums.
The EX version is the mid-range model and can have either brake system
depending on if it is equipped with 4-cylinder or V6. Also, the level
of ABS and stability control will determine if it is equipped with rear
disc brakes. The next trim level is the LX. These models typically have
the larger front brakes and rear disc brakes.
Don’t skimp on the brake pads
the Accords of this generation are designed to work with ceramic
friction formulations. It is critical that a similar friction materials
goes back on the vehicle. If an aggressive semi-metallic friction
material is used, more heat could be transferred to the caliper piston,
making it possible to boil the brake fluid. The problem becomes even
worse if you use a cheap brake pads set that does not include a set of
Don’t skip on the shims
Both the 4-cylinder and V6
brake systems have sophisticated shim sets that clip to a backing plate
rather than being glued or staked. This design creates a “boundary
layer” preventing vibrations from being transmitted to the caliper and
knuckle. All models use a two-piece shim on the front in-board pad as
Honda engineers use this design to stop the vibrations so
Honda can use a lighter caliper and knuckle to increase gas mileage and
improve ride quality. If you think you can out-engineer a bunch of
Honda engineers with a cheap shim and tube of brake lube, you may have
a comeback in your future.
Prius: 70,000-mile brake pad?
is not uncommon to find a Prius with 70,000 or 100,000 miles on the
original set of pads. This is due to regenerative braking creating the
majority of braking force. But, this does not mean that other
components, like hardware and rubber seals/boots, can’t fail sooner.
Prius has unique requirements for the brake system. On 2001-2004
models, the hydraulic brakes were not used until the vehicle was below
7 mph or if the vehicle had to make a hard stop.
The majority of the
time, the pads never reached conventional operating temperatures and
corrosion could occur between the backing plate and friction material
due to the fact that the pads never dried out. On some vehicles, the
corrosion between the friction material and backing plate would cause a
Always use a high-quality pad for the Prius and
other hybrid applications to avoid problems. It is not a question of
better performance. It is a question of quality and engineering.
it is impossible to perform a conventional break-in/bedding procedure
on the test drive, make sure the manufacturer promises excellent
performance right out of the box. Also, applying a non-direction finish
with a ball hone will help the new pads evenly deposit a layer of
friction material to the new rotor.