Do performance brakes really make a difference?


Do performance brakes really make a difference?

Lightweight materials are only part of the equation when it comes to what makes high-performance braking systems superior to factory equipment. The braking system in many mainstream cars is designed, engineered, and built to a price point. With mass production of affordable cars, braking systems are typically built to be good enough for the average driver and to keep costs down. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why high-performance brakes are commonly fitted to pricier, higher-performing vehicles, and why some of these even feature further-upgraded braking system components built from exotic materials and backed by the latest braking system technologies. Are you wondering if performance brakes really make a difference in your vehicle, then you have come to the right place for answers. At Pfaff Tuning, we are experts on aftermarket parts and modifications that include brake systems. In this blog, we share some information about if performance brakes really make a difference. 

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Lightweight matters

Weight is the enemy of fuel economy, handling, and performance, which is why automakers are going to more extreme lengths than ever to make lighter vehicles. Often this involves numerous incremental weight-reduction measures throughout the vehicle. One way to reduce mass is by using a high-performance braking system with aluminum brake calipers. Conventional brake calipers are typically made of iron and steel, which is cheap and durable, but heavy. Aluminum calipers weigh less, saving a few pounds while reducing the vehicle’s unsprung weight, that is, the weight of parts like wheels, axle hubs, and brakes that don’t ride on top of the vehicle’s suspension. This contributes to improved handling response, steering feel, and overall performance.


Many of the world’s fastest cars do away with commonly used cast-iron brake rotors in exchange for something much more exotic. Carbon-ceramic brake rotors have been taking center stage in the most extreme performance braking systems for years; the materials used in their construction have their roots in the worlds of aerospace and motorsports. By making the brake rotors out of this composite blend of lightweight and alluring materials, many benefits are realized: carbon-ceramic brakes are lighter, have a longer service life, are massively resist thermal fatigue and brake fade, and perform far more powerfully and consistently in racetrack and motorsport use.

Cross-drilled or slotted rotors 

Bridging the gap between high-cost carbon-ceramic and made-to-a-price factory equipment rotors are cast iron ones that are slotted or cross-drilled. These specialty rotors are fitted to many performance cars from the factory and lots of quality options are available from leading manufacturers like Brembo. These rotors are characterized by a series of holes (cross-drilled) or straight slashes or slots (slotted) that serve several functions. They provide an escape route for hot air and gasses generated at the surface between the brake pads and brake rotor, and they continually refresh the pad surface, ensuring maximum, consistent clamping force between the two parts.

Sporting brake pads 

Upgraded brake rotors, like those above, are just one of several parts when it comes to a complete high-performance braking system upgrade. With high-quality materials, you get improved thermal resistance and better performance in harsh driving conditions. Brake pads and rotors work in sync for their entire life together, making the selection of the right pad very important. A set of sporting brake pads designed to work with a specific set of upgraded brake rotors is ideal. This combination provides synergistic benefits to performance, stopping power, durability, and resistance to degradation by heat caused by hard-driving or frequent race-track use.

So, do performance brakes really make a difference? It all depends on what type of driver you are and the purpose of having performance brakes installed on your vehicle. For more information about performance brake installation, or about our services, we encourage you to continue browsing through our Pfaff Tuning website. 

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