Top five brake upgrades you can do to your vehicle

Brakes are an important part of every vehicle. It helps you stop on the road as well as avoid any accidents that may occur. However, a lot of people overlook the importance of this, especially for owners with modified and/or aging vehicles.

While maintaining your braking system is important, here are a few things that you can consider if you’re looking to improve the feeling of your car’s braking system and its overall performance and consistency. 

Brake pads and calipers

Brake pads are among the most crucial-of-crucial components in a braking system. They create friction between the rotor and caliper to help slow and stop your vehicle. Over time, the brake pads will also need replacing, and the last thing you would want is direct metal-to-metal contact with a worn-out brake pad and the rotor. While most OEM brake pads are more than sufficient for your day-to-day use, those with upgraded vehicles—whether more powerful due to engine upgrades or added weight brought on by various accessories such as steel bumpers—should consider upgrading to more aggressive brake pads with higher temperature tolerances for more reliable and consistent braking performance.

Brake rotor

Next up are the rotors. This is where the brake pads clamp onto to convert kinetic energy into friction and head to help stop your vehicle. These are also wearable items that should be replaced, especially when you feel vibrations and judders when braking at high speeds. Upgraded vehicles can also benefit from an upgraded rotor with better materials to help dissipate heat transfer better. A word of warning, however, brake rotors with cross-drilled and or slotted designs do not always translate to better braking performance. For this piece of the puzzle, there are certain things that you have to consider, such as parts compatibility. Getting a racing-spec brake rotor and pairing it with a street brake pad might not produce the desired outcome—which is more consistent stopping power over a long and drawn-out drive. As such, it’s important to pair your brake upgrades together to get the best possible performance benefit. 

Brake fluid

The brake fluid is the liquid chemical solution used to amplify your foot’s force from the brake pedal to create pressure on your vehicle’s brakes. Should the heat in your brakes cause the fluid to reach its boiling point, it will be vaporized into a gas and cause brake fade, which is very dangerous—especially for high-performance driving and/or heavy vehicles. Upgraded pads and rotors are useless if the brake fluid isn’t uprated with higher boiling points, so do keep that in mind.

However, you also have to consider what kind of brake fluid you are using. It’s recommended that you get high-quality DOT4 brake fluid if you are looking for an upgrade. Otherwise, new brake fluid is better than old, heat-cycled, and worn-out fluid. For more specialized fluids, make sure to consult your owner's manual to see if your car’s system is designed to accommodate such fluids as DOT5 and DOT 5.1. 

brake lines

Brake fluid stored in the master cylinder is transferred to the brake calipers via the brake lines when your foot pushes the brake pedal. This pressure then forces the calipers to clamp down on the rotors to slow and stop the vehicle. Most modern vehicles have brake lines that are designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle, but for those that want peace of mind as well as consistency and reliability, upgraded stainless steel brake lines can help avoid leakage and brittleness found mostly on stock rubber brake lines.


Often overlooked, tires are the only contact patch between the vehicle and the road. You can have the best braking system in the world, but if your tires can only generate so much grip, you can quickly reach its threshold and activate the Anti-Lock braking system (ABS) very quickly, or for vehicles with no ABS, lock your brakes. An upgraded higher-performance tire can help mitigate that threshold, and go hand in hand with your whole braking system to help slow and stop your car consistently every time.

All that being said, it is still best to drive your vehicle within its designed capabilities, and brake components should be upgraded accordingly depending on your demands and vehicle performance.

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