Have you read the start guide? Then you have already seen that improving road holding and braking is an important step when you start working on the performance of your Honda. If you want to get more power out of your engine, improving your handling and braking may not sound so spectacular. In fact, there's a good chance that you'd rather skip this step and start right away with the 'real' work: more horsepower!
Still, improving your Honda's road holding and brakes isn't just for safety. You will have a lot of fun with a Honda whose brakes and chassis are precisely tailored to your driving style and wishes. Every bend and roundabout becomes a party if your road holding is good. Braking at the last minute, without wondering if you're stopping in time or can slow down enough to get through the corner. That sounds good?
Even if your Honda is stock, good road holding and brakes will ensure that you drive in your car with a big smile on your face. To help you gain more insight into the possibilities, we have created various blogs, especially for you in which we show what is possible with your Honda.
In these blogs you will discover:
- How to improve your Honda's road holding and brakes;
- What is possible in terms of performance tuning with your Honda;
- Which interior and exterior parts are available to customize the look of your Honda to your liking;
- How to best maintain your Honda, so that you can enjoy your car for years to come.
But first, we're going to look at the road holding and brakes. What is possible? Do you opt for stock, aftermarket or performance parts? Suitable parts are available for every budget. After reading this blog you will know exactly which choices there are and what best suits your needs.
Disclaimer: Modifications to your car may mean that it no longer meets the requirements of your country. Therefore, always check the requirements your car must meet.
Why start with your brakes and road holding?
Fortunately, a Honda already has a tighter road holding than, for example, the average French car, but there is still a lot of improvement to be made here. You will notice it quickly, especially if you drive a bit more sporty than average. The body dives forward more under braking than you would like and in the bend, the car leans quite a bit and you sometimes have to correct it. In addition, you also miss grip, both when accelerating and braking. If you arrive at a bend in a sporty way and you brake at the last minute, your pedal will feel a bit spongy and with sweat in your hands, you wonder whether you should not have started braking a little earlier.
Waste of your driving pleasure. That can be improved!
We don't have to accept that the car is built that way. For Honda, there are all kinds of options to improve your handling as well as your brakes. These two have more to do with each other than you might think. If you improve the handling of your Honda, it will also affect your brakes. Better road holding means more grip, even when braking. If you brake hard, your car will lean forward less, which helps maintain balance. This allows you to quickly enter the bend after a braking action, without being unbalanced.
Are better brakes really necessary?
Especially if you want to get more power out of your Honda, good brakes are indispensable. You can now feel like your stock brakes are enough. But let's face it, if you have more power in your car, you're going to use it. Especially at higher speeds, your brakes become even more important. Your braking distance is getting longer, you have to be prepared for that.
The benefits of good road holding and brakes are almost endless. You will have to experience it for yourself to discover how much fun it is when your Honda does exactly what you ask and expect from it.
Not yet used to your new horsepower and have you not adjusted the brakes to the power? Then this can cause very nasty surprises, both for yourself and for your fellow road users.
Especially if you are serious about tuning, for example with a turbo or supercharger, your stock brakes will not be able to handle this violence. When you start working with your brakes, it is important that you handle this properly. It is important that your Honda remains in balance. Most Hondas are front-wheel drive and will therefore brake harder at the front than at the rear.
Just improving your front brakes is a step in the right direction, but of course, you don't want the rear to pass you when you hit the brake hard. If you would replace the front brakes with a big brake kit and don't make any adjustments to the rear brakes, this could just happen. In this case, therefore, be sure to adjust the rear brakes. Together with good road holding, your Honda will come to a stable and safe stop.
Improving the front brake discs
Replace the front brake discs on your Honda with better discs for faster and easier braking. Do you choose performance brake discs from one of the well-known tuning brands? Then you can also opt for discs that are just one size larger than the stock disc. These still fit in the stock caliper and give you a larger braking surface.
Are you really creative? At Honda, many parts are interchangeable, sometimes with some adjustments. For example, with a brake caliper from another Honda model, you can mount a brake disc that is two sizes larger than what was stock on it.
Do you opt for drilled brake discs or grooved brake discs?
Do you like to participate in track days every now and then? Then better brake discs are certainly not a luxury. Your brakes are much harder on the track than on the road. Lap after lap you ask them to perform at their maximum. This releases a lot of heat. Your stock brakes cannot properly dissipate this heat. Brake dust also accumulates. If your brakes get too hot, they can no longer do their job properly and the braking power decreases. You don't want that, especially not on a fast lap.
Drilled or grooved discs can dissipate heat and brake dust much better and therefore continue to perform optimally. Whether you choose drilled or grooved discs, performance doesn't matter. Both brake discs are of good quality. The eye wants something too, which is why we often see that stylers prefer drilled brake discs and tuners, racers and track drivers are more likely to opt for the grooved version.
This choice may be due to the fact that under extreme heat, small hairline cracks can form in the drilled brake discs. This does not affect performance.
Better front brake pads
You will enjoy your better brake discs even more if you also replace the brake pads on the front of your Honda. If you want different brake pads, you have a wide choice of all kinds of different pads. Each block has a different composition and is suitable for different purposes. For example, there are blocks that do particularly well on the track, because they first have to be braked to temperature. Others also do well at lower temperatures and are therefore also suitable for the normal road. Take a good look at the requirements you place on your brakes and choose the right blocks for that.
In the AKR Performance webshop, you can see for which applications each brake pad is suitable. For example, EBC has different colors of brake pads with names such as 'Yellowstuff', 'Redstuff', 'Greenstuff', and 'Blackstuff'. All these colors have different compounds. This is the composition of which the blocks are made. Depending on this composition, they are suitable for the normal road, the circuit, or race and rally.
Ferodo Racing also has different brake pads for your Honda. For example, there is the DS2000 series, which is comparable to the stock brake pads. The DS2500 series is suitable for sporty street use and track days. Another step higher is the DS3000 series , these are mainly suitable for track use and are not recommended for street use.
Pay close attention to how you use your car. When brake pads are not suitable for street use, this generally means that they will not work until they are properly warm. You rarely get these temperatures on the normal road. Suppose you drive in a very sporty way and you have your brakes up to temperature before you hit the highway, then they will cool down so much on the highway that the next time you want to brake, nothing happens. You really don't want to experience that.
Replace brake lines with stainless steel brake lines, or not?
The stock brake lines on your Honda are partly made of rubber, especially the last part towards the brake caliper. If your Honda is a little older, there is a good chance that this rubber has dried out over time and may even start to show drought cracks. A crack in your brake line suddenly releases your brake pressure. You don’t want that.
You always want to be able to rely on your brakes. That's why it's a good idea to replace your stock brake lines with a set of stainless steel brake lines. Even if your Honda is not that old yet, stainless steel brake lines offer advantages. They ensure constant pressure in the brake lines because stainless steel brake lines do not expand. This makes your brake pedal feel harder and your brakes are more manageable.
Stainless steel brake lines consist of a flexible core that is braided with stainless steel. This is surrounded by a protective layer that ensures that your brake lines are protected against external influences, such as corrosion and damage. Stainless steel brake lines from brands such as Goodridge are even provided with TÜV approval, which means they are guaranteed to be safe.
When do you choose better brake fluid?
Brake fluid often gets little attention. Only a small amount is present in the car, but it is one of the most important liquids. No brake fluid, no brakes. The brake fluid ensures that your brakes also start to act as soon as you press the pedal. The fluid is pushed through the pipes and causes the brake cylinder in the caliper to press your brake pads against the discs.
Changing your brake fluid regularly is important. It ages and attracts moisture, which decreases its effectiveness. If you want to replace the brake fluid, you will find out that there are all kinds of different types of brake fluid: DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5 and 5.1. And then there are the racing brake fluids from Motul: RBF 600 and RBF 660. Which one should you choose?
The difference between all these brake fluids is the boiling point. The better the brake fluid, the higher the boiling point. As soon as the brake fluid gets too hot, bubbles will form and braking performance will deteriorate. In general, heavier cars will not use DOT 3, but rather a DOT 5 or 5.1.
By default, your Honda will probably use a DOT 4. If you have a sportier driving style, DOT 5.1 is a better idea, because your brakes get warmer. Does your set-up or driving style require high braking performance? Then Motul RBF 600 or RBF 660 is the solution.
Better rear brake discs
After replacing your front brake discs and pads, it's time to look at the rear brakes. If you have mounted beautiful, drilled brake discs at the front, it will of course look sleek if you also mount these discs at the rear.
In addition, it is good to keep an eye on the brake balance. By using the same type of brake discs and brake pads both front and rear, the brake balance remains good.
Improve your rear brake pads
Do you replace the rear brake discs with performance discs? Then also choose suitable brake pads. It is best to opt for the same compound as on the front. Then you get a nice, matching set of brakes.
The rear brake pads will wear less than the front brake pads. It is possible that your stock brake pads are not yet worn out when you install new performance discs. Don't save here by using up your old brake pads first. There is a good chance that the standard brake pads are no longer straight due to wear. It is a shame if you put these pads on your new brake discs because there is a chance that they will wear incorrectly.
Brake drums or brake discs?
Do you not have brake discs at the back, but brake drums? Of course, we also have all the parts to maintain your brake drums and to replace your brake shoes when they are worn out.
Are you planning to build a serious performance set-up, with a lot of horsepowers? Then it may be better to replace your brake drums with brake discs. This is a bit of a renovation, but that gives you the option to provide your rear brakes with performance brake discs and pads. So it may be worth considering replacing your brake drums with rear brake discs.
Are your brake calipers still good?
Brake calipers are subject to wear. They can get stuck due to dirt and wear. It's annoying when your brake caliper sticks. You brake and suddenly your Honda pulls out of alignment. If your caliper does not come off by itself, the brake in question will quickly become very hot. This will cause the brake disc and block to wear faster and may even cause the disc to warp.
Fortunately, there is no need to replace your entire caliper. All kinds of parts for your Honda brake caliper are available separately so that they can be easily overhauled. Taking your brake caliper apart and cleaning it works wonders. Replace worn parts with new ones. This way you make worn or stuck brake calipers like new again. Is your brake caliper really beyond salvage? Then you can always replace it with a completely new Honda brake caliper.
When do you choose a big brake kit?
Have you ever seen them? Hondas with those big brake discs and strikingly colored brake calipers? These are big brake kits. You can often assume that these Hondas have an above-average amount of power under the hood. With a big brake kit, you have serious braking power under your brake pedal. A big brake kit consists of a completely coordinated set of brakes for the front of your Honda. Depending on the brand, the big brake kit also comes with stainless steel brake lines.
Of course it is not necessary to put a big brake kit on a standard Honda. Only if you have a lot of extra horsepower under your hood, you can consider a big brake kit. The discs and pads of a big brake kit are several sizes larger than the standard brake discs. The brake calipers are also a lot bigger. The standard calipers are often equipped with 1 piston. In a big brake kit, calipers come with 4 or even 6 pistons. You can imagine that this gives a huge improvement in your braking power.
Considerations when mounting a big brake kit
Do you have serious power under the hood of your Honda and have you become enthusiastic about the big brake kit? First, check whether it will fit your Honda. The brake disc and caliper are really a lot bigger than standard. It may therefore happen that the big brake kit does not fit in your standard rims.
It would of course be a shame if you find out after installation that your rims no longer fit over your brakes and you can therefore no longer drive until you have found new rims. Most 15” rims are too small. Even 16” rims are not all suitable, especially if the rim falls inwards a little too much. In general, most 17” rims are suitable, but the measuring is always recommended to avoid surprises.
This is how you improve the road holding of your Honda
The road-holding of your Honda is not bad as standard, especially if you have a Type R model. Still, there are all kinds of ways to make handling even better. The springs and shock absorbers that your Honda received from the factory are largely focused on comfort. As a sporty driver, you often have less need for this. You want to feel every bump and make optimal contact with the road you are driving on.
Good shock absorbers and springs do more for your handling and grip than a good set of tires. A poorly or incorrectly adjusted chassis does not drive well and is also dangerous:
- The grip on the road will decrease;
- Your braking distance becomes longer;
- You will skid faster on slippery roads and corners;
- You have a higher chance of aquaplaning.
The road-holding is not only determined by your shock absorbers and springs. The chassis of your Honda consists of many more parts, all of which must be optimally matched to each other to give the desired effect. Bad alignment, for example, does not only cause your tires to wear incorrectly or faster. You can also lose a lot of grip with it in the corners or at high speed. You don't want to find out if you just dive into a corner at full speed or suddenly get a floating feeling in your steering wheel at high speed.
You may not be able to compare a Honda to an expensive supercar, but we can copy it. With many supercars, you see all kinds of reinforcements in the chassis. They do this for a reason. These reinforcements are not just for safety, should you crash at high speed. They also contribute to better road holding. So can we! Reinforce your chassis with all kinds of strut bridges, braces, and bars and improve your road holding in this way.
Don't just look at the beautiful. Of course, such a cool, wide strut bar looks great under your hood, but you don't only get the best effect with beautiful parts. Also, consider a sway bar or stabilizer bar. This is not noticeable and is therefore sometimes forgotten. A shame, because the effect of this on your road-holding is great!
Also, pay attention to the details. The rubbers and bushes in your chassis partly determine the quality of your road holding. Make sure they are always in top condition and choose the best rubbers for your set-up. Properly adjusting the undercarriage is craftsmanship. Do you find it difficult to put together the right parts? Feel free to ask us for advice. It is not without reason that we are specialists in the supply of Honda parts.
Lower your Honda
Lowering your Honda will help improve road-holding. There are several ways to lower your Honda, from springs to fully adjustable coilover kits. The goal you want to achieve is as much contact with the road as possible. You cannot achieve this with a super hard coilover kit, with which you bounce over the road.
Actually, with a soft suspension, you have much more contact with the road, but then you have another problem. A soft suspension will make your Honda dive when you brake and lean far when cornering. That is also not the intention. You are actually looking for something in between.
A hard-adjusted chassis does fine on a smooth piece of asphalt, but not on the normal road where you encounter all kinds of different surfaces. Then you want your Honda to perform as well as possible on all kinds of roads.
Depending on your wishes, you can lower your Honda with springs only or with springs combined with shock absorbers. It is good to think about what exactly you want.
Do you just want to lower your car for looks?
What do you expect from the handling, and how do you want your Honda to behave?
How much comfort do you want to keep?
Have you ever seen the advice on forums to lower your car by shortening your springs? You can quickly forget this budget reduction tip. Cutting off your springs will not improve your road holding and can lead to dangerous situations. Of course, your car will be lower, but you can also assume that you can no longer pass the MOT. Your springs should stay neatly in place. They do this now because they are stuck. If you shorten the springs, there is a very good chance that they will come loose in a relaxed condition and that is MOT rejection.
Do you want to lower your Honda? Then choose good lowering springs or a coilover kit. The material and the way lowering springs are made make them stiffer. This influences the handling of your Honda in a positive way.
Lowering springs for your Honda
Lowering your Honda just a few centimeters gives it an even sportier look. Your rims will look better in the wheel arches and your road holding will improve because the center of gravity will be lower. Lowering your Honda with lowering springs is the cheapest way to lower your car and improve handling.
Make sure you don't go lower than about 3.5 centimeters with your standard shock absorbers. The shock absorbers of your Honda have an end stop, they cannot compress further. If you lower the standard shock absorbers further, there is a good chance that they will break. That is of course not conducive to your road holding.
Lowering your Honda isn't always better for road holding, nor for your own comfort. If you first have to cross 10 thresholds before you leave the neighborhood at your house, you will quickly get tired of your lowered Honda. With some skill, you quickly learn to drive a lowered car, without continuously hitting the bottom, but that becomes a lot more difficult when it is extremely low.
Improve road holding with coilover kit or coilover
Do you really want to go for improving road holding? Then a coilover kit is a better idea. These kits are more expensive, but you also get a fully coordinated set of springs and shock absorbers. Depending on the brand and version, all kinds of settings are possible.
With a coilover kit, it is often possible to lower your Honda even lower than with just lowering springs. This is because the dampers of a coilover are more resistant to this. This way you can put your Honda extra low, for example for a day at the track.
With a coilover kit, you can decide for yourself how you want your Honda to be. Due to the screw thread, the spring can be infinitely adjusted to any desired height. In addition, there are often many other settings on a coilover. With this you can, for example, adjust the hardness of the dampers and the rebound.
Properly adjusting a coilover kit can be difficult. Not sure how to do it? Then let an expert advise you. Experienced mechanics are available in the AKR Performance workshop to help you assemble and adjust your coilovers.
Improve road holding with proper alignment
A Honda that is properly aligned is solid on the road. Proper alignment provides more stability and grip. By default, your Honda will be aligned to factory settings. But if you like to go on the track or have higher demands on the performance of your car, then you also want to adjust the alignment of your car completely to your wishes.
The camber and toe adjustments are very important for track and rally drivers. You want full control over your Honda's cornering behavior. Do you want to adjust the camber and track of your Honda completely to your wishes? In the AKR Performance webshop, you will find all the parts you need to do this.
Replacing rubbers and bushings for better road holding
All kinds of rubbers and bushes have been incorporated into the chassis of your Honda. These will wear out over time, causing slack. This clearance is not conducive to your road holding. You just want your Honda to be tight on the road. Replacing the rubbers and bushings in your chassis in time ensures that your car remains as tight as possible on the road.
You can choose to replace the rubbers and bushings with new, standard parts. But there are also various performance brands that provide better and stiffer rubbers and bushings for your Honda. This gives you an even tighter chassis and therefore better road holding.
Reinforce your chassis for better handling
When you go through the bends hard, this puts great force on your chassis. Even if you don't see this, your complete chassis will move with it. By making your chassis stronger, you reduce this movement. Now it is exaggerated for a road car to immediately install a roll cage. This is not so practical on the regular road. Fortunately, there are all kinds of strut bridges, bars, and braces that you can use to strengthen your chassis.
The best known are the strut bridges that you can mount under the hood, in the trunk, and under the car at the front and back. Various performance brands supply strut bridges in all kinds and designs.
Chassis reinforcing bars and braces are also available for the interior. Such as an adjustable floor brace just behind the front seats or the c-pillar bar near your parcel shelf.
Unobtrusively boost the road holding of your Honda?
A less known, but no less effective way to strengthen your chassis is the swaybar or stabilizer bar. It looks less spectacular than a nice strut bridge, and it's almost invisible under your car, but it gives your chassis amazing rigidity. Your handling goes to the next level. Once you've ridden with a stabilizer bar or swaybar, you won't want to do without it.
This bent bar runs from wheel to wheel. You can fit two under your Honda. One between the front wheels and one between the rear wheels. Some Honda models come standard with one or two (often thinner) stabilizer bars. Replace it with a thicker performance version and you will definitely notice the difference!
Do you have questions about improving the handling and braking of your Honda? Feel free to contact us, we will be happy to advise you.