Do you want to take your car out for a track day at a local circuit? Perhaps you’re a car enthusiast who loves to modify their ride. Depending on your vehicle and driving style, there are a few things to consider when pondering the question, “Is it worth it to install performance brakes in your car?”
When To Replace Your Stock Brakes?
If you are only using your car on the street, the only reason you’ll likely ever need to upgrade your brakes is if they’ve worn down. OEM brakes are typically reliable and well-made parts. Standard brake pads can last between around 30,000 and 50,000 miles, while a rotor can last approximately 70,000 miles. As your brakes age and start to show signs of wear, it’s time to replace them; you’ll have to choose between switching them out for other stock parts or upgrading to a performance system.
Why To Get an Upgrade?
However, there are a few signals that a car’s OEM brakes may not be serviceable. If your brakes are regularly overheating, this is a sign that they don’t have enough power to support your car. When they overheat, the brakes will make a distinctive smell. Some describe the scent like that of a burning carpet. Also, if your pads or rotors are wearing down significantly faster than is standard, this could mean you are due for an upgrade.
Another reason to upgrade to performance brakes is if you’ve made other modifications to the car. Once a car’s engine power increases by 20 percent, you should adjust the brakes to accommodate the newfound speed.
Lastly, if you ever take your car out to the track, you’ll need performance brakes to handle the high temperatures and stresses of racing. OEM pads are sure to be shot by the end of the day on a track, making you lose control when cornering.
Why Not Get an Upgrade?
The biggest concern that car owners have when it comes to aftermarket parts is the cost. Replacing your entire braking system with stock parts is a cheaper option than performance parts, and the OEM pads and rotors will typically last longer than under normal conditions. So, if you don’t have a performance vehicle, you most likely won’t need big brakes to match.
Also, if the car you’re looking to upgrade is your daily driver, you’ll want to be careful about the type of pads you get. Performance pads are designed to work best at high temperatures, so many of them won’t be effective when cold. Just like a race car, you’ll have to warm them up a few hundred degrees before they are fully functional. For commuters, this can make the majority of brake pads too impractical of a modification.
As you can see, the most significant factor in deciding whether it is worth it to install performance brakes in your car is your individual situation. Every driver and car is different, but hopefully, you now have information to make an informed decision on if this modification is worth it.