You’ve probably heard the joke about how speed isn’t dangerous — it’s the sudden stopping that hurts.
It goes without saying that good brakes are an essential element of a safe, fun-to-drive high-performance car. Whether you like to race or just drive around town, Borelli Motor Sports’ technicians are professionals at helping you choose the right pads and fluids for your vehicle or installing a brake upgrade kit that’s ideally suited to your driving habits.
Getting an “A” in Braking 101
As you probably know, your brakes work by pressing a friction pad against a disc. The harder you depress the brake pedal, the more this force is transmitted by a servo to your car’s brakes.
When you brake your car, the brake pads and fluid can get very hot. Under normal driving conditions, this heat is rapidly dissipated. But under high-performance demands, the disc, pads and brake fluid can get increasingly hot.
Brake fluid also has an annoying habit of attracting water vapor, which can boil and make the fluid less effective at transferring your touch of the pedal to the brakes. Your brakes can begin to feel “spongy” or worse — they can progressively fade until they won’t respond at all.
Graduating to More Advanced Braking
There are a number of ways that you can up-rate your car’s braking system. A lot of drivers consider fitting bigger discs, which provide a larger friction area that will dissipate heat buildup faster. Drivers also sometimes find they can more easily sense the point of lockup before they actually lock their brakes in a hard braking situation.
Brake calipers, pistons and pads can also be improved. Having more pistons and stronger calipers enables you to exert a greater clamping force between the pad and disc. The proper brake fluid, such as Motul DOT 5.1, is also very important. And an appropriate break-in period after any upgrade is required.
Many drivers request so-called “track” brakes. A number of these pads rely on braided steel lines, which encase a soft brake line in a mesh of braided metal. This protects the softer lines and reduces swelling, which also translates to a firmer pedal feel.
But it’s critical to note that true track brake pads — designed to function only at relatively hot temperatures — should never be used under everyday driving conditions, where your brakes are often asked to perform when “cold.” In addition, because you can’t visually inspect the lines for corrosion or leaks, it’s critical that you have an experienced mechanic do the inspection for you before every trip to the track. It’s also essential to use the proper mounting kits any time you install new brake lines on your car.
Borelli Motor Sports is your headquarters for any work you need related to your car’s brakes. Our mechanics’ and technicians’ experience maintaining all kinds of high-performance street and race cars ensures that we can install the right system for your driving needs and keep you safe.
Isn’t it time you stopped to have a professional inspection of your vehicle’s brakes? For more information about brakes or to make an appointment to have your car inspected, e-mail Addison Lee, General Manager, or call him at (408) 770-1220.