Check Out These Toasted Tesla Model 3 Brakes

Worn out Tesla Model 3 brake pads


Them’s the brakes

The Tesla Model 3 was not built to set lap records straight out of the box. So, what happens if you run it at high speeds for multiple orbits of a course like, say, Laguna Seca? Well, as we learned last week from owner Matt Crowley who did just that, on your fourth go-round you can find yourself arriving at turn two at over 100 miles an hour and learn that your brakes have given up the ghost.  Not ideal.

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Worn out Tesla Model 3 brake pads

Toasted Tesla Model 3 brake pad

While the brake pads Tesla equips the Model 3 with may be just fine for regular street use, and will likely last many tens of thousands of miles — regenerative braking bears the brunt of the slow-down stress under typical conditions — on a track the story is far different. A little math tells us the pads were gone after negotiating 45 turns in just nine miles.

What do worn out brakes on a Model 3 look like? We’re glad you asked. Mr. Crowley posted the above video to show us the damage down before he sends it off to the Service Center for new pads all around, and, quite possibly, front rotors.

In the process, we also get a step-by-step guide to removing the pads, plus a look at the new progressive coil springs from Unplugged Performancethat Crowley had fitted, which lower the car by 1.5 inches.

To avoid the situation like this, we suggest looking into a higher spec brake pad, as well as a high-temp brake fluid. Braided steel brake lines wouldn’t be a bad idea either, just to be on the safe side.

Source: YouTube

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94 Comments on "Check Out These Toasted Tesla Model 3 Brakes"

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I see a market for aftermarket Model 3 big brake kits.

Not surprising, really.


Or wait for the proper “P” version of the Model 3 for hardcore track days.

This is like taking a BMW 328i to the track, and wondering why it doesn’t have the track day brake performance of the BMW M3.

The Performance version of the Model 3 will come some time after they have production under control (as reported here in Insideev’s):

That’s the one folks will have to wait for if they want to hot lap Laguna Seca with more than just a set of aftermarket springs, like this driver attempted.

Mulon Esk

Now that’s garbage.


No, it is what happens when you race a street car not setup for it. I don’t think people realize how demanding that is. Also, pads setup to perform well in a panic stop on the street, often won’t hold up well on the track, and pads suitable for racing perform bad on the street as they never get hot enough.


Overgeneraltization. I’ve done several track days in the past, even on tracks like Sebring that are really hard on brakes.

I’ve never trashed the factory brakes like that, even after two day events and in the summer in Florida. I do a track day/weekend, and drive home on the same brakes.

This was a few laps in cool weather.


What were you driving, and what was your top speed on the track?


Probably speaks more for your rubbish performance on the track LMAO


I am not familiar with the driver and this course, but maybe the driver was pushing the car differently than you would do.

Bottom line is no OEM makes their own brakes anyway. The point here is that these obviously weren’t selected for track use, and I think it might be that the Tesla’s have too much power for their brakes, and a lot more weight.

They are probably under-sized for racing. I am not disagreeing with that.

Also, what car were you doing a track day with, was it a 4000 lb sedan?


Blaine — Did you get a performance oriented trim level for your ICE car? For example, are you tracking a BMW M3 vs. a 328i?

The current Model 3 that is available isn’t Tesla’s performance version of the Model 3. That is coming some time in the future.

Performance versions of most ICE cars will indeed provide very different results than standard versions. An A4 won’t do as well as an S4, etc.

If you are driving a non-performance trim at the track, then I would bet on driver aggression being the difference. This driver’s standard track car is Porsche Cayman GT4 track car which had a check engine light come on the day before the event. So he took his Model 3 instead.

So this driver’s performance level is likely much higher considering the GT4 experience, if you don’t even have a performance trim of your ICE vehicle.

William L.

There will be a huge after market M3 parts, top of the list will be HUD or a instrument display, it’s not only safer, and it saves spaces for center display for other stuffs.


There indeed will be a Huge market for Tesla Parts Because Tesla “Will Not” Sell People Or Their Technicians Parts, Unless Tesla Installs them At Obscene Prices, Along with an Obscene $175USD Tesla hourly Rates . The Government should Step in & STOP this Tesla Scam, there should be a Law where the consumer can buy Parts from Tesla reasonably & Choose who repairs His or Her TeslaOnce the Warantee Expires . This will for sure Cost Tesla Many new Car Sales & rightfully So, I for One. this is an absurd way of doing business, Especially with a Problem Riddled Unproven Product such as Tesla.


BTW,I Love Tesla Cars . I still am willing to wait & give Tesla a Chance to Get Their SH!T together & Improve Their Manufacturing & parts Quality ..But this Parts & Repair Scam after the Warrantee Expires is a Deal Breaker for me Unless There are changes in the near Future.


That was my reaction, too. His brake pads were entirely gone, but he just kept speeding around the race track? Talk about an accident waiting to happen! I hope there wasn’t anybody else driving on the track at the time.

And scraping bare metal on the brake rotors is a good way to ruin them, too.


Can’t believe that could of happened on a “one day event” out at the track,is that even possible?.


Looks like the Russian trolls are out in full force today.


Love the Random capitalization In Your informative Post. But you Don’t end Every sentence With an Exclamation point!!! Please improve by Reference to comments By that Other guy…

earl colby pottinger

Wow, it is clear you never tried buying original manufacturer parts for your cars then.

When I had an accident with my GM truck they wanted $600 for a side panel, a third party panel was only $250 and I got one from the local scrap yard (wrong colour) for $50.

You scream about Tesla, but the fact is all the car manufacturers charge you thru the nose.

Another Euro point of view

One trick pony…

Don’t be modest…i’m sure you know more than one trick.


He’s a one trick phony


This makes it appear one shouldn’t track the Model 3, but really, you’d have to select quite the soft pad material to be down to metal in 45 turns!

Time for a different compound. Good luck finding it.

Alonso Perez

We don’t know how many miles the car had going in, nor how they were driven. There is a good chance that a track enthusiast would already be pretty hard on his car in “normal” driving.


I’m not Tesla fan, but wouldn’t jump on blaming Tesla on it. I would assume they use some “standard” brake pad supplier like everybody else. It may be that the pad just fall off, or driver didn’t have noticed squeaking sound at the end of brake pad when metal sides start to touch disk for some reason, or stupidly kept driving.

Anyway, don’t assume that every EV with good 0-60 times is automatically good for track, whatever idiot fanboys or stock pumpers try to brainwash on you. Braking and accelerating are two different things, and for track you need both and more, or you may go dead at next turn.


“I would assume they use some “standard” brake pad supplier like everybody else. ”

You are correct. The brake pads are very clearly marked “Brembo” in the video. They aren’t the performance version of Brembo’s brake pad, and this isn’t the performance version of the Model 3. Even the driver of the car says that the pads are perfectly fine for everyday driving and emergency stops in his own comments section of this embedded video. They were just pushed beyond their designed heat range. Every brake pad has a heat range.


Two Words……JUNK PARTS !


Idiot owner


That too, A bad combination. Organic Pads ? I understand they wear out like crazy .

Texas FFE

The Model 3 is supposed to compete with the BMW 3 Series, how many laps can a BMW 3 Series take before the brakes burn up?

Robert Weekley

Right! Also, a ‘Retail’ BMW 3 Series! And, since this is not a ‘P’ version, or ‘Performance’ version of the Model 3, Specifically, just an example of a ‘Run what you brung’ moment, maybe a mid level 328 or so, stock, for comparison.


I tracked my stock 335d (diesel) pretty regularly over the course of the 3 year lease, including one 3 day stretch at Laguna. I never had to even replace the pads in 3 years.

I’ve seen people bring pretty mundane rental cars to track weekends and have only seen one suffer brake loss (a Mustang).


We have no idea what this guy did prior to the track but clearly he abused the hell out of them in short order.


Following the link in the article back, I come to an InsideEVs article from three weeks ago, where they tested a Model 3 on a dynamo.

I don’t think this car is as “new” as you seem to think it is. And we have no way of knowing how heavily it was abused — or not — before being abused on the racetrack that day.

However, given the fact that this driver ignored the squealing of the brakes as the pads were worn down to nothing, and perhaps then ignored the metal-on-metal scraping sound after the worn-out pads fell off, I think it’s safe to conclude that this is a driver who abuses his cars.


Think you mean ‘DYNO’ for ‘dynamometer’.
Not ‘dynamo’ the old fashioned DC generator.


Any 3series BMW with BMW brakes will lap the course just fine. bMW has the best brakes and brake pads of any car ever driven, I know I’ve had three. That being said the Model 3 is not the BMW but who cares,I have never driven on a track in a street car and never will. I commute the LA pothole system with my Tesla Model 3 and usually get to work without using the brakes at all

F150 Brian

Sure, regular duty gear does not cut it on a track, but if that happened after just 9 miles (as stated in the article) then that is just pathetic.

A short trip on steep mountain passes will provide similar conditions. Ouch.


Only if you’re a fool. Cooking your brakes on a mountain is real amateur hour stuff.

Regen for the win.

Eric Cote

Doesn’t the Model 3 not have blended braking? So if you don’t want to run in Low, you’ll cook the brakes. That seems unfortunate.


Why on Earth would you run without regen on? For racing it might make sense, but for going down a mountain, it’s the hight of insanity.


I beg to differ – I drove a Leaf up Pikes Peak, on the way down I barely touched the brake pedal due to the strength of the regenerative braking. For comparison – regenerative braking is almost twice as strong on Tesla’s due to the bigger battery pack and more powerful motors.

Likewise, driving down long steep grades like right after going through Eisenhower tunnel on I70 in Colorado doesn’t require using brakes at all – as the regenerative braking is able to absorb all the excess speed (aka energy) and store it in the battery.

Brian Kent

Pics or it didn’t happen lol


Being RWD, the current batch of Tesla Model 3’s don’t get much regen brake effect, which puts more load on the friction front brakes.

I wonder if the AWD version will use the front motor for regen and improve the regen braking percentage?


I seem to recall that he disabled regenerative braking for the track runs.

It does bring up a point that was worrying me. While so far automakers have been using standard parts for brakes, once they are designing for new cars, like the Model 3, they can skimp on them since regeneration makes them last longer. So much for never having to do a brake job.

Robert Weekley

The Tesla Roadster was Rear Wheel Drive, as were the first 50,000 or so Model S’s built! No arguments suggesting they had poor regen capacity, have I heard about over the last 6 years on sites like this, or others.

Plus, may ‘Tesla Friends’, with previous Single motor Models, and including one with a couple Roadsters, who let me drive his S 85, had said Regen was ‘not happening’ because it was ‘Only RWD!’ It was stong enough for me, but I was not driving on a race track, though there are many a 1/4 Mile and 1/8 mile race videos of Tesla’s, that one could inquire their braking life experience!

Tesla defaults to quite strong Regen, but you can set a lighter level on the S, but I haven’t heard if it can be shut right off in any Tesla before! (As is suggested here!)

John M

“The Tesla Roadster was Rear Wheel Drive, as were the first 50,000 or so Model S’s built! No arguments suggesting they had poor regen capacity, have I heard about over the last 6 years on sites like this, or others.”

You can get by with only rear wheel regen for regular use, but on a track (really strong braking), most of the braking HAS to be done at the front, or you’ll lose a lot of performance and risk losing the rear. And drag racing doesn’t put nearly as much stress on the brakes as a track.


As I understand it, the limitation with regen on Tesla cars isn’t so much that they are rear wheel drive. It’s more that using the brake pedal always engages the friction brakes, just as it does with an ordinary gasmobile. Tesla does not engineer their cars to use only regen for light braking, as some other EV makers do.

Tesla installs a standard braking system, such as is found on gasmobiles, in their cars. That’s not to say that Tesla does not supplement it with regenerative braking (which uses the motor rather than the friction brakes), but altho regen would normally reduce wear-and-tear on brake pads, any time you push on the brake pedal in a Tesla car, it does engage the friction brakes. However, in the case under discussion, the driver disabled regenerative braking, so that didn’t help at all here.


Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Doesn’t matter if the car is FWD or RWD, the motor will do loads of regen and spare the brakes in typical use.


I can understand pads would overheat and crack. But worn out completely after 9 miles of lap racing seems to be excessive even for a stock car. That is a bit much. Also, it could be that temperature rating of the pad is low which would be considered as “soft”. It would be quieter though. That could be what Tesla was going for.

Does Tesla have extra thin pads that come stock on the Model 3? Doesn’t anyone know the spec of it?


He must have driven the crap out of it.


Everyone I know who tracks cars built for the streets uses race pads when they track it. Why would the Model 3 be any different?

If Tesla put high temp brake pads on the car they would be garbage on the street because they would never get up to temp.


Yep. The pads on an EV will almost always be cold. Regen will be the rule of the day.


You are right this is an Street car, if you want to race it modification are needed, EVs don’t wear pads as Gas cars. I just waiting for the typical “ The autobahn commentator ” 99.999% of the owners won’t ever drive on it, in fact never been there.


I drive on the autobahn. Now you need to find 100000 people, who dont. Nevertheless you do brake only rarely hard on the autobahn. Its more like a steady flow. But on sloped mountain rides, wherd it is fun to push your car, Teslas brakes would be done in minutes. But maybe not all pads are like this one.


Those are Brembo Pads, so not the worst stock pads. He clearly overcooked the stock pads by driving his 3 beyond the abilities of the stock compound. And yes it can be done in several passes.

I’d love to read what the service center has to say…

Abuse comes to mind.


Tracking is NOT covered by warranty, that’s for sure.


Nope it wasn’t. He should’ve just bought new pads and done it the right way the first time. The cheap comes out expensive every single time.


Watch video. He talks about the fact he should’ve put different brake pads on. But taking the 3 to the track was a spur of the moment thing.


I don’t time to watch aimless video by people hanging out at unemployment beach lol

Tim Miser

How do you buy track pads if you can’t buy parts for the M3?


Tesla uses Bremo brakes in its cars. Bremo is a major supplier of brake systems for gasmobile makers, so those are probably off-the-shelf items which can easily be found at most or all auto supply stores.

Tim Miser

Yeah but are they?


They look very similar to the shape of Subaru WRX STI pads to me. If so, whatever compound they use for the STI would likely be a better match for the track. Brembo could probably answer whether they might work. I highly doubt that they built a whole new pad just for Tesla, so there are likely cross-match pad sizes that would work.

Robert Weekley

Brembo Brakes? I thought that was stated as used on the New Roadster, not on the Model 3! Maybe he got the two cars mixed up in his head?


It says Brembo on the Model 3 Brake Pad in the video.

Hard to miss.


I’m pretty sure Tesla uses Bremo brakes on the Model S, if not other models too.

Not surprising they’re using the same manufacturer for Model 3 brakes. I do understand why Tesla chose a proven supplier for its brake systems. Brakes are a safety-critical system, and Tesla probably doesn’t want to try to re-invent the wheel in that area. I think that’s wise, altho I do wish Tesla would engineer its cars so that most braking was regenerative braking rather than friction braking.


No major automaker makes their own brakes. They will all contract them out to Brembo, Akebono, StopTech, etc.

Laguna Seca is a high speed race track and ALL street cars running on a high speed track like that will toast their street spec brakes as well as the rotors and boil their brake fluid too. It’s not unusual for a street car to go through a set of pads, rotors, tires and require brake fluid replacement after track racing for a weekend. That’s why tracking your street car is expensive. There’s nothing here that is unique to a Model 3. In other news, those dual rate springs don’t looks so good either. With the wheel off the ground, the unloaded spring has bound up the high rate section at the bottom. By “bound up” I mean that the coils are touching each other and no longer act as a spring. That isn’t good. Should have designed a progressive rate spring that was as long as the stock spring so the shock piston would stay centered and not use up compression travel. If you truly want to lower the car the right way, then you must design shorter shocks that center the piston at the new ride height. Oh, why do I even bother. Hey, anyone interested in doing… Read more »
Robert Weekley

Remember, this is not Tesla’s version of the Model 3 for ‘Performance’, so this whole thing is a bit premature, and impatient!

This is what happens when boys with toys get ahead of themselves!

In 1984, had a used Mazda RX7, an ’83 GSL-SE, that I bought ‘On Consignment’ via a dealer, that the previous owner had added an Arkay Turbo System to, bumping up that little ’12A’ Wankel, from its Stock 100 Hp, to 205 Hp!

In 3 Months, with 30,000 Kms / 20,000 Miles added, and a variety of 100 Mph / 160 Kph Mountain Climbs, 125 Mph / 200 Kph Cruises, and Blasts to Redline and 135 Mph / 215 Kph, in the various Mountain Roads of BC & Alberta, managed to fry and break an Apex Seal on the Forward Rotor, so understand a bit about ‘Boys & Toys!’ It was an ‘Educating Moment’, when it blew! 😀


The day he did the track event the course was damp, you can see he was barely getting any drive out of turn 3 because of the river of water running across. He was only hitting around 115 on the front straight (that’s considerable less than many street cars will hit on a dry day), and the temps were quite cool. There’s no excuse for pad failure under those conditions.


Someone that has a clue. I have ridden sport bike at LS for years. Been a fairly fast rider in CMSP, racing int the Heavy Weight Twins class on my 1000CC TL1000. I have 100’s of laps at LS and even on a bike the stock pads are junk in just a few laps. Cars are even worse. More weight, more energy to bleed off.
This is exactly what I would expect from a street set of brakes. In his video on the track day the Model 3 was a last minute change of vehicles and wasn’t his normal ride. He just was out for a day on the track and this happened and I thought it was cool.

My biggest concern is that it has been a few years since I have been there and theoak tree I used as a target for entering the cork screw is gone! How would I set my turn entry. 🙂


Not a very good article, how about a comparison to other cars so it has more relevance than just “Model 3 brakes are sh** on the track”.
So far many articles are making out Model 3 is not that good except for their electric drive performance. So far the central screen and electric drivetrain are the big differences, how is the rest of the car by comparison?


Furthermore, nobody — neither the writer of this article nor (so far as I can see) anybody posting a comment — bothered to ask a basic question:

Just how worn were the brake pads before this track day started? What are the odds this wasn’t the first time this car was subjected to this sort of abuse?


Here’s the video he took of the run that toasted the brakes.


There should be no excuse for this. If a Bolt EV (and many other EV’s) can run this track on stock brakes the Model 3 should be able to as well.


You don’t understand he abused them.

Good luck at the Tesla Service Center!



The fact it was 40 degrees and he still toasted the brakes….imagine if it was 80-90 degrees! Those brakes would have probably been gone in half the time!


The Model 3 is a lot more powerful than the Bolt EV, it is going to need a lot more powerful brakes. Not saying they aren’t undersized, but just because a different driver in the Bolt EV did it without toasting his brakes, doesn’t make it a fair comparison to the Model 3. It might be that this guy didn’t know what he was doing or something else.


“A little math tells us the pads were gone after negotiating 45 turns in just nine miles.”

Okay, but several comments here take as their fallacious assumption that the driver wore out a fresh set of brake pads in only nine miles of track driving.

We need to ask: Were the brake pads fresh, or nearly fresh, when the driver started his track run that day? Given that he was pretty clearly abusing the car by continuing to drive it when the brakes were scraping bare metal on metal — that is, the pads were completely gone — I think it’s much more likely that the car already had worn brake pads when he started that day. Perhaps badly worn, from previous abuse of the same type.


The pads didn’t wear out at all. They overheated way beyond what they are designed to tolerate and basically fell apart. Racing around a track is the complete opposite of what street pads are designed for. There’s no surprise for anyone with a clue that the brakes fell apart after a few laps on Laguna Seca.


Thanks for explaining that!

Not being much of a racing fan myself, I’m among the vast unwashed masses who “don’t have a clue” on this subject. 🙂

Brian D

This seems plausible, but, usually stock pads will overheat and fade to the point where they become completely ineffective, before they crumble. I don’t mean they don’t work well, I mean it will feel like the car has lost its brakes completely. At that point you’re stuck heading to the pit/paddock and cooling off. I still think we’re not being told the details of how this happened.


Kyuu — The pads on the video don’t show any signs of delamination, if that is what you are referring to.

The pad material clearly did overheat though, and once that happens, pads will wear exponentially faster. That is even true when a “sport” or “track” pad is overheated past their rated temperature.

Once you reach that point of overheating, it is like flicking a switch. As long as those brakes stay overheated, they will wear WAY faster than if they were within their intended heat range.

Usually when there is lamination failure between the pad material and the metal backing, it is when there are multiple hot/cold cycles (if that is the type of failure that you were referring to).

Mister Whompy

That’s nothing.
Wait till the wheels go whompy


Well Tesla Björn has sent his Tesla Model S and X around a racetrack,but his brakes did fine !

Brian D

Having driven Mid Ohio and Nelson Ledges at triple digit speeds, in two different cars, both on stock brakes, there’s no way the pad should be gone after 9 miles.

Either he was being incredibly abusive with left foot braking (will the Model 3 allow power to be applied while friction braking?), or, the pad material they have specified is far too soft, even for street use. Normally you get a weekend out of a set of pads on the track. That’s usually about 8 sessions that are around 20 minutes each. Meaning at least 200 miles of aggressive driving.

Honestly something is fishy here. I can’t imagine any brake manufacturer agreeing to make such a soft pad for Tesla. It’s not a compound they would have developed for anyone else. We don’t have the full story.


Without knowing what car you were driving, your comments are meaningless.

Did you track the performance version of the car, or the standard 4-door sedan version? Performance versions of ICE cars do better than non-performance versions too.

The performance version of the Model 3 is still on the way and won’t be out until later. Details are available in the insideev’s archives (ibid).

Barry Elkin

This is normal for a street car.I went though 3 sets of brake pads on a Volkswagen Scirocco during a weekend SCCA driving school.


I learned to drive in cars with manual transmission and used the technique of down shifting to augment the brakes. I got so used to it that even when driving automatics, I down shift a lot. On the many windy rods on the island where I live, I will down shift approaching a bend to decelerate and have the added advantage of more power on tap coming out of the bend.

I cannot imagine driving a vehicle with no retardation when you let off the accelerator and I’m sure I would actually find it kind of scary. Why on earth would anyone drive on a track with regen turned off. If anything I would want even stronger regen on the track.From what I have seen of Formula e, those cars are capable of very strong regen.Driving any EV around a race track without using regen just seems really dumb to me. Really, really stupid.


Turning off the regen was done to reduce the demand on the motor and battery cooling system.

It isn’t a completely faulty decision, but yes it indeed greatly increases the work the brakes have to do. Especially when compared with any ICE car that can harness engine compression braking.

At some point somebody will have to track test the performance version of the Model 3 (release date unknown) with both the regen on and off, and see if battery/motor overheating is more of a limitation than brake overheating.

The Model 3 motor/battery cooling system is completely different than the Model S/X system, and it might be that in the Performance version that the regen won’t cause overheating.

Mulon Esk

God I hate these Tesla fanboys..

Even my $1000 gas car would be able to do this without problems. Not designed for track either!


Thanks for admitting that you drive a $1000 dollar junker, and your opinion about cars you can never afford to own are meaningless. Now go back to your parent’s basement and have yourself some hotpockets for dinner.

Tronald Dump

This just proves how incompetent Tesla is as an automobile manufacturer and that the Model 3 is still a Beta-product. This car should never have been allowed to leave the factory. I respect Elon for what he is trying to do to disrupt the market (which it needs), but at what cost?


45 turns and the pads are destroyed? Unlikely. I doubt this was the first time those pads were on the track.

Chris Kopchick

Why are there three coils binding on the springs?