The front brake rotors on my 2008 Toyota Highlander are getting destroyed every 12,000 miles or so. I know this is not normal, but my work has me going over the continental divide every couple so the factory brakes (already not great) get quite a workout. I am at 40,000 miles now and I just want to put brake rotors on there that can stand up to the abuse. What is the best way to go about installing aftermarket brakes for better performance in a daily driver vehicle?
Brake performance and wear reduction are two very popular modification questions for most vehicles. There are many options available that can extend the life of the rotors and/or pads. Look for rotors that are drilled and/or slotted. These types of rotors were originally designed to dissipate heat quickly on race cars. Drilled/slotted rotors will generally stand up to more abuse, especially in heavy traffic or mountain driving. Rotors like these are produced by a number of companies (EBC, StopTech, etc.). High performance pads are another option. The make-up of the pad determines its performance characteristics. Companies like Hawk, EBC, and Baer make numerous pad compounds for different types of driving. There are generally some trade-offs when using a more aggressive rotor/pad set-up. You may hear additional noise from drilled/slotted rotors. The noise is completely normal but can become a nuisance. Aggressive pads will also create more brake dust on the wheels.
If the rotors are warping frequently, the wheel hub to rotor mounting and rotor to hub/bearing mounting should be checked for rust or other debris that could cause the surfaces to mate unevenly. Wheel lug nut torque should also be checked, as an improperly torqued wheel could cause deflection on the face of the rotor. A certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can inspect your brakes and help find the best solution for you.
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