How to Install Larger Brake Rotors on a Ford Focus RS for Improved Stopping Power?

April 5, 2024

For all you car enthusiasts, there comes a time when the stock components of your vehicle just aren’t enough. Especially for performance cars like the Ford Focus RS, upgrading certain parts like the brake rotors can significantly enhance the vehicle’s performance. Today, we’ll be discussing how you can install larger brake rotors onto your Ford Focus RS for improved stopping power.

Understand the Basics

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the process, let’s first understand what brake rotors are and why you might want to upgrade them. Brake rotors, also known as brake discs, are a critical component of your car’s braking system. They work in conjunction with the brake pads to slow or stop your vehicle. When you apply the brake, the brake pads clamp onto the rotors, creating friction that slows down the wheel.

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A larger rotor provides a larger surface area for the brake pads to grip onto, which in turn provides better stopping power and heat dissipation. This can be particularly beneficial for high-performance cars like the Ford Focus RS, which are often driven more aggressively and hence require more effective braking.

Selecting the Right Brake Rotors

Choosing the right brake rotors is a vital step in the upgrade process. Not all brake rotors are created equal, and the right choice for you will largely depend on your specific needs and driving habits.

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For example, if you frequently drive on the highway, then you might want to consider getting slotted brake rotors. These rotors feature slots that help channel away heat and brake dust, ensuring consistent braking performance even under heavy use. On the other hand, if you’re into racing or track days, then drilled rotors could be a better choice. These rotors have holes drilled into them to provide even better heat dissipation and reduce brake fade under heavy braking conditions.

Remember to consider the size of the rotor as well. Larger rotors provide better stopping power, but they also weigh more and can affect your car’s handling and fuel efficiency. Make sure to balance these factors when making your decision.

Preparing for the Installation

Once you’ve chosen your new brake rotors, it’s time to prepare for the installation process. This is a relatively straightforward process that you can do at home with the right tools and a bit of patience.

You’ll need a few common garage tools for the job, including a torque wrench, a breaker bar, a jack and jack stands, a socket set, brake cleaner, and possibly a rubber mallet. Please note that it’s important to have the car’s service manual on hand as well. This will provide you with the specific torque values and other details that are specific to your Ford Focus RS.

Before starting, make sure to park your car on a level surface and engage the parking brake. This will ensure that the car remains stable during the installation process and prevents any accidents.

The Installation Process

After preparing for the installation, it’s time to get down to business. This part of the process involves removing the old brake rotors and installing the new ones. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through it:

First, start by loosening the lug nuts on the wheel that you’re going to be working on. After that, use a jack to lift the car until the wheel is off the ground. Be sure to use jack stands to support the car while you work.

Next, remove the wheel by unscrewing the lug nuts. Once the wheel is off, you’ll have access to the brake caliper, which you’ll need to remove to get to the brake rotor. The brake caliper is held in place by a couple of bolts at the back, which you’ll need to unscrew.

Once the brake caliper is off, you can then remove the old brake rotor. If it’s stuck, you can use a rubber mallet to gently tap it until it comes off. Be careful not to damage the rotor hub in the process.

After removing the old brake rotor, clean the rotor hub using brake cleaner to remove any rust or debris. Then, install the new brake rotor onto the hub. Make sure it fits snugly and is properly aligned.

Finally, reinstall the brake caliper and the wheel, ensuring all bolts are torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications. Repeat the process for the other wheels.

Breaking In the New Brake Rotors

After installing the new brake rotors, it’s important to break them in properly. This process, also known as bed-in, involves applying a series of controlled stops to deposit a layer of brake pad material onto the rotor surface. This helps ensure optimal braking performance and longevity of the new rotors.

To break in your new brake rotors, start by accelerating to a moderate speed and then applying the brakes gently to slow down. Repeat this process several times, gradually increasing the brake pressure with each stop. After the break-in process, avoid aggressive braking for the next few hundred kilometers to allow the new brake rotors to fully settle in.

Remember, whether you’re a weekend warrior at the local racing circuit or a daily driver looking for improved stopping power, upgrading your brake rotors can make a significant difference in your driving experience. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully install larger brake rotors onto your Ford Focus RS and enjoy the improved stopping power that comes with them. Stay safe on the roads!

Ensuring Proper Maintenance of Your Brake Rotors

After installing your larger brake rotors, it’s crucial to ensure that they’re well-maintained to guarantee their longevity and optimal performance. Proper maintenance begins with regular inspection. Check your brake rotors for any signs of wear or damage every time you change your oil or rotate your tires. This will help you catch any potential issues early before they become serious problems.

The two main indicators of rotor wear are thinning and warping. If the rotor is too thin, it won’t be able to dissipate heat effectively, which could lead to overheating and brake fade. On the other hand, a warped rotor can cause vibrations and inconsistent braking performance. In either case, the rotor should be replaced as soon as possible.

Aside from inspection, you should also keep your brake rotors clean. Brake dust and other contaminants can build up on the surface of the rotor, which can reduce its efficiency and potentially lead to corrosion. Use a brake cleaner to remove these contaminants and keep your rotors in top shape.

Remember, the key to the longevity of your brake rotors lies in regular inspection, cleaning, and timely replacement when necessary. By keeping these factors in mind, you can maximize the performance and lifespan of your larger brake rotors.

Wrapping Up

Upgrading your vehicle’s brake rotors to larger ones is a worthwhile investment, especially for performance cars like the Ford Focus RS. Larger brake rotors not only provide better stopping power but also improve heat dissipation, ensuring consistent braking performance even under heavy use.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about installing larger brake rotors on your Ford Focus RS. We’ve gone through understanding the basics of brake rotors, selecting the right ones for your needs, preparing for the installation, carrying out the installation process, breaking in the new brake rotors, and ensuring their proper maintenance.

Remember, safety should be your primary concern when performing any car maintenance tasks. Always work on a level surface, use jack stands to support the car, and refer to your car’s service manual for specific instructions and torque values.

By following the steps we’ve outlined, you can successfully install larger brake rotors onto your Ford Focus RS and enjoy the improved stopping power and performance. Happy driving, and stay safe on the roads! Remember, a vehicle with top-notch stopping power isn’t just a performance advantage—it’s a safety advantage, too.