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Upgraded Big Brake Kits (Advantages & Disadvantages)

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  • 4 min read

Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 12:41 am

A big brake kit usually comprises of larger brake discs, larger brake calipers, larger brake pads, and braided brake lines. Usually the materials used for each of these items are better.

There are many benefits for installing big brake kits, there are also some drawbacks and things you should be aware of too.

What Is a Big Brake Kit?

A big brake kit (BBK) is an aftermarket upgrade designed to enhance a vehicle’s braking performance by replacing the factory-installed braking components with larger, more capable ones.

Standard brakes on many vehicles are often not sufficient for high-performance or heavy-duty applications, where additional stopping power and heat dissipation are required.

The components included an upgraded big brake kit generally include:

  • Larger brake rotors with higher quality material
  • Larger brake calipers with larger and/or more pistons
  • Larger better quality brake pads
  • Braided brake hose lines
  • Performance brake fluid
big brake kit

Larger diameter brake rotors offer a greater surface area for the brake pads to grip onto, calipers with more and/or larger pistons apply additional clamping force to the brake pads.

These upgraded calipers are usually designed to accommodate bigger brake pads, that have a larger surface area, improving the contact with the rotor.

Additionally, the big brake kits often come with high-performance brake pads that are made of materials capable of withstanding higher temperatures without fading.

Furthermore, braided stainless steel brake lines and performance brake fluid may also be included to reduce the flex in the brake lines, providing a firmer pedal feel.

By improving heat dissipation and increasing the clamping force and friction, a big brake kit can significantly reduce stopping distances and provide more consistent braking performance.

This is especially important under demanding conditions such as racing or towing.

Advantages of Bigger Brakes

The major benefits to a brake kit include the following.

  • Enhanced stopping power
  • Reduced brake fade
  • Better aesthetics
  • More durable and better for hard use

1. Enhanced Stopping Power

Due to the increased surface area provided by the larger brake discs and calipers pushing a larger brake pad, there is more stopping power as a result.

Also the material of the brake pads and discs may enhance friction and braking power even further.

2. Reduced Brake Fade

Brake fade is a condition caused by overheating of the brakes, reducing their effectiveness and even causing brake failure.

Larger discs can better absorb and transfer the heat generated from braking, reducing the likelihood of the brakes fading.

Also, some big brake kits can work at higher temperatures, usually due to better materials within the brake disc and pads.

3. Better Aesthetics

Usually a big brake kit will look much better than standard OEM brakes, the calipers are typically painted and the discs look better.

Although this is personal preference, the majority of people agree that big brakes look better.

4. More Durable & Better for Hard Use

Typically, big brake kits are more durable and able to be used much harder than OEM setups. Braided brake lines can prevent bulging of the brake lines under hard braking and allow for harder usage.

Larger brake pads and discs also tend to last longer than smaller ones, due to their increased surface area.

Disadvantages of Bigger Brakes

There are some cons to bug brake kits, the following are the most notable.

  • Increased weight
  • Possible brake squeaking
  • Increased rotating mass
  • High cost

1. Increased Weight

Big brake kits are typically heavier than OEM setups, resulting in an increase in overall weight of the car. This increased weight can cause reduced acceleration.

2. Possible Brake Squeaking

Ever heard a car with squeaky brakes? The same thing can happen on cars with big brake kits, this can be due to different pad or disc material.

Sometimes the brakes need to get some heat into them to stop squeaking.

3. Increased Rotating Mass

As mentioned, big brakes are heavier than standard OEM brakes. Because it is rotating mass instead of sprung or unsprung mass, it has a significant effect on the way the car handles and performs.

Rotating mass is directly connected to the engine, meaning it takes more energy to spin something heavier and can reduce acceleration.

An example of this is a heavier flywheel, clutch, wheels, and brakes.

4. High Cost

Some people can’t justify spending lots of money on big brake kits. They are expensive, sometimes costing multiple thousands.

However, if you drive your card hard or on track days, it is a very good idea to get bigger brakes.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer. He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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