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Definition

Bedding pads-- unless you're using pre-burnished carbon-metallic pads, you need to prepare your brake pads for the high-temperature duty they will see on the track. Bedding the pads is a preparation method to burn organic compounds out of a brake pad, and to burnish the surface of the pad prior to racing. Most pads will have organic material in the pads and on the pad surfaces that were required during the manufacturing process. During racing, the brake pads will reach temperatures much higher than during street driving. The organic materials in the pad will boil, or turn to a gas at temperatures well below the high racing temperatures. When this happens, the organics will create a slippery film on the pad and rotor surface, and will also provide a high pressure gaseous barrier between the pad and rotor. Both will result in dramatic loss of brake grip.

To bed a set of pads means to burn out the organic compounds in the pad material, and on the pads surfaces. This should be done in a practice session on the track. It is both useless and dangerous to do this in eh paddock, on the street, or in pre-race warm-up laps.

To properly bed a set of pads, you simply need to repeatedly get them hot enough to the point of feeling pad fade. The usual technique is to start by warming them up gradually with several light brake applications, then a few medium runs, then several long and aggressive braking zones. You can also use slight left-foot braking pressure during long straights to heat them up. The purpose is to bring them to the point of fade (because that's when you know the organics are being burned off), so it is critical that during each braking period, your braking point starts much earlier than the usual to leave room to achieve a safe corner speed. Also, be sure there are no cars behind you -- the driver will not expect your early braking, and you may get rear-ended. When you feel the pad fade, let it cool off a little (to gain some safety margin back), and repeat the process until the pads no longer fade.

You can see visual difference in bedded pads as they will have a slightly different color in the first 1/8th of an inch or so.

Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of automotive and road racing terms. Click on any of the letters to go to the start of that section, click on the term to open a window with the definition.

Terms J - R

J K L M N O P Q R

J

terms coming soon

K

terms coming soon

L

loose (handling)

M

terms coming soon

N

terms coming soon

O

oversteer

P

psi and psig
push (handling)

Q

terms coming soon

R

reference points

Terms S - Z

S T U V W X Y Z

S

terms coming soon

T

tactile feedback
tight (handling)
trail braking
toe
turn-in point

U

understeer

V

terms coming soon

W

terms coming soon

X

terms coming soon

Y

terms coming soon

Z

terms coming soon

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