Complete guide to all things related to the Tesla Model 3 brakes including pictures, FAQs about replacement and upgrades and more.
Stock brake specs for Tesla Model 3
Long range, Dual Motor, Non performance brakes
All Tesla Model 3 versions come with Brembo calipers on the front. On the non-performance versions, the rear calipers are built by Mando.
Front brake rotors are 320 mm in diameter and 25mm thick. Each rotor weighs 21.09 lbs.
Rear rotors weigh 16.88 lbs each.
Model 3 Performance Brakes Upgrade
Tesla tweeted that the Model 3 Performance upgrade comes with a “4-corner Brembo system including lightweight 2 piece rotors and larger front rotor”
On the Performance Dual motor Model 3, the rear rotor is 20mm thick and the front rotor is 25mm thick.
The front Performance brake calipers that come with the performance package are huge 4-piston Brembo calipers
The rear caliper has a telltale ‘b’ in a circle; Brembo’s logo:
The brake rotors are a lightweight 2-piece design, which may be manufactured by Brembo as well. In 2013, Brembo unveiled a 2-piece rotor that would be 10 to 15% lighter, and it looks just like the Model 3 rotors.
Performance Brake Specifications
The Tesla Model 3 Performance Plus Package upgrade gives you a larger 355mm diameter front brake rotor (instead of 320 mm) that weighs 19.2 lbs (instead of 21.09 lbs) src They are the same 25mm thickness of the non-performance upgrade rotors.
The front 4 piston brake calipers (supplied by Brembo) weigh in at 9.6 lbs each without brake pads.
Things to know about your Tesla Model 3 Brake System
In the Owner’s Manual, on page 128, Tesla recommended flushing the Tesla Model 3 brake fluid every 25,000 miles, or 2 years – whichever comes first.
On the Tesla website, under “Car Maintenance”, Tesla recommends testing brake fluid for contamination every 2 years and replacing as needed. src
Tesla Model 3 Brake Replacement Cost
How long do Tesla brakes last? Since most of the braking is done with the regenerative function, the brake pads are rarely used and can last well over 100,000 miles. On the other side of the spectrum, some Model 3s have been taken to the track and the pads have been burned up within a day. For the average driver, however, brake pad replacement isn’t even a concern. If you do need a new set of pads, the pads themselves will cost $100-$200 plus installation.
Tesla Model 3 regen braking is limited in cold weather
If the battery pack is too cold to receive high amounts of recharge energy, your Tesla will alert you that your regen ability is limited. This is typical in cold weather, and just means you need to use your manual brakes until your battery pack warms up. Scheduled departure does not help with this because that does not warm up your battery pack, it warms up the Model 3 cabin.
Brake Cleaner strips gray coating on performance rotors
Performance rotors have a gray pain coating on the rotor hat that will peel off if you get brake cleaner on it.
Tesla model 3 brakes making squeaking or rattling noise at low speed
In the Model 3 brake calipers, there are steel springs that help hold the brake pads in place. These springs break quite regularly, and there is a technical service bulletin about it [source needed]
Model 3 Brake related FAQs
Do my brake lights go on when I am slowing my Model 3 down with regen braking?
If you are using hard regen, yes your brake lights will be on. You can look at the car on your screen and it will show you when your brake lights are on.
My Tesla Model 3 slammed on the brakes and displayed this alert
Some owners have reported this warning after trying to use the hold feature on a very steep incline. In another example, a pedestrian caused the Model 3 to emergency brake which then caused the alert to appear.
In most cases, Model 3 owners said the warning disappeared after getting out of their vehicle and locking it, and re-entering on their next trip src
Is the parking brake automatically applied?
The Tesla Model 3 parking brake uses an electronically controlled actuator which allows the Model 3’s software to control when the brake is applied and released.
In the Tesla Model 3, the parking brake is automatically applied if a charge cable is connected, or if 2 of these are met while travelling slower than approximately 1.5 mph:
- The driver’s seat belt is unbuckled.
- The occupancy sensor in the driver’s seat does not detect an occupant.
- The driver’s door is opened.
Similarly, pushing the ‘P’ (park) icon will actuate the parking brake. Since the Tesla model 3 does not have a transmission to actually put into park, it needs to put on the parking brake to prevent rolling. Shifting out of park into any other gear automatically releases the Model 3 parking brake.
Found on page 53 of the Model 3 owner’s manual
Tesla Model 3 Emergency Braking
While driving, if you press and hold the P button, it will initiate an emergency parking brake and stop your car. This is an emergency procedure available in case your brake pedal stops functioning.
Grinding noise when I Brake
The grinding noise could be caused by rust on the rotors. Because of regen in your Model 3, the physical brakes can go long times without being used and rust can build up on the surfaces. If you use the brake pedal for a few hard braking times, the rust will rub off and the noise should be gone. If the noise is still there, take it to your closest service center or have a mobile technician come and look at it.
Tesla Model 3 brakes squealing
If a small rock gets stuck behind the Tesla Model 3 brake shield, it will rub against the rotor causing a squealing sound (this is a squealing sound that happens whenever you are driving, not just when you are braking). Check out this video on how to remove the rocks:
My Model 3 has a clicking noise when I press the brakes!
Check to see if the noise also happens when you first accelerate. There is a commonly occurring click or light clunk noise when changing from decelerating to accelerating, or the other direction as well. It is a problem your service center can address.
In some cases, lubricating and re-torqing the axle nuts has fixed the issue. “Torqued the rear suspension including rear axles” src src2 src3 A different Model 3 owner had a bad wheel bearing replaced to fix the noise. src The Santa Clara SC removed wheels and cleaned the hubs to fix the Model 3 clicking noise. src
In other cases, owners have made multiple trips to the service center and replacing the drive unit and axle sealing washer fixed the issue.
Some Model 3 owners are taking matter into their own hands, rather than waiting for service appointments.
I picked up a 32mm socket from Harbor Freight ($5) and removed the axle nut with a breaker bar. It wasn’t very difficult to get off, but it was tightened. There was no existing grease so I didn’t add any, I just wiped it out with a towel. Since I don’t have a torque wrench that goes up to 180lb/ft, I torqued it with my breaker bar as tight as I could (just like the mobile service guy from earlier in the thread did). The noise was gone. Easy fix!nayr14 from Tesla Motors Club
If that doesn’t fix the click noise on your Model 3, maybe this will:
Some Tesla owners speculate that it has nothing at all to do with the braking system, but rather a gear ‘lash’ issue (lash being the little bit of movement inbetween two sets of lubricated gears). By jacking up the corner of the Model 3 and rotating the wheel (or brake rotor if the wheel is removed) back and forth you can replicate the ticking noise each time the rotation direction is changed. [this may be a different clicking noise then the clicking caused by the axle nut]
Model 3P with performance brakes – after driving hard, my brakes have faded and don’t feel the same
As the brake system heats up, the brake rotor transfers heat to other parts of the system. Heat can affect the brake pads, but typically only temporarily. If you are still experiencing brake problems after a cool down period, it’s likely that your brake fluid boiled and there are now bubbles in the system. Try flushing the system out with high performance brake fluid with a higher boiling point.
What’s the minimum clearance I need between my Telsa Model 3 aftermarket wheels and the brake calipers?
2mm is the minimum recommended spacing between your calipers and wheels. In snowy/salty/sandy climates, you may want more clearance to prevent pieces getting stuck or twisted through the area. If 2mm is too close for you, then go for more!
Will Tesla Model 3 18″ aero wheels fit over the Performance brake caliper?
A 18″ aero owner upgraded his non-performance brakes to the Tesla Performance brakes, and managed to fit the front performance calipers and 355mm rotors insite the 18″ aero wheels. src
Do the Tesla Model 3 Performance brake calipers (Brembo) offer any practical advantages over the standard brakes?
The real difference in the Model 3 Brembo performance brakes is their ability to stand up to repeated stops on a track or other hard driving situations. The bigger calipers mean that bigger brake pages will feat, which means they will take more braking sessions before heating up.
The stock standard brakes on the Model 3 offer more than enough stopping power to activate the ABS, which means that you are losing braking power because the tires are sliding on the road surface, not because the brakes aren’t big enough.
The performance brake rotors are also lighter than the standard Tesla Model 3 brake rotors, resulting in less un-sprung mass and less rotating weight – increasing torque that can be delivered to the ground. Each performance 2-piece rotor is approximately 3lbs lighter than the non-performance rotors.
Tesla Model 3 Aftermarket Brake Upgrades
Upgrade your non-performance Model 3 to have the performance brakes
It is possible – the front non-performance brakes can be upgraded to performance brakes without issue, but the rear performance brakes may require a jumper harness to prevent from showing error codes. src Seems that it is a parking brake wiring harness from the MP3 that is needed src
For the rear brakes, if you wish to upgrade just the rotors to the performance rotor and leave the base caliper the same then you can skip the need for the wiring harness. Tesla official part numbers for the performance rear brake harnesses are 1098480-00-D & 1098481-00-D.
If Tesla stock Performance brake rotors are too expensive, you can also look at MountainPassPerformance rotors that are stock dimensions.
AP Racing Big Brake Kits
AP Racing makes a few different big brake upgrade kits for the Tesla model 3 that are compatible with all versions of the Model 3. Weight savings can be substantial (up to 6 lbs) with the larger but lighter front brake calipers and rotors. Or, for the largest rotors, go for their Road & Track kit that fits behind the stock 20″ Tesla wheels.
Brembo big brake kit for the front of Tesla Model 3
Brembo makes a front big brake kit for the Tesla Model 3. It includes a huge 6-piston mono-block forged aluminum caliper (the Tesla Performance caliper is 4-pistons). The rotors are larger at 355 mm and are available in a slotted, cross-drilled, or Type III style
Mountain Pass Performance upgraded Model 3 brakes
For AWD and RWD Model 3s that are performance models, MountainPass offers a front rotor big brake upgrade kit that uses all the stock brake components and comes with a relocation bracket to put the calipers in the correct position for the larger and lighter 2-piece rotors.
MPP also makes a rear rotor kit that has rotors with the same diameter and thickness as the stock rotors, but has a lightweight aluminum tophat and curved directional vanes for improved cooling.