Brakes 101 - Read This First!

The first thing in Brakes 101 is to look over your braking system (or lack of one.)

Now keep this in mind: Your brakes are probably the most important part of your hotrod.

If you can't stop well, you're going to rear-end someone with your hotrod. It's not If, it's When. We've all had a scary moment when a car in front of us slams on it's brakes and we've had to slide to a stop. If you can't stop well, you'll hit them, injure yourself and them, and destroy your ride.

This is a cheery lesson, huh?

That's because this is important and too many people don't take their brakes seriously. Remember, it's not just you out there, it's everyone else.

Older brakes, when rebuilt, can stop well. But not nearly as well as newer brakes. Which is what the car in front of you has. See where we're going with this?

So, you need hotrod brakes on your hotrod!

Switching to disc brakes on the front should be the minimum you do. Now, many guys don't want to run them because of the looks if they're seen on their nostalgic hotrods. Some drum brakes can stop well if the car is light and the brakes are bigger than stock. Remember, we want performance braking...

Besides, there's aftermarket disc brakes that look like the finned Buick drum brakes, so that's not an issue anymore.

So, what's some good guidelines?

Don't try to save hotrod money by not upgrading your brakes. Your brakes should be at the top of the list when making your hotrod budget. (You did read "Build What You Can Afford" in Hotrod Wisdom didn't you?)

Don't sacrifice safety for looks. If your brakes show, there are options for making them look nostalgic if that's important to you. There is simply no reason to run brakes that aren't up to par with current braking systems.

Upgrading your brakes is easy nowadays. If you aren't sure how to go about fabbing up your own system, there are tons of aftermarket systems that will literally bolt on to almost any car.

If you want to use newer factory parts to upgrade your braking system, try to use them from the same car. Specifically from a car as heavy or heavier than your hotrod. Mixing and matching different parts usually leads to problems and frustration. Not always, but usually. It can be done, but why go through the hassle? The factory has already tested their systems and made them fool proof. There are some exceptions, but we'll get into those later.


Return from Brakes 101 to Hot Rod Brakes

Return from Brakes 101 to How-To-Build-Hotrods