4WD: Put brakes on heat dangers
Thermal markings turn white, recording disc temperature for maintenance or replacement. Picture: DBA

We outlay plenty of money buying a four-wheel-drive; more again for a suspension upgrade to carry heavy camping gear and then tune the engine and exhaust for better performance.

But after increasing power and adding considerable load, our stock-standard brakes are being pushed to the edge of their capability. Brake fade occurs if you exceed operating limits; no matter how hard you plant both feet on the pedal, you lose the ability to generate braking friction. Boiling brake fluid vapour locks and you'll have little, if any, pedal response.

Under normal conditions, standard components successfully dissipate generated heat. Heavy or continuous braking sees temperatures approaching 400C in extremes and components can glow like a stovetop element.

That tremendous heat has to be dissipated by air movement passing over the surface of the braking components. A bigger surface area with more air passed over it has greater brake-cooling efficiency. Original Equipment Manufacturer ventilated rotors with smooth flat sides adequately deal with the daily grind of stop-start motoring.

At very high temperatures, dust and gases caused by the bonding agents used in some friction materials may build up between the disc pad and rotor surface, impeding the amount of friction that is being generated.

Replacing serviceable rotors seems costly; upgrading when replacements are needed is easy to justify. Disc Brakes Australia specialises in high-grade braking components for 4WDs and performance vehicles. While you may have a 4WD and not a race car, wouldn't you be happier when loaded to the gunwales with gear, four kids and the dinghy in tow, knowing your brakes are up to the task and the brake pedal isn't going to fade to mush when you need it most?

With 30 years of experience and many awards for engineering excellence, DBA spends big on R&D programs, developing the best materials and designs to ensure you and your brakes keep cool under pressure. DBA's 4x4 Survival Series T2 and T3 slotted rotors remove gas build-up under the disc pad and restore full contact with the disc pad surface. The action of the slots helps deglaze and even out wear across the brake pad - benefiting rotor longevity - while dispersing water and contaminants from the pads.

Instead of conventional, straight cooling vanes, DBA's patented Kangaroo Paw cooling system uses 144 diamond and teardrop pillars for increased surface area. The result is a stronger rotor, better supported between the friction faces. It has improved resistance to ballooning or swelling under extreme conditions, with a significant 20 per cent increase in brake-cooling efficiency.

After tackling 17 per cent gradient descents with heavy trailer in tow, I needed no further justification for buying a DBA rotor upgrade and the peace of mind of the safety benefits.

Visit dba.com.au to find out what it can do for your vehicle's anchors. Remember, only a qualified professional should work on your braking system, and make sure upgrades don't adversely affect your insurance. Finding out you're not covered after the crash can be as shocking as the accident.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West