Thinking about upgrading your brake system? Are you unsure whether to keep your stock brakes or upgrade to performance brakes? If so, we have one question for you:
Did you make any significant power or performance upgrades to your vehicle?
If your answer is yes, then your car most likely needs a big brake kit.
The Correlation Between Performance And Brakes
There’s a general rule among car owners. For every $2 invested in power/performance, you need to invest $1 in brake system upgrades. This is because the more power your car produces, the harder it’ll be to rein your beast in once it’s running at speed. In other words, you need a brake system that can stop your fast car on a dime. Stock brakes are made for your car in its stock form, not when it’s pumped up with performance upgrades.
To upgrade your brakes, you have two options:
- Buy all the individual parts including brake rotors, brake pads, and so on
- Invest in a big brake kit
What Is A Big Brake Kit (BBK)?
A big brake kit is a complete kit that allows you to upgrade your car’s brake system. A quality big brake kit includes all the components you need, including:
- Rotors (or rotor rings and hats)
- Brake pads
- Brake fluid
- Brake lines
Big brake kits are usually for serious high-performance needs, including:
- Full-on racing
- Street performance
- Any other vehicles that need to go and stop on a dime
Many premier brake manufacturers such as StopTech, EBC, Brembo, and others offer quality big brake kits. Read this post for more information about what big brake kits are. The rotor and caliper in a big brake kit are bigger than what came with the stock brakes. This means they can help your high performance vehicle stop in an instant.
How Do Big Brakes Stop Your Car Better Than Stock Brakes?
Big brakes improve performance by increasing the swept area of the brake rotor. This increases the amount of “stopping power” the brake system has.
In layman’s terms, the brake rotors and pads are bigger. That means the pads have more surface area to grab onto. To understand this better, rub your index finger and thumb on your arm. You’re creating friction, but not enough to stop your fingers from moving across your arm. Now, wrap your whole hand around your arm. Is it harder to rub your arm now? It’s because you’re grabbing onto a much bigger surface area. This creates more friction.
What’s In A Big Brake Kit?
Big brake kit manufacturers understand the need to be cost-effective. This is why many of the kits come with minimal packaging. It only matters what’s inside. A good big brake kit contains beefier components. This includes larger diameter rotors and supporting components you could apply to both axles. It will contain everything you need to fully upgrade your brake system.
For example, look at this StopTech BBK Touring kit. It’s a complete kit that contains everything you need, including:
- Sport rotors
- Performance pads
- Stainless steel brake lines
There are many different types of big brake kits out there. It’s because there are so many different upgrades, add-ons, and options available. For example, some big brake kits include calipers with extra pistons. Some include cross-drilled rotors and/or slotted rotors. Some include stainless steel brake lines. And so on. Let’s talk about some of the most common upgrades and add-ons:
- Calipers with extra pistons: This creates more force against the rotors. That means extra stopping power. It’s very useful for race cars or other high-performance vehicles.
- Cross-drilled rotors: This allows heat to escape better. It also creates more grip, which comes in useful in a wet climate. It also stops the brake pads from glazing.
- Slotted rotors: Like cross drilled rotors, slotted rotors allow hot gases and brake dust to escape more easily. They are also good at shedding water.
- Stainless steel brake lines: This is a huge upgrade from rubber brake lines. They ensure that your brake pedal stays firm and responsive. Stainless steel lasts much longer than rubber, and it doesn’t expand. Rubber brake lines expand when the brake fluid gets hot. This creates a soft feeling brake pedal, and reduces the responsiveness of the braking system.
How Typical Big Brake Kits Are Applied In Various Performance Segments
Big brake kits suit serious performance requirements. Here are the three primary segments that apply:
1. Street Performance
This applies to high performance daily drivers, customized show car builds, and everything in between. This type of kit is made for many brands of vehicles, including:
The components in a big brake kit for street performance usually include:
- 4-6 piston caliper designs
- Larger pads using more exotic materials
- Larger-diameter rotors
- Kit fittings such as heavy-duty lines, rotor rings, and a requirement for high temperature brake fluid
- Standard suspension mounts and fittings (this allows for increased stopping power while not having to alter related core suspension geometries)
2. Factory-Based And/Or Spec-Racing Divisions
Big brake kits are available for popular spec-racing applications including:
- Street racing
- Alternative events such as SCCA amateur and Pro Solo competitions
These systems offer similar kit contents as street-performance packages. This includes a need for high quality brake fluid.
3. Purpose-Built Racing Divisions
This is the top of the pyramid. All the components are top-of-the-line and specialized for particular types of racing competitions. Some of these competitions include:
- IMSA class
- SCCA class
- FIA class
- NASCAR divisional series
- NHRA divisional series
- IHRA divisional series
- WoO divisional series
- SCORE divisional series
To ensure you’re on the right track (see what we did there?), discuss your braking needs with an expert third-party brake provider. In that case, we’re just the guys to talk to. Let us know if you have any technical needs required by the ACCUS, FIA and/or SCCA rulebooks.
Can’t Afford A Big Brake Kit, Or Can’t Find A Big Brake Kit For Your Car?
You can still improve your car’s brake system by investing in individual parts. To be more specific:
- Performance pads that provide a more aggressive bite than stock pads
- Performance rotors with performance pads
- Stainless steel brake lines (that won’t expand and compromise the vehicle’s stopping power)
You always want better brake pads. That’s the best way to get your brake system to accommodate the extra power to your car. Stock pads are designed to last as long as possible, not stop as well as possible. You should buy performance pads before anything else. You can look into kits that only contain performance rotors and pads. You might be surprised by how affordable they are. For example, take a look at this StopTech brake kit. It has:
- Quality drilled and slotted rotors
- Low-dust aggressive brake pads
This rotors and pads in this kit are matched to provide better braking that stock. The kit starts at only $83. The price may go up a bit, depending on your model.
Remember To Keep The Balance
To cut down on costs, many people have tried to upgrade the brakes on only one axle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. That creates a problem with imbalanced braking power, and can be very unsafe. You don’t want to find yourself sliding off the road to save a few bucks. If you’re going to upgrade to big brakes, be sure to do it on both axles.
Do you have any questions about our big brake kits? Give us a call at 888-257-7149 or a text at 702-903-1713! We’ll be happy to help you out.