Summer brake problems, 7 suggestions to avoid unwelcome surprises


 Let's take a look at some precautions you can take before you leave for vacation and others to use in situations often encountered during the summer months so that you don't have any problems with your car's braking system


Summer is upon us and many of you are heading out on long road trips to reach vacation spots or visit family. ​

​A pleasant trip, however, can quickly turn into a nightmare if your car breaks down or you have an accident. Many unwelcome surprises like these are unforeseeable, but just as many can be avoided, especially when it comes to the brakes and even more so if you follow these seven steps.​





The first and most important suggestion is to have a Brembo Expert mechanic do a preventive checkup of the car, which is common practice for most people planning a trip that will cover 600 miles or more. Brembo provides its Expert mechanics with periodic technical training to ensure they are qualified to check the brake fluid level and to assess pad and disc thickness, plus any grooves there might be.​

The loss of brake fluid is caused by its tendency to absorb moisture then convert it into water vapor. The presence of even the smallest amount of water affects the length of pedal travel, causing a loss of performance and prompt braking action. This is why the brake fluid has to be replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions, which will vary depending on the product being used. In general, we suggest replacing it every 2 to 3 years.​​



Immediately after the discs and pads have been replaced, they function but are not yet perfectly operational. A short break-in period (about 185 miles) is needed and during this time, braking should be short and gentle so that the pad surfaces can align correctly as they come into contact with the disc.​

Excessive and aggressive braking right after a component has been replaced may cause the pad and/or disc friction material to overheat. That would compromise brake system integrity and performance.​




When driving on mountain roads, especially going downhill, it is important to adapt your driving style. When you come down a mountain road with your foot always (or almost always) on the brake pedal, the braking system is subjected to much more thermal stress than the manufacturer anticipated. Certain use conditions, like driving down a steep alpine pass, cause the disc temperature to go above 1500°F, which can result in the phenolic resins of the friction material igniting. This leads to a dangerous loss of braking efficiency (fading) due to the release of gases that are sandwiched between the pad and the disc braking band. To combat this, Brembo Max discs have a special groove shape that enables the gases to be expelled quickly so that the ideal braking conditions are restored right away. ​

Still, on steep slopes it is recommended that you use the engine brake and downshift as much as possible rather than driving in fourth or fifth gear and then relying totally on the brakes. If you slow down this way, you'll reduce the stress on the braking system. Using drilled or slotted Brembo discs also helps to dissipate the heat in extreme situations.​



Another variable to keep in mind before leaving on vacation is the weight of your car when it is fully loaded. It's one thing to commute to work on your own, it's another thing to travel with four passengers and a trunk full of luggage. The amount of thermal energy to dissipate while braking a fully loaded car is decidedly greater. Unless you have Brembo Xtra drilled discs, which give you an added advantage. ​

The holes lead to greater air circulation, which improves the ability to dissipate heat and increases performance.​



Intensive use of the brakes can cause thermal deformation since the braking band tends to expand radially and axially, bending until it transforms into a cone. However, if you use Brembo PVT ventilated discs, which feature pillar ventilation, the cooling capacity increases and resistance to thermal cracks goes up by more than 40%.​

Compared to solid discs, this phenomenon is seen a lot less with Brembo floating discs because of the way the braking band is connected to the housing, which leaves it free to move radially. If you don't have Brembo floating discs, we recommend you apply the brakes gently and sparingly after intensive use so that the discs have time to cool down.​



One of the factors that influences braking performance the most is the set of tires mounted on your car. The type of tire, the level of wear, and the inflation pressure are the three key variables that affect grip and any loss of grip. According to a study by Assogomma, stopping a car going 40 mph that is equipped with summer tires requires 13 feet less than one with winter tires.

Likewise, tire pressure can make the difference between a long braking distance and a normal one. Different studies have shown using tires that are deflated 0.5 bar increases the braking distance by more than 10 feet when going from 60 mph to zero. So, when you are on vacation, we suggest you check the tire pressure often to prevent braking distances that are longer than expected and potentially dangerous.​




Rain and wet asphalt reduce tire grip, which significantly increases braking distance. Various studies have demonstrated that when a car goes from 60 mph to zero in the rain, the braking distance increases by at least 40 feet, more if the braking system is worn and the tires are either old or in poor condition. Brembo drilled or slotted discs disrupt the layer of water more quickly than standard discs so that braking is safer when it is raining too.​


Special attention should be paid to the phenomenon of aquaplaning, when the tires lose contact with the road surface. Aquaplaning makes it seem like the four wheels are spinning freely. If this happens, you should not touch the brakes, steer or accelerate at all. Once you regain control of the car, you can brake and this will remove the layer of water on the brakes.​