There are many unknown names in the world of automotive components, the general rule is to stick to original equipment (OE) or as close to that as you can. Some brands outperform the factory spec parts, and others aren’t worth the cardboard boxes the parts come in.
So when the name Textar was said to me at first, I said: ‘Who?!’
It’s a name you’re unlikely to have heard of, but they’re actually the OE brake supplier for a vast swathe of European car brands, in fact, the majority of carbon ceramic set-ups on high end, performance vehicles use TMD Friction (Textar) pads.
So they’re one of those huge companies whose name you’ve never heard of, but for all the right reasons. Last year they officially launched the stand alone Textar brand in the UK.
Last time I needed brakes I deliberated for ages as I wanted a decent set that would last and perform well. I finally settled on a pair of EBC green stuff pads at the front matched with EBC Ultimax USR discs. The rear got OEM EBC discs and pads. This was in March 2014, 4 years on and around 10,000 miles later they were knackered.
In step Textar, they got in touch and asked if we needed any brake components…well with a four-car fleet that was a given. The 207 had felt somewhat spongy and lacking any real bite for last 6 months or so before winter storage. Taking it for its MOT only reinforced the point that it was now getting to the dangerous stage.
The discs had corroded so badly on the front that there was little metal left to actually make contact with the pad, the inner pads were also heavily worn on one side. At the back things didn’t look great either, again disc corrosion had set in with large parts of the surface and edges coming off in chunks.
A few emails later and a shiny new set of Textar pads and discs turn up, I headed along to see Chris at BeanieSport in Milton Keynes to get them all fitted.
Thankfully as an OE equipment producer Textar supply all the necessary bits to renew the braking components, typically you’d have to purchase an accessory kit separately or reuse the old parts. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t. If you’ve got badly corroded spring clips that hold the pads in place and one snaps it can leave you scuppered until you can purchase the kit.
That can be a nightmare for a driveway mechanic, especially if you have just the one car. The majority of brake disc suppliers don’t include all those bits in the box, it was something Chris was somewhat surprised about. Brownie points there Textar.
Now, this is probably a job I could do myself, the front pads at least. I’m pretty competent with mechanics but when it comes to braking…I don’t want to cock that up.
As Chris removed the discs, it became apparent just what a state they had been in…that old pad (now a shim) is what was causing the grating-like noise while cornering for the last week or so.
It seems leaving the car sat with little to no use for long stretches had done the discs and pads precisely no good whatsoever. As I mentioned 207 has only covered around 10,000 miles in the last 4 years, this is precisely why you shouldn’t store a car outside…however the 207 is only ever sat for long stretches over the summer months.
Caliper off, quick clean, disk off, new one on, fit pads, replace caliper, tighten to correct torques. Simple.
The front ones were done in no time, now for the rear. These are always tricky as you need a caliper winder, and the last time the rear brakes were changed the seal broke on the offside one which resulted in a whole new caliper. Things were taken slowly this time…
Everything went in without any major dramas, the only issue was the thickness of the new pads, they only just lift off the disk. The same goes for the front, you really get a lot of material on the pads.
One point to note is the majority of the new components were made in the UK. Even though Textar are headquartered in Germany, they’re a global manufacturer so have numerous plants across the world to service local markets. So in buying Textar you’re also most likely supporting jobs and industry back here in Blighty.
Last year in a standard AMS test Textar brakes outperformed or matched that of OE brakes suppliers, which was one of the primary reasons for agreeing to try them out. I’d tried supposed ‘premium’ semi-performance parts last time, and they were pretty crap.
Brake feel was never solid, the pedal was always a bit vague and spongy, the way they’ve rusted and fallen apart is also rather alarming considering the originals lasted 7 years before needing to be replaced, albeit with a slight increase in use but no more than a few thousand miles each year.
With everything back together Chris took it for a quick test drive, all fine and I was on my way.
Naturally going from metal on metal to full on pads feels like night and day, so only time will tell how well they bed in over the next 100 miles or so. We’ll give an update and link to it here letting you know how we get on.