Power brakes are on absolutely everything these days, but it was not always that way. Many cars from the 70s and before only came with manual braking systems that left all the work to the driver.
With manual brakes, all the stopping force comes from the driver pushing down the brake pedal with all their might. The switch to power brakes, however, brought the power brake booster onboard to share some of the work.
If your car does not have a power braking system, you might be ready to split that work up and enjoy better stopping power than ever before. Use this guide to learn what you need to know about power brake boosters and performing this upgrade on your ride.
What is a Power Brake Booster?
A power brake booster is a vacuum canister that actively multiplies the force the driver puts on the brake pedal. Using vacuum supplied by the engine, or a standalone pump, the booster closes the center diaphragm as the driver pushes on the brake pedal. As this occurs, air flows into the back of the booster, helping generate the force needed to activate the braking system.
The additional braking force travels to the hydraulic master cylinder and pressurizes the system. As that happens, the internal pressure travels through the lines and activates the disc or drum brakes on the vehicle. The vehicle can then come to a stop with much less effort from the driver and improved efficiency all around.
Once the driver releases the pedal, the brake booster opens the vacuum check valve to release its hold and reset the system. The air in the back of the booster escapes through the outside air valve as well, readying the canister for the next stop. From the first press of the pedal, this system works seamlessly to improve stopping power of the vehicle and keep the driver from feeling fatigued.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Brake System
Unless you want to keep your old car perfectly stock, it is almost always a good idea to upgrade to power brakes. This move provides many amazing benefits that can make your drive more enjoyable and much safer for everyone on the road.
Less Driver Fatigue
With power brake boosters, the vacuum, air pressure, and mechanical processes all work together to multiply the force on the pedal, making it easier to push down. Standard boosters can provide up to 200 pounds of additional force, while upgrade units offer even more stopping assistance. This leads to much less driver fatigue as the power brake booster applies additional pressure and helps the vehicle stop.
As the system works, you can ease on the brakes much more gently while enjoying even more stopping power than before. As a result, long drives will become much more approachable, making it easier to spend your free time traveling to car shows and other fun events. You also do not have to worry about brake performance decreasing as your leg gets tired of providing 100% of the force needed to stop.
Consistent Braking Performance
Without having to rely only on the force the driver puts on the brake pedal, a power braking system offers consistent performance from the beginning to end of your drives. Stopping power improves as well as the system provides additional pressure to the master cylinder time and time again. The consistent performance makes it much more enjoyable to drive the vehicle and compete in motorsports competitions of all kinds.
Support for Additional Upgrades
If you decide to complete other brake upgrades on your vehicle, such as a disc brake conversion, your power braking system will further boost the gains from those parts. All the benefits of completing those upgrades will be supported by the function of the power brake booster. The systems will work well together, helping bring your vehicle into the modern era and improving its overall stopping power.
Many old cars without power braking systems also only have a single reservoir master cylinder, leaving the vehicle without a failsafe if a line breaks or seizes. When the single reservoir fails, the vehicle loses all braking power, leaving it without any hope of stopping without impact.
Thankfully, when using a conversion kit from Master Power Brakes for your build, you will receive a master cylinder with a dual reservoir instead. With the extra reservoir on tap, if any part fails, the other reservoir will do the work and still help the vehicle stop.
With all these amazing benefits, upgrading to a power brake booster is likely a solid choice for your ride. You just have to reflect on your plans for the vehicle to see if it is the right upgrade for you.
Do You Really Need a Power Brake Booster?
The only real reason to leave manual braking systems intact is to keep the vehicle completely stock and true to its era. Leaving the manual braking system intact works well for cars that are trailered to car shows and only used for occasional Sunday drives. If you have any desire to drive your vehicle around and enjoy its performance, however, then a power brake booster is a must.
With power braking systems, you can trust that your vehicle has the stopping power it needs to get you around safely and without all the fanfare. You will no longer have to worry about the manual components failing to adequately slow and stop the vehicle on demand. So, as long as you are up to replacing all the necessary components, you definitely need a power brake booster to get the most out of all your drives.
How to Get Started in Upgrading Your Brakes
Getting started requires a close look at the current braking system in the vehicle to see what will be needed for the power brake booster installation. Cars that came with a single reservoir master cylinder, for example, will need the power brake booster and dual reservoir master cylinder along with other parts here and there.
For help deciding what your vehicle needs, you can reach out to a specialist at Master Power Brakes. Our specialists are available to chat about your current build and upgrade plans, helping you find the perfect parts for your project. Alternatively, simply give us a call at 1-800-472-4181 to get the conversation started and receive the support you need.