Why install "Big Brakes"? - Frequently Asked Questions

Performance Brakes LTD

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Aug 17, 2017
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17 Civic
New to big brake kits? Here is an opportunity to learn more about them. We look forward to updating this list over time. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Q: How much better is braking going to be if I use a big brake kit over stock?

A: Most modern stock brake systems work well for average daily street driving and an occasional 60-0 or 80-0 stopping. Typically performance enthusiasts who occasionally compete in racing events, push the stock brake system beyond its capabilities. Driving style, and other performance modifications such as increased horsepower, tire and suspension upgrades, etc., can quickly overwhelm stock brakes. A big brake kit will provide increased heat capacity, which means substantially more resistance to brake fade and caliper distortion with multiple stops from high speed. A firmer pedal due to stronger and stiffer components, as well as better modulation characteristics are also benefits of a properly balanced brake upgrade.

Q: What is the difference between fixed and floating (most OEM type) calipers?

A: The primary difference between a fixed or floating caliper is in the mounting design. Fixed calipers are solidly mounted to the spindle or bracket, and floating calipers float on a pin that is attached to the spindle. Fixed calipers have opposing inner and outer pistons. Floating calipers have only inner pistons and rely on outer pad carrier movement to apply pressure to the outer pad. Floating calipers tend to be more forgiving to OE manufacturing tolerances hence they are used on the vast majority of production cars. On the other hand, fixed mount calipers that transfer PSI within the caliper into braking performance with a much higher efficiency are typically used on high-performance cars and for vehicles exclusively employed in racing for that purpose.

Q: Can a car manufacturer deny me a warranty claim because I upgraded to an aftermarket brake

Information provided in this FAQ was provided by SEMA and can be found on their website under “Federal Warranty Laws.” You can also Google “The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C).”

This federal law regulates warranties for the protection of consumers. The essence of this law concerning aftermarket auto parts is that a vehicle manufacturer may not condition a written or implied warranty on consumers using parts or services, which are identified by brand, trade or corporate name (such as the vehicle makers brand) unless the parts or service are provided free of charge. The law means that the use of an aftermarket part alone is not cause for denying the warranty. However, the law's protection does not extend to aftermarket parts in situations where such parts actually caused the damage being claimed under the warranty. Further, consumers are advised to be aware of any specific terms or conditions stated in the warranty, which may result in its being voided. The law states in relevant part:

“No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumers using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name....” (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)).

Q: What's the difference between slotted and drilled/slotted rotors? Which rotor will be best for my application?

A: Slots or grooves in rotor faces are partly a carryover from the days of asbestos pads. Asbestos and other organic pads were prone to “glazing” and the slots tended to help “scrape or de-glaze” them. Also, cross-drilling and/or slotting the rotor for racing purposes was beneficial by providing a way to expel the gasses created when the bonding agents employed to manufacture the pads began to break down at extreme temperatures. This condition is often referred to as “outgassing.” When it does occur, the driver still has a good firm brake pedal, but a significant reduction in friction. Normally this only happens at temperatures witnessed in racing. However, with today’s race pad technology, “outgassing” is no longer a concern with pads designed for racing.

So in the final analysis, drilling and slotting rotors has become popular in street applications for their pure aesthetic value. Wilwood provides rotors slotted, drilled or plain. For most performance applications, slotted is the preferred choice. With certain pad material, slotting can help wipe away debris from between the pad and rotor as well as increasing the coefficient of friction between the rotor and the pad. A drilled rotor provides the same type of benefit, but is more susceptible to cracking under severe usage; however, for street and occasional light duty track use, they will work fine. For more severe applications, we recommend slotted rotors.