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Why Your Pickup or SUV Needs Great Brakes



In the Philippines, the pickup and SUV segment is easily the fastest growing in the industry, and it's easy to see why. They are highly versatile and durable, have good ground clearance for going over bad roads or through floodwaters, and their diesel engines keep fuel costs low. It helps that they look great, too. Pickups and SUVs have one major Achilles heel though - braking. This is especially true for trucks that have been outfitted for off-roading.


It is possible to go into the really technical aspects of braking, but to understand why brakes are extra, extra important for SUVs and pickups, all you need to keep in mind are two things: weight and center of gravity.


First, let's talk about weight. Or, more accurately, mass. Simply put, the heavier an object is, the greater force needed for it to accelerate and slow down. Simple, right? But why is that?

If you remember simple high school physics, you may recall that an object's momentum is equal to its mass multiplied by its velocity. That means that if two objects - say a pickup truck (about 1800kg) and a small hatchback (about 950kg) - are travelling at the same velocity (say 60kph), the object with the greater mass (the pickup) will have greater momentum than the other (the hatchback). And since the greater the momentum, the greater the force required to slow the object down, the pickup needs stronger brakes to slow it down at the same rate as the hatchback.


Now imagine you have a modified pickup that has an extra 150-200kg of added weight, thanks to the addition of beefy steel bumpers, winches, and big wheels and tires. (By the way, a simple Google search showed me that the weight of a leading brand of front bumpers with a winch is 240lbs, or 109kg. Add the rear bumper, tow hitch, big wheels and tires, etc, and the addition of 200kg is very realistic). With the extra mass associated with the modifications, you're going to need better brakes even more.


While it's fairly common sense that heavier objects need stronger brakes, the concept of center of gravity is a little bit less understood. But generally speaking, the taller the vehicle, the higher the center of gravity. Obviously, pickups and SUVs are taller than sedans or hatchbacks, but how does this affect braking?


The suspension setup in pickups and SUVs are designed for higher ground clearance, which lifts the vehicle off the ground further and raises its center of gravity. As the center of gravity moves upwards, the vehicle tends to experience more body-roll. Most motorists have experienced this before - when braking with a small car, you feel the car body lean forward, but when braking at the same speed in a taller vehicle like an SUV, the vehicle leans even more. This is the effect of "weight transfer", where the weight of the vehicle seems to move from the rear of the vehicle to the front. When this happens, the car's weight is shifted so far front that the front brakes must shoulder most of the responsibility of stopping the car. In most cases, the front brakes do 70% of braking, and in some cases, this can be up to 90%. This effect is more pronounced with vehicles equipped with lift kits, which raise the pickup or SUV's center of gravity even higher.


(screenshot from KM77's video on the Jeep Renegade)


Since the entire load is shouldered by the front brakes, you can imagine the stresses that they go through on a day-in, day-out basis. This makes having top quality brake discs and brake pads even more important for SUVs and pickups.


Choosing the best brake pads for your pickup or SUV is incredibly important, and the best means Brembo. Brembo Premium Ceramic brake pads have been tested more than any other brake pad, in all possible conditions - from the city streets of Cebu to the flooded byways of Marikina to the mountainous roads of Baguio, and even in all sorts of racing, including circuit, endurance racing, and off road rallying.


Aurick Go, editor-in-chief of Street63 and co-founder of Legends of the 90s, has used Brembo brake pads for his modified Toyota FJ Cruiser since 2017. He recently installed a set of Brembo Premium Ceramic brake pads. "They pretty much feel the same as my previous set [an older Brembo formulation] except with noticeably improved initial bite," says Aurick. "I reckon it’s the best street pad you can get without all the drama and inconvenience of a race-oriented pad."

(photo: Aurick Go)


Drift and rallycross champion David Feliciano uses Brembo Premium Ceramic brake pads for his Toyota Hi Lux Conquest, as well has his performance and race cars. "I like to feel the car stopping once I step on the brake, all on just that first tap," explains David. "And with Brembo, I automatically feel safe every time I step on the brake. That's important for me whether I'm out on road or on the track."

(photo: Street63)


Now, it is easier than ever to get Brembo for your car. There are over 100 Brembo Official Dealers nationwide, and a Brembo Flagship Store on Lazada. Contact us for more information and for dealership inquiries.

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