Focus Feature

Braking The DBA Way

The following article explains what to consider in a workshop situation when engaging with a customer about the range of braking options available.

Using their cars these days people are surrounded by ‘systems’. The visible ones such as electronics and IoT have become common place. However, rarely do people consider the hidden systems. One key system are the brakes. They’re often being taken for granted, and few people actually consider how they work and how they safely bring the vehicle to a critical stop when needed. Let alone ask themselves, is there any way I can improve my brakes and create a safer environment for myself and my passengers?

To assist with recommending the ‘right’ brake for your customer, let’s first take a closer look at what they may have as “standard” brakes and their performance aspects. Most vehicles from the factory are fitted with “smooth” brake rotors. There are some niche vehicles with alternatives, but we will get to those further on. The standard smooth face rotor works by creating friction between the rotor and the brake pad face, this in turn creates heat.

Depending on the driving type and what extra activities are undertaken, these rotors can, if abused, warp or be damaged prematurely limiting life. That said, under normal general driving conditions a “smooth” rotor is more than sufficient for daily use and will provide for thousands of kilometres of driving. Hence why these are the application of choice as standard rotors in most OE vehicles.

If your customer is looking to not only improve the braking performance but enhance the look of their vehicle, a good place to start is the DBA “slotted” rotor. These rotors can be added without changing any pad profile or updates unless you wish to. The benefits of the “slotted” rotor are quite specific. The base rotor is essentially the same – unless they opt for a slotted, high-performance rotor such as the DBA ‘5000 SERIES’ and the materials and the way they are manufactured is consistent with any OE supplied rotor.

So what benefits do I get? The slots provide for some unique performance updates. The slots on rotors come in a variety of styles and profiles but essentially do the same function. Slots are designed to allow gases and brake dust to escape from the system. The benefit of this is that it creates better contact between the rotor and the pad. How?

The microscopic particles of worn rotor and pad as braking occurs are expelled along the slot paths resulting in reducing heat and enhancing life of the brake system. This may also minimise warping under extreme conditions depending on your driving habits. The other improvement is that the slots aid in “cleaning” the pads as they pass over the slot edges aiding in minimizing pad build up and inhibiting brake shudder.

For most vehicles DBA provides a variety of slot patterns across its three tiers of disc rotos (STREET SERIES, 4000 SERIES, and 5000 SERIES) that can be coupled with differing style of brake pad composites to further enhance performance.

For those seeking a further visual differentiator and as replacement for some European marks, DBA supply either drilled only or drilled and slotted variants.

These designs allow gas/particle “venting” as per slotted only versions but the cross drilled holes also particpate in the outgassing. The cross drilling may also “clear” water in wet conditions allowing for earlier dry braking. The cross drilling in parked postion provides a great aesthetic for your vehicle. All the DBA range as outlined are designed for applications from daily driving (STREET SERIES) to performance enhancement (4000 SERIES, 5000 SERIES).

Next, it’s on to the brake pads. Generally, most pads available in the market, including the DBA STREET PERFORMANCE range, are designed with slots and chamfers, to reduce vibration and noise when braking. There are, however, some simple questions to ask that aid in deciding which type of pad suits.

If a vehicle mainly does everyday street driving, then pads with either ceramic or semi-metallic friction material will more than adequately do the job.

Ceramic offers what is known as a ‘clean wheel’ solution as it emits no brake dust. Semi-metallic, on the other hand, performs consistently well at high temperatures.

If your customer’s vehicle is a highpowered car, SUV or LCV then DBA’s STREET PERFORMANCE pads would suit.
These too are semi-metallic but contain carbon fibres to perform at even higher temperatures.
They are also guaranteed copper-free in accordance with NSFI certification.

Finally, if your customer has towing and/ or off-road driving in mind, or when it comes to performance cars used at track days, then look closely at DBA XTREME PERFORMANCE pads as these provide for the greatest bite whilst still being low in copper content.

For info on braking options contact Disc Brakes Australia (DBA) on 1800 730 039, email, or visit

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