Replacing your brake pads is one thing, but sometimes, you need more. Rotors wear out, and maybe your calipers could stand an upgrade. Fortunately, you have a wide range of options. Shopping brakes for cars isn’t rocket science, but you do need to keep a few things in mind. In this brief guide, you’ll learn five things that can help you track down the best brake kit for your vehicle.
Your Driving Habits
You’ll find many types of brake pads on the market. While shopping, you want to remember one key thing: The heat and friction generated when you press your brake pedal. As your driving becomes more intense — think racetracks or descending steep inclines — your brakes can become hotter. That heat causes your pads to wear out faster. Commuter driving doesn’t put as much stress on your pads and rotors, but if you do more than commuting, you may benefit from a performance brake kit.
Brake Pad Quality
Organic pads are inexpensive and produce less dust, and they’re best for regular commuter vehicles. Semi-metallic pads are also common. Carbon-fiber ceramic pads withstand the most heat, produce the least amount of dust and provide superb stopping power.
Brake Rotor Lifespan
Of course, your brake pads aren’t the only important components. Your rotors must also be in good condition to ensure safe, consistent stopping. You don’t always have to change your rotors with your pads, but stock rotors may have shorter lifespans than superior-grade aftermarket versions. That’s why performance brakes include sturdier rotors, often coated with anti-corrosion plating for longer life.
A caliper is a caliper is a caliper, right? Not necessarily. We may not think about calipers a lot, but they play an important part in your vehicle’s stopping power. Many performance brake kits contain replacement calipers. For instance, the calipers in Power Stop Z23 evolution brake kits sport an electrostatic powder coating to resist high heat and corrosion. They’re also pressure-tested to ensure smooth operation with every push of your brake pedal.
So, you’ve picked a brake kit that matches your vehicle and needs. You’re done shopping, right? Not quite. Unless you’ve already DIYed a brake job, you’re going to need installation tools. Experts recommend wearing eye protection and gloves during the installation. At the very least, you should have a jack, jack stands and wheel chocks plus a caliper piston compressor or C-clamp. You may also need brake fluid and brake component lube. After swapping your rotors, pads and calipers, you must bleed the brakes to let out any air.
As you now see, brake jobs don’t need to be complicated. Your first step is choosing the best brake kit based on your driving needs. You’ll also need to have the proper tools and follow correct installation instructions. No matter what kind of kit you purchase, shopping at a reputable dealer leads to a positive buying experience. Choose an auto parts retailer that offers a wide range of brake kit options, including high-quality performance kits.