Drivers ‘ awareness of the technical condition of the car and the condition of key elements is growing from year to year.except in extreme cases, it is difficult to meet a car in very poor technical condition. Moreover, many drivers choose more or less serious modifications of their cars. Does it make sense to invest in the brake system and in particular in tuning brake discs?
Many drivers more or less strive to improve their car or at least maintain it in proper condition by replacing elements that are subject to natural wear and tear during operation. While the vast majority put them in the hands of a mechanic, who simply change the element to a new one using the same model from the same manufacturer, some try to improve something when replacing it. For the braking system, we have a very large selection, and any change, if it is thought out and performed professionally, can improve the quality of braking.
The best way is to change the entire brake system to a more powerful one, with larger brake discs, solid calipers, but if someone does not have such ambitions or simply does not want to invest such amounts, they can improve the standard version. This may be the best brake pad, metal-braided brake hoses, or custom brake discs, such as those with slits or holes.
Tuning brake discs what is it?
Tuning brake discs are not unusual. Solutions of this type are available for almost all popular car models and it does not matter whether it is a sports version, a civilian version, or a large and strong coupe, or a compact, family or city car. Almost everyone can choose an alternative solution without any alterations, modifications or complex actions.
Tuning discs have the same diameter, width, and hole spacing as their standard counterparts, but are made from different materials and using slightly different methods. But naturally, they offer more opportunities.
As for what you see at first glance, it can be special cuts or holes in the disk, as well as a mixed solution, i.e. a combination of holes with incisions. Usually such solutions are associated with sports cars, so does it make sense to install such disks in a family or city car?
According to Krzysztof Dandella, an expert in the Rotinger brake systems Department: “brake discs with grooves and holes are installed primarily in sports cars and cars with a large mass and power, but you can easily install them in other cars as well. Holes and notches on the working surface of the disc are designed primarily to improve braking performance. Logically, this is a desirable feature in any vehicle. Of course, you should also consider our driving style. If it is dynamic and capable of heavily loading the brake system, then installing disks of this type makes sense. At the same time, It is worth remembering to choose the right pads for this and take care of high-quality brake fluid.”
what are the notches and holes for?
Brake discs with notches and holes look interesting, they attract attention, especially in an inconspicuous car, which, as a rule, should be calm and slow. The appearance is aesthetic, but these modifications are for something and perform not only the role of decoration. “The notches on the disc are designed to remove gases and dust generated by the friction of the pad on the disc. Drilling operations perform the same function, but have the added advantage that such a disk cools down faster. If the brakes have a high thermal load, for example, when braking repeatedly on the descent, the disc should return to normal faster” – believes Dandello.
We already know that notches and drills enrich the wheel’s aesthetic and – under certain conditions-improve braking performance. The differences should be felt in each car model, of course, provided that the other components are fully functional, and with the replacement of the disks, we also replaced the pads with those that work properly with these disks. According to Krzysztof Dandeli: “for a tuning disc, you should choose a brake pad made of a soft or medium abrasive mixture. We should do the same with pre-drilled disks.»
At this point, there may be doubts related to the recommendation of selecting soft pads, which in combination with notches and holes can be consumed faster and, consequently, create more dust while polluting the wheel. The conclusion is simple – either good braking and wear and dusty wheels, or-standard wheels, ceramic pads and clean wheels. That’s the theory. And how does this work in practice? I decided to check it out on my own experience.
Disks tuning decided to install on your own vehicle, i.e. Saab 9-3 2005 engine 1.9 TiD 150 HP Is quite a heavy machine (1570 kg), equipped with standard braking system i.e. front ventilated discs with a diameter of 285 mm and lightweight rear wheels with a diameter of 278 mm.
On both axles, I installed Rotinger Graphite Line tuning wheels, that is, a special anti-corrosion coating that not only improves the appearance of the wheels, but also limits the formation of a rusty, little aesthetic plaque. Of course, the coating from the working part of the disk will be removed during the first few braking sessions, but it will remain on the remaining part and will perform a protective function. I connected the wheels to a set of new standard TRW brake pads. These are fairly soft pads recommended by Rotinger, along with the ATE or Textar models.
First kilometers after Assembly
Tuning discs replaced standard brake discs of the same diameter. I decided, like most drivers, to stay with the standard diameter and calipers, but with the hope of improving the braking parameters. The first kilometers were quite nervous, because a new set of disks and pads should come rolling – this is a normal process that these elements are subjected to for several tens of kilometers.
After driving about 200 kilometers in urban conditions, where I often braked at low speeds, I could feel the already fairly stable braking force. Meanwhile, I noticed that the brakes were working a little louder. Until the pads were worn down and the disks lost their protective shell, the sounds were clearly audible. After several tens of kilometers of driving, everything calmed down to an acceptable level.
Mileage approx. 1000 kilometers
The first few hundred kilometers around the city over longer distances allowed me to feel the results and draw preliminary conclusions. While at the beginning, during the process of lapping the wheels and pads, I didn’t feel much difference, except for more abrupt braking, but after 500-600 kilometers, covered about 50/50 on the city/highway, my satisfaction grew.
Mileage up to approx. 2000 kilometers
A much better pedal response to force even when gently pressed and several emergency brakes in various conditions showed the maximum advantage of the entire system – the braking force. True, I base the entire test on my subjective feelings, but powerful braking on the track to zero is diametrically different. The old set at the maximum pressure on the brake at the end as if released – it was probably the effect of overheating. With new brakes, this effect does not occur.
Mileage approx. 5000 kilometers
The subsequent kilometers and intense braking at high speeds reinforced my belief that this kit is much more effective than the standard one. Only on long descents from hills in mountainous terrain did the brakes give in, but in such conditions any system can show fatigue. For a moment, there were disturbing, palpable under the finger, but not too deep furrows on the disks, indicating that the pad was not too smooth. Fortunately, this was temporary, perhaps due to the long load on the system during long descents, and after visiting the service station, it turned out that the pads wear evenly about 10 percent of the wear.
Meanwhile, there was an annoying thud when braking from behind. At first I thought it was a Shoe, but it turned out that one of the calipers stuck the brake cylinder. Well, no luck. You can’t fool your age.
Currently, the mileage on the new set is approaching 7,000 kilometers, and apart from slightly increased dust and the brief appearance of furrows on the front wheels, there were no serious problems. I am of the opinion that brakes are much more efficient than standard ones. It also looks much better. Of course, no wheels suitable for everyday use can replace the larger diameter or larger calipers, but this is really a great way to improve the braking system in a simple and inexpensive way. At the same time, you should be guided by the choice of reputable manufacturers who guarantee that their products meet the highest quality standards.
Is it worth investing? Yes. Would I make the same choice a second time? Strongly. This is probably the easiest way to organize the entire system, obviously bypassing regular diagnostics and keeping everything in perfect condition. If the calipers are fully functional, and the system has fresh brake fluid, brake pads and discs are replaced with drilled or drilled ones, this can dramatically affect the improvement of braking. Of course, there are some disadvantages that I mentioned and experienced myself, but the confidence that I can rely on the braking system and the feeling of complete control is worth it. Especially since this is not a pocket investment, and the price of the discs I tested was slightly more than the price of standard brake discs intended for my car model.