Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 15, 2018

When it comes to replacing the brakes on your Mustang (or just about anything in your driveway) there are generally two schools of thought. First, the budget approach by running down to your local auto parts store and buying replacement rotors and new brake pads. The second is upgrading the brakes to something that looks and performs better. Let’s dive into these two paths a bit more.

Taking the parts store approach you certainly get new brakes for your ride, but they are simply service parts. You get the same braking performance and appearance at a savings over buying OE parts from your Ford dealer. Plusses include direct fit, easy to install, and a repair that doesn’t require you to skip three mortgage payments to do. The negatives include stock-like braking, stock-like appearance, and your typical rotor and pad purchase doesn’t include small parts which wear over time like guide pin bushings and pad retaining clips.

Looking in the other direction at a performance upgrade, you will usually find performance upgrade kits only for popular performance cars (hey, mom’s car should have good brakes too even if it isn’t a Mustang!). These kits often feature upsized performance rotors with caliper adapter brackets or even all-new calipers with increased piston size and/or count, with performance or “race” pads. Again, if we look at the plus/minus points of this route we see that on the plus side, yes, you get some awesome brakes that will stop great and look killer behind your wheels. However, on the minus side we have a pretty steep price tag, and often the upsized brake package requires larger wheels and tires, an additional expense that is often not desirable, especially again for mom’s grocery getter. The performance brakes can also have more road noise and create more brake dust, something most just sign off as “that’s what you get with performance brakes” but it doesn’t have to be.

Enter Power Stop. Power Stop’s line of performance enhancing brake upgrades are designed for all manner of rides, not just popular performance cars. Yes, they have brakes for Mustangs, but they also carry brakes for your Super Duty toy hauler, the wife’s Fusion, and your kid’s Focus or Escape. You name the Ford (or other brand) and they offer an all-inclusive package that not only offers better braking on a budget, but is a direct fit with zero modifications required.

The brake offerings from Power Stop are broken down into just a few categories and packages, making things simple. Power Stop offers their brake upgrades for daily driver, trucks/4x4, performance/muscle cars, and for track day/HPDE. Within each of these categories you’ll find specific brake pad and rotor products. You can purchase just the rotors, just the pads, rotor and pad kits, and even rotor and pad kits with red powder coated OEM calipers. The online configurator makes it easy. Simply input your year, make, model, and trim level and the Power Stop website will show you what is offered for your application.

Since we’re mainly about Mustangs here we’ll focus on the daily driver and performance/muscle car upgrade packages Power Stop offers, but fear not, if you love hitting the track for some autocross or hot laps, then be sure to check out the track day/HPDE rotors and pads Power Stop offers as well! All Power Stop brake upgrade kits are available as just a front upgrade, a rear upgrade, or all four wheels in one kit. Simply use the online configurator, choose the upgrade package that works best for you, and you’ll be shown the applicable part numbers for front, rear, or all four wheels to order.

Whether it is the daily driver or performance/muscle car upgrade, both upgrades feature drilled and slotted direct fit performance rotors with a bright Zinc plating to prevent rust and corrosion (and keep your rotors looking new for a long time). The rotors are balanced for the smoothest ride too. In the daily driver upgrade you’ll find these rotors paired with Power Stop’s Z23 Evolution Sport carbon fiber ceramic brake pads. The pads create low dust with better than stock braking power without the “performance pad” noise. The upgrade includes rubber coated shims, and a premium hardware kit with all necessary caliper bushings, clips, ceramic brake lube, and more. In the performance/muscle car upgrade package the Z23 pads are replaced by the Z26 Street Warrior pad compound that features a higher brake torque with higher thermal stability and uses stainless steel shims. This is a great pad upgrade for those with increased horsepower or large wheel/tire packages. Again, depending upon application you can add red powder coated calipers to many of these kits.

1. Power Stops rotors are made from premium materials and feature a bright Zinc plating on all surfaces. The Zinc plating not only prevents rust and corrosion from eating away at the rotor, but gives the rotor a great look behind your wheels as well.

2. Arguing drilled versus dimples is like arguing Coyote versus EcoBoost. They both work for their intended audiences. In the case of drilled rotors they are best served on the street, whereas dimpled rotors work better on the track where excessive heat and pressure can cause cracking. Power Stop rotors feature both chamfered drilled holes for cooling and ball milled slots for wiping away debris and helping with pad gassing.

3. Also notice that each rotor Power Stop manufacturers the drilled pattern is tweaked to ensure the holes go into the open air path between the rotor vanes and not just drilled anywhere that might break into the vane wall, weakening the rotor.

4. For the daily driver upgrade kit we’re using the Z23 Evolution Sport pads come boxed with hardware ready to go. These pads are nearly dust free and low noise and break in fast.

5. Speaking of break in, just in case there are any concerns on how to break the pads in properly the bedding procedure is found on the inside flap of the box and can’t be missed when opening the box.

6. The Z23 Evolution Sport disc brake pads feature all the OE mounting points, rubber coated shims pre-installed, and any applicable mounting clips and wear indicators. The pads are bonded to the backing plates and the pads feature chamfered edges and a center slot/groove to help eliminate pad noise.

7. Included with every Power Stop upgrade kit is all applicable mounting/retaining clips, caliper slide pin bushings, and so forth that are required for a solid installation of the new pads. In our kit we have new spring steel retainers, guide pin bushings with weather seal caps, and two packets of ceramic caliper grease for the guide pins, pad shims, and pad locating ears.

8. Also included with each upgrade kit is a generic installation guide. This guide provides you with the basics and if you’ve ever performed the typical brake job in the past will be pretty much all you need. Otherwise, we recommend a copy of your vehicle’s shop manual to ensure you have all the proper steps in front of you in advance.