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Brake Pad Wear and Modern Torque Vectoring Systems: What You Need to Know

Because the point of torque vectoring is to improve grip and stability at higher speeds, it's safe to assume there will be more brake pad wear.

If you are a high performance car fan, you know about torque vectoring. It’s a differential delivering different torque to each of the wheels. The big question is:

How Does Torque Vectoring Affect Brake Pad Wear?

As with just about everything, it depends on your driving style. But it’s safe to say that high performance cars are rarely driven like your grandma’s ’73 Dart. Because the point of torque vectoring is to improve grip and stability at higher speeds, it’s also fair to assume there will be more brake pad wear. Beyond that, there will be different kinds of wear. Without torque vectoring, both front brake pads will typically wear evenly. The rear brake pads will also wear evenly, but the deterioration will be slower because most of the braking is done by the front wheels.

Factor in an all-wheel-drive performance car with torque vectoring, and you could potentially see the four brake pads wearing at entirely separate rates.Close-up of a car's brake disk

And there’s more to it than that. Cars driven on oval tracks will see a higher rate of wear on the inner rear wheel’s brake pad. Why? The outer wheel of a car is tracking a larger radius than the inner wheel when the car is in a turn. And all of the car has to get through the turn at the same time. That means the outer wheel has to go faster than the inner wheel, so torque vectoring applies braking to the inner wheel. And that means that the inner rear wheel’s brake pad will wear more quickly.

It’s Not Just Performance Cars

High-end crossovers and off-road vehicles like Jaguars and Land Rovers have started to use torque vectoring as well. While locking differentials have been off-road staples for decades, the appeal of torque vectoring is for on-road, foul weather use — allowing SUV drivers to go around corners in the wet at higher speeds with greater stability and precision. The same principles and mechanics apply to high-performance cars; they’re just aimed at a different buyer. Jaguar and Land Rover are even up front about how it’s done. They call their system “Torque Vectoring by Brake.”

I Want It

If you’re looking for the handling characteristics torque vectoring offers, you need to prepare for more frequent and less predictable brake pad replacements. Be sure to have your brake pads checked often, especially in the early days of owning a vehicle with torque vectoring.

Brake pad wear can lead to brake fade at a critical moment on the road or on the track. Make sure you know where you stand.

Check out all the brake system products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on brake pad wear, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Mike Hagerty View All

Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and Previous outlets have included KFBK and in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and

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