What Is a Big Brake Kit?

What Is a Big Brake Kit?

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

As you build your off-roading rig or improve the horsepower of your Mustang, you’ll need to improve your brake system to match. One quick upgrade that adds a lot of stopping power at once is a big brake kit.

A big brake kit is an all inclusive package that increases the overall size of your brakes. Big brake kits increase stopping power, but they also look great.

While some mods are better suited to particular vehicles, pretty much every car can use a big brake kit. Sporty cars, off-roaders, and even daily drivers can benefit from better braking.

What Comes In a Big Brake Kit?

Most big brake kits include larger brake pads and larger rotors. These two items allow the brake to have a significantly larger contact area, which improves friction. The larger area also helps to keep your brakes cool, reducing brake fade and improving braking.

Big brake kits come with other components, as well. Brake calipers and the cables and hardware needed for installation are usually included. While some big brake kits cover all four wheels, most come as front or rear wheel kits only.

All of the individual components of a big brake kit laid out

Besides being larger, most of the brake components are also upgraded over their stock counterparts. The calipers often have more pistons for better performance. The rotors are typically slotted or cross drilled for better heat dissipation. And the brake pads tend to be made for high-performance applications.

The result is a huge increase in braking power.

Do You Need Front and Rear Big Brake Kits?

You can choose to only upgrade your front or rear brakes. Most people upgrade their front wheels if they’re only going to do one set. You will see added benefits from doing all four wheels though.

Can Big Brakes Hurt Performance?

Yes. A big brake kit isn’t for everyone. Some brake kits can add a lot of weight. For drag racers in particular, the added weight makes most big brake kits a bad idea. There are a lot of other ways to improve stopping power for these drivers though. There are also lightweight big brake kits designed for racing applications.

Who Should Get Big Brakes?

Big brakes work well on a wide variety of vehicles, and for all types of driving styles. They work particularly well for the following:

  • Off-roaders, especially those who have added heavy upgrades.
  • Performance builds, especially ones with a 20+ percent horsepower increase.
  • People who just like the look.

Anyone who needs a lot of extra stopping power or who wants their wheels and brakes to stand out can benefit from a big brake kit.

A Jeep off-roading with big brakes and massive wheels

Do You Need Any Other Mods to Install Big Brakes?

Typically, big brake kits need space inside larger wheels. Depending on the size of the wheels, you may also need wheel spacers, caster camber plates, or other modifications.

Installing a big brake kit might require you to change out your brake lines, too.

What Are Some Big Brake Upgrade Alternatives?

If you need more stopping power but don’t have the budget for a big brake kit, there are other ways to improve your brakes. Better brake pads, rotors, or even just bleeding your brakes can improve stopping power at a fraction of the cost.

Are Big Brake Kits Worth It?

Big brake upgrades offer two major benefits: Added friction and better heat dissipation. For most people, the better heat dissipation ends up being enough to justify upgrading to a big brake kit. While stock brakes are often able to provide enough friction (especially with better brake pads), heat makes the brakes useless. The fact that big brake kits give you upgrades in both areas makes them a great choice for most enthusiasts.

Big Brake Pros and Cons
Added stopping power Can be expensive
Better heat dissipation May need bigger wheels
Great appearance Adds weight

When it comes to big brake kits, the pros outweigh the cons for most serious drivers. With lightweight materials, the weight can be managed, and many already plan the switch to bigger wheels. For adding a lot of stopping power quickly, not much can beat a big brake kit!

Newsletter Sign-Up

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.