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Great Braking Matters: Jeep Wrangler

great braking matters jeep wrangler 1 - Great Braking Matters: Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a series of compact and mid-size off-road SUVs that have been in continuous production since 1986. It’s currently in its fourth generation, which entered production for the 2018 model year. The 2014 Wrangler JK belongs to the third generation, produced for the 2005 to 2017 model years.


The JK was the Wrangler’s first clean-sheet design for the body, frame and suspension. The most significant new features for this generation include electronically detachable sway bars for some trim levels, power windows, remote door locks and an on-board navigation system. The Unlimited model was also introduced in this generation, which has four doors and a longer wheelbase. This model was highly successful, accounting for ¾ of Wrangler’s sales by the end of its third generation.

Off-road Features

The JK Wrangler is off-road ready in stock form, incorporating new braking features like an anti-lock braking system (ABS) tuned for off-road use and traction control with an electronic limited slip differential. Virtually all vehicle functions are under software control except for steering, including engine, transmission and braking to a lesser extent.

The Rubicon trim is specifically designed for off-road driving, largely due to its 32-inch Goodrich Mud-Terrain KM tires. These tires have an aggressive tread that grips rough terrain like rock and gravel. Standard equipment for the Rubicon trim also includes Dana 44 axles in the front and rear, along with a four-wheel-drive (4WD) transmission that has a 4:1 transfer case. Additional features of the Rubicon’s transmission include a 4.10 axle gear, 8.8-inch ring gear and 32-spline rear axle.

2014 Refresh

The 2014 model year was a major refresh for the JK Wrangler, with off-road changes like the addition of a Trail Kit. These items include a tow strap, two D-rings, gloves and a storage bag. The Rubicon X trim is also available with a 32-inch Tire and Wheel Group, which includes 17-inch aluminum wheels in semi-gloss black with BF Goodrich KM LT255/75R17 off-road tires. In addition, this trim has off-road steel bumpers in the front and rear that are winch-capable with removable end caps. Other off-road features of the Rubicon X trim include Mopar rock rails, red tow hooks, axle locker, sway-bar disconnect switches, axle locker, and Mopar slush mats.

great braking matters jeep wrangler 2 - Great Braking Matters: Jeep Wrangler

Aftermarket Braking Systems

Wrangler owners often experience problems with their stock brakes, especially when they go off-roading. These problems generally relate to the accumulation of heat, which impairs the effectiveness of braking systems in various ways. OEM brakes are designed for occasional braking on a relatively flat surface. However, off-road driving frequently requires hard, sustained braking, which converts the kinetic energy of spinning brake discs into heat. Long, steep descents are the most common cause of OEM brakes overheating during off-roading.

Increased vehicle mass is another cause of inadequate braking, as dedicated off-road vehicles are often heavier than their paved-road counterparts. Aftermarket additions like larger wheels and tires, steel bumpers, brush guards, roof racks and tire carriers can easily add hundreds of pounds to a stock Wrangler’s curb weight. Off-road vehicles also tow travel trailers in many cases, further increasing their braking requirements.

In addition to taking longer to stop, common symptoms of overheating brakes include a soft or pulsating feel to the brake pedal. These signs are strong indicators that the braking system lacks the thermal capacity to manage the load being put on it. Discs designed for off-roading need to be larger, allowing them to distribute heat more effectively. They should also maximize the flow of air through them, which is essential for preventing overheating. Larger brake pads with a higher operating temperature are another upgrade to consider when modifying your Wrangler for off-roading.

great braking matters jeep wrangler 3 - Great Braking Matters: Jeep Wrangler

Big Brake Kits

Finally, the Big Brake Kit. If you’re taking your Jeep Wrangler off-road and you want the best performance out of your vehicle, this is the mother of all solutions to get your rig to stop when you absolutely need it to. Supercharge your Wrangler with our Big Brake Kit, which boosts both the look and performance of your vehicle. When you upgrade your vehicle’s stock parts, you need a more powerful braking system where all the components work together to help you stop quickly without straining your system.

The brake caliper is the driving force behind your brake system (or rather, the stopping force). Calipers press the brake pads against the rotors to slow your wheels. If your calipers and rotors are not big enough, it will take longer for your vehicle to stop. Our calipers grip intensely for the fastest possible stop from high-speed driving or if your rig is facing a steep incline/decline and you need to hold position.

R1 Concepts’ larger, more powerful brake pads perform better in all weather conditions. The more powerful brake rotors withstand the pressure without overheating, so they last longer and contribute less wear and tear to the overall system.

Finally, our Big Brake Kits are big and powerful. The bolt-on design makes for easy installation, although stock wheels may not be large enough to accommodate these brakes (bigger wheels or spacers may be required). You may request a template to confirm fitment of your wheels. R1 Concepts is not liable for wheel fitment.

If you’re interested in R1 Concepts’ Big Brake Kit please visit our website here and get a quote today!

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