All about brakes

Why upgrade my brakes? You may feel the factory fitted brakes lack 'bite' and feel for your type of driving. Some drivers prefer to use the brakes more and not rely on regen to slow the car in all situations. With heavier cars especially, such as the Model S and X, uprated braking components will provide more consistency, less chance of fading and increased driver confidence. If you tow with your Tesla or carry heavy loads regularly, the additional weight puts more stress on the braking system, so upgrading to better brakes makes a lot of sense.

Track driving is an activity more Tesla owners are discovering. The Model 3 in particular can be a very rewarding car to drive on track, but even Model 3 Performance brakes are not quite up to the task. Tevo offers several options, depending on the type of track you want to visit and your experience level. Contact us if you have any specific questions about preparing your car for the track or want some advice on the best braking solution for your requirements.

What are the options? The easiest and cheapest upgrade is to replace your front brake pads with better ones. Most of the braking effort is through the front axle, so usually the factory rear pads can be left as they are. 

If front pads alone aren't enough (because you're taking the car on track, for instance) then you need to consider specific track-rated pads front and rear and maybe even larger discs. Thankfully, Tevo has researched and tested all the options and can offer solutions tailored to your budget and application.

Which brake pad is best for me? We offer a selection of road and track pads for all Tesla models. Here's a brief summary.  Visit the braking product pages for more information.

  • Brembo HP2000 - A sport road pad. Suitable for light track use. R90 Approved.
  • PFC Z-Rated - A fast road/track pad. More suitable for track use than the HP2000.
  • RB XT970 - A track pad which is also suitable for daily road use.
  • Carbotech XP10 - A track pad also suitable for the road. More fade resistance than XT970.

How easy are they to install? If you are used to working on cars, Teslas are no different when it comes to the brakes. No special tools are required other than a pad spreader and perhaps an EPB service cable if you're changing the rear pads. 

The calipers on the Model 3 Performance need to be removed to service the pads, but on all other models it's just a case of tapping out a couple of pins, pushing the pistons back and swapping the pads. If you would rather get the job done for you, any garage should be capable. If you need to find an EV- friendly garage, try searching the HEVRA network: 

Do I need to change my discs at the same time? As long as they are still relatively new and in good condition with no deep scoring, cracking or corrosion there should be no need to renew the discs (rotors) at the same time as swapping to new pads. It is very important however to properly bed new pads to the rotors after fitting. To prevent premature wear, overheating and poor efficiency, the new pads need some time to fully contact the rotors across their full width. 

For steel disc brakes to work properly, a layer of pad material needs to be transferred to the surface of the rotor. This is achieved by following the manufacturer's bedding instructions included with each new set of brake pads.

Will uprated pads squeal or rattle? Some uprated brake pads, particularly track pads, can be very noisy (squealing) on conventional cars, but we haven't found this to be the case after several months of testing on and off track with the Model 3. We've had similar feedback from our customers using our track pads with their Model 3s. This is largely thanks to regen and we recommend setting regen to 'standard' and using 'hold' mode on the road for this reason.

Some pads we sell (such as the RB and Carbotech M3P rear pads) are not made with the OE retaining springs built-in, so can rattle somewhat. A small amount of Disc Brake Quiet or similar applied to the back of the outer rear pad will usually solve this problem and it can also be used to prevent any squeal. 

Apart from brake pads, what else should I consider upgrading? For road use, probably nothing more is needed. If you want to take your car on track, we suggest the following (in order of importance):

What is ECE R90? European legislation ECE R90 controls the quality of replacement brake pads and discs fitted to vehicles first used after 1st Sept 1999. It was designed to prevent cheap, poor quality parts from compromising the safety of our vehicles. In practise, there is nothing stopping you from fitting a much better brake pad to your car even if it hasn't been through the R90 approval process. 

We stock R90 approved pads (Brembo HP2000), so you have a choice, but be assured that every brake component we sell is of the highest quality, sourced from reputable manufacturers that have been doing this for a long time. Tevo would never compromise quality or safety with anything we promote or sell.

Contact us if you have any questions on this or any other braking topic.

You may find answers to other questions you have in our FAQ