A big brake kit can be a great addition to a car, if it needs it. Here are 6 reasons you should not to buy a big brake kit if you are not racing.
Reason 1 – Big Brake Kit – Weight
This is a terrible thing to do to a car.
-Worse ride. Because there is more mass in the wheel, it is harder to move, this means that more of the bump force will be transferred into the car body instead of being absorbed by the suspension. Long story short, increasing unsprung weight makes the ride bumpier.
-Steering. Steering gets heavier and less responsive when you increase unsprung weight. The more a mass is spinning in one direction the more it wants to keep spinning in that direction. Long story short, it is harder to turn the car.
-Braking. Although the increased disc diameter and increased brake pad surface increases braking power, some of that increased power is lost because they brake system has to slow down heavier brake discs
In short, the increased weight of a big brake kit has many negative consequences
Reason 2 – Big Brake Kit – Standard Brake Pads.
On 99% of cars, the brake pads from the factory are terrible. Changing the brake pads to a set of performance brake pads will give a huge increase in braking performance with no negatives ie no increase in brake weight.
Reason 3 – Big Brake Kit – Brake Fluid
Standard brake fluid is way under par on almost all cars from the factory. Why? Because better brake fluid eg DOT5.1 needs to be changed more often than DOT4 brake fluid. Most people never change their brake fluid, DOT5.1 brake fluid should be changed every 1-2 years depending on how hard you are on the brakes. Good brake fluid will massively improve the stamina of the factory brake system.
Reason 4 – Big Brake Kit – Brake Discs
You don’t need to upgrade your brake discs. A set of Brembo standard replacement brake discs can withstand anything you can imagine, within reason. Track driving, metallic pads, extreme heat whatever. Just because the brake discs on big brake kits and drilled/grooved, doesn’t mean you need grooved/drilled brake discs.
Reason 5 – Big Brake Kit – Purchase Price.
A big brake is massively expensive, for a modern car you are looking at well over a thousand Euro for a decent brake kit. This is massively more expensive than upgrading the brake fluid and upgrading the brake pads. For a road car, good pads and good fluid is probably all you will ever need.
The engineers of the car were not stupid, but their designs were compromised by the accountants
Reason 6 – Big Brake Kit – Servicing Costs.
Brake pads, depending on the manufacturer of the big brake kit, is not crazy usually, maybe 80% more expensive than a set of performance brake pads. Say a set of performance brake pads for the original caliper cost 150 Euro, a set of brake pads for the calipers in a big brake kit will cost 250 Euro. A big difference but not the end of the world.
The big servicing costs with big brake kits comes when you need to change brake discs. Budget 500-600 Euro for brake discs replacement on a big brake kit. Given that the best quality brake discs you can buy, (Brembo plain discs for example), will cost around 100 Euro or less, the difference in the price is huge, having to fork out 500 Euro on a set of brake discs is no joke.
Realising the potential of the standard brake system will be a huge step up in performance and on most cars, and will give all the stopping power and stopping stamina the driver will ever need on the road.
A big brake kit is not necessary, simply eliminating the cost cutting that was done by the accountants will give you the braking performance the engineers of the car wanted in the first place, which for most of us, will be more than adequate.