Hawk HPS pads are commonly recommended as a decent OEM + upgrade to the stock pads. They offer more stopping power with less dust than the original pads. I have just finished a run of about 2 years on my set. I don’t track my car or do any motorsports. All my driving is on the streets and occasional runs through the canyons. All I need from a pad is smooth, consistent performance that can stand up to an above average day once in awhile.
HPS pads fit the bill quite well. Stopping power is excellent and they perform well in panic stops. I never noticed any fade during the time that I spent with these pads. A little heat actually improves the stopping power. Cold stopping power is a little less than stock but increases after the first stop. The dust buildup is a little less than stock and easily removable with hand washing. Pedal feel is a little better than stock, not a major difference but enough to notice.
A few complaints
I initially loved these pads. Excellent stopping ability. Then you start to notice that these pads lack a lot of the initial bite of the OEM pads. They don’t really grab for the first bit of travel in the pedal and then they start to bite. It makes the pedal feel very non-linear and made me uncomfortable in stop and go traffic. You constantly have to modulate the brake pedal. Once the pads are warmed a little, the pedal feel becomes more consistent but still not as good as stock. You end up over-braking because of the lack of bite and then backing off as the brakes start grabbing. Just a little annoying in stop and go traffic.
One of the sets also developed a squeal about halfway into its life. The squeal only occurred if the brakes were cold. A few stops would make the noise disappear but a few minutes of cooling set them off again. I tried re-seating them, applying anti-squeal, changing rotors and re-lubricating the caliper points but nothing worked. It may have just been this set, I don’t know. It finally drove me mad so I bought a different set of pads.
The HPS pads are actually really nice pads for a performance street driving application. They will take some abuse and play nice with your rotors. As I’ve mentioned a few times, stopping ability is really excellent. The lack of initial bite though, is noticeable. I wouldn’t ditch them just based on that reason, just know the difference in the HPS formulation’s feel. If you can deal with the modulation/initial bite issue, these are great pads. If not, then you should look elsewhere. What ultimately made me change them out was the noise I experienced. Pad on rotor noise is fine but squealing is unacceptable for a street pad. I’m currently testing out a set of Akebono Euro Ceramics. Brake power is a lot more progressive and is so far noiseless. They are not fully broken in yet so I cannot comment about the power difference but the HPS pads seem to be slightly better in that department.
Overall, the HPS is a good pad. It has great stopping ability but poor initial bite. The noise may or may not have been a fluke.