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To sum up, the EBC GreenStuff brake pads I had been using on my '96 Aero had been falling further and further short of their claims as time (and mileage) wore on. They started off really well: initial bite was better than the Saab pads, and got even better once they warmed up. Brake dust was almost non-existent. I just couldn't get them to fade.

Well, after a few thousand miles, the bite started to dull, braking power became inconsistent and they created at least as much brake dust as the Saab pads. On top of this, they began to create a loud "humming" noise on hard braking - I had plain discs fitted at the time.

Then I fitted ATE PowerDiscs, which have grooves in them. Although some braking power was restored, this combination made even more noise, as I expected.

Well, today, some months later, I finally realised how far the cold performance had deteriorated. On my way to work (with the brakes almost completely cold), I was doing about 30mph when a dog ran out in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes and was alarmed to find that I couldn't stop in time. I hit the daft creature at only a couple of mph, and apart from knocking it from its feet, I don't think I dit it any damage. Certainly, it appeared to be functioning correctly immediately afterwards (I did get out to check, of course, and spoke with the owner, who seemed more concerned that I would be mad at him than that the dog might be hurt). Perhaps the mutt is now a little less daft. I hope so.

Anyway, as soon as I got home from work, out came the BrownStuff (must stop saying that!) and in went the old Saab pads that had been almost new and that I hadn't thrown away.

Well, I must say that there is a world of difference, in more ways than one. The brake pedal is nowhere near as solid as it was with the EBC pads. However, after about 30 miles of town and country driving to bed the pads in again (they had already been bedded into new discs, so it didn't take much), the stopping performance of the Saab pads far exceeds the half-worn GreenStuff. There is also very little noise from the grooved ATE discs (there is still a little under hard braking).

Best of all, a trial emergency stop from 30mph produced an impressively short stopping distance and gave the ABS some work to do (even with the Bridgestone S-03 tyres). The ABS didn't even get a look in this morning.

Now, I suppose, I'll be able to tell whether I injured the dog. If I meet it tomorrow on the way to work and still hit it despite the shorter stopping distance, then I can assume I caused it an injury today that slowed it down. I can also assume that today's lesson didn't sink in...

I'm now in the market for some Ferodo DS2500 pads come pay day, as I have the Abbott Racing track day coming up next month.

For those dog lovers out there (of whom I am one), I'm not trying to be callous. I'm just trying to look on the lighter side of an experience that I found rather disconcerting.
 

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Shows how much the performance can deteriorate without you realising how bad it has really got! At least it was a dog and not a child - and the dog seems okay at that! (Poor old mutt!)
 
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