The open road, the fresh air and the freedom of travel excites you. You yearn for the roar of an engine, the pull of a sharp turn, and the rush you get when you push your car to the limit. Your Mercedes-Benz is more than a mode of transportation; it’s part of you.
You only want the best for your Mercedes-Benz. When you’re looking to upgrade your brakes, don’t rush. Take the time to consider these three questions:
- What do you get if you don’t upgrade?
- Are after-market upgrades worth the money?
- Are all brake systems compatible with your Mercedes-Benz?
What do you get if you don’t upgrade?
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 Sedan comes with 4 wheel ABS brakes with electronic brake assist. The standard front ventilated disc is 335-mm and the rear ventilated disc is 300-mm. The high-performance Mercedes-Benz AMG features a front power 361-mm ventilated disc and a rear power 361-mm ventilated disc.
Ventilated discs are what the pros use. Professional race cars are equipped with ventilated discs due to the fact that they last longer and they’re able to withstand stress better than slotted and drilled rotors. Ventilated disc rotors are designed with a curved design, which acts as a pump, sucking in air and running it through the brakes, out to the other side. The air cools the rotors and prevents them from overheating.
Brake discs that aren’t ventilated are fine for most drivers, but will break down earlier and won’t be able to keep up with ventilated brakes. Drilled rotors were once widely used, but these days they’re not as common among high-performance vehicles.
Years ago, brake pads and brake fluid weren’t as efficient. When you drove your car, the bonding agents used in the pads were released as a gas when the brakes were applied. Drilled rotors allowed gas to escape, and for this reason they were widely used in the industry. Drilled discs can still be found today, but they can’t compete with ventilated discs. The bonding agents don’t release gas like they used to, so the benefits these rotors once provided are no longer needed. Drilled discs are flawed because they create uneven heating surfaces. This discrepancy in heat can cause cracks to the drilled holes and in time to the rest of your rotor. If drilled discs are used today, they are often combined with slotted designs and they’re selected more for the look than for performance.
Are after-market brakes worth the money?
After-market brake systems make sense for some, but not for others. You need to decide how you want to drive. Are you an every day, take your kids to school driver? Or, are you an RPM craving, weekend racing, car nut who wants only the best parts to ensure you can win when you’re challenged on the open road?
If you want to take your car out to the country and challenge your friends, you may want more than your standard brakes. The factory brakes for the S-Model and Mercedes-AMG model will outlast and outshine most cars you’ll come across, but without much trouble, you’ll be able to find a modified brake package that will outshine the factory brakes that come with your Mercedes-Benz. Beefed up rotors will help, but they’re not likely to win any races by themselves.
You can also upgrade the brake pads, calipers, and brake fluid lines. You can find more durable, longer lasting pads that are better suited for race cars. Calipers are critical. They squeeze your brake discs, create friction, and play a critical role in slowing you down. The factory Mercedes-Benz calipers are top-of-the-line, especially on the S-Model and AMG. However, modified calipers do exist that could give you an edge if installed on your vehicle. The standard brake fluid lines are also more than sufficient, but you could replace them too. The point is, your brake parts on your Mercedes-Benz are already outstanding. You just have to decide if it’s worth it to make them even better.
Are all brake systems compatible with your Mercedes-Benz?
You can’t take this lightly. Mercedes-Benz S-Class, E-Class, and AMG vehicles are built to last. They’re designed to burn the rubber with the best, but car owners like you are always looking for a head up on the competition. If there’s a way to improve your ride, you’ll consider it. If you invest in your brakes, make sure they’re compatible with your vehicle’s electronic assist programs.
The newer models of Mercedes-Benz vehicles come with active body control and a stereo camera for road surface scanning. This means your car will be monitoring your movements to make sure you’re steering the wheel and operating the vehicle as intended. If you fall asleep or are swerving out of control, your car will know it and it will sound an alarm and alert you. In some situations, it may even stop the vehicle.
The built-in camera will scan the road and will slow the car down if it starts to rain or if ice is detected. Your car was built to take care of you. Return the favor and ask the mechanic you visit if your modified brake kit will effect the technology in your car. Don’t take a risk on your brakes.