An upgrade to the brake systems on your car is one of the most prudent performance modifications you can buy; and it can be one of the most satisfying. As drivers, we may not be able to put the pedal to the floor that often, but we have to use the brakes every time we drive. An upgraded braking system will result in more confident and smoother stops, as well as reduced brake fade and better all-around performance. There are three main ways to upgrade your vehicle’s braking system: purchasing upgraded components for your car’s stock system, swapping your stock brakes for superior brakes from a compatible vehicle, or converting your vehicle’s braking system using an aftermarket performance kit.
Upgraded Components – There are now a variety of upgraded brake components available for virtually any car on the road. Drilled or slotted rotors help ventilate the gasses generated by braking away from the friction surfaces, allowing more surface contact and thus more braking power. Performance brake pads are manufactured using compounds that are able to create more friction, and are more resistant to heat than conventional brake pads. This increases braking performance under a variety of conditions as well. Another good choice is braided steel brake lines. These reduce expansion in the braking system which increases hydraulic pressure and increases braking response. These types of upgrades can increase the performance of a stock braking system considerably, and they are often available at a relatively low price. Upgrading the components of your stock braking system is generally the most affordable option when it comes to upgrading your brakes.
Swapping Your Brakes – Another popular option when it comes to brake upgrades is swapping out the brake system on your car for a superior one from a different vehicle. One of the most common swaps is the replacement of rear drum brakes with rear discs that were available equipment on a car of a different trim level. Another is swapping in brakes of a larger diameter that were available on a separate vehicle. To find information about what types of swaps are compatible and beneficial for your car, a vehicle specific support forum is a good place to start. Car owners use forums like this to trade information about different upgrades available for their cars, and there may even be a section devoted entirely to information about increasing braking performance. While this type of swap can drastically improve the braking performance of your vehicle, it is a much more involved process. It may be a good idea to have a licensed mechanic do the work for you.
Full System Upgrades – The most comprehensive performance modifications available are full system upgrades from companies such as Brembo or SSBC. These upgrades are vehicle specific, and often include performance enhancers such as drilled/slotted or larger size rotors, braided steel brake lines, and multiple piston calipers. They are also the most expensive option and the most difficult to install.