Determining the combination of brake calipers, pads, and rotors on your Tesla can be pretty confusing – especially with Tesla making updates on a seemingly random timeline.

In this article, we hope to answer any questions you might have with regard to which specific braking components are equipped on your Model S, 3, X, or Y, which will help you ensure you order the right brake pads or rotors for your vehicle when it is time to change them! Please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions.

Tesla Model 3 Brake Calipers:

There are two variants of the braking system on the Model 3 – Base and Performance. This has been unchanged since the start of production of the Model 3. Both rear calipers have an integrated parking brake, and both front calipers are fixed with four pistons.

AxleCaliper DescriptionBrake PadBrake RotorRotor WeightCaliper StyleApplication
FrontBrembo Base (Silver)3/Y Base320 x 25 mm One-Piece21.0 lbsFixed 4-PistonModel 3 SR, SR+, LR, LR AWD, Performance (Non-PUP)
RearMando Base (Silver)3/Y Base335 x 20 mm One-Piece16.9 lbsFloating 1-PistonModel 3 SR, SR+, LR, LR AWD, Performance (Non-PUP)
FrontBrembo Performance (Red)3/Y Performance355 x 25 mm Two-Piece19.2 lbsFixed 4-PistonModel 3 Performance (With PUP)
RearBrembo Performance (Red)3/Y Performance335 x 20 mm Two-Piece14.2 lbsFloating 1-PistonModel 3 Performance (With PUP)

As you can see in the chart, the notable differences are in the size of the front rotor, the design of the rotors (two-piece versus one-piece), and the aesthetic properties of the calipers (Red vs Silver). It is interesting to note that despite looking like a fixed caliper, the rear caliper on the Performance is simply a floating single-piston design with a fancy-looking outer clamshell!

Interestingly, it was possible to order a Model 3 Performance in 2018/2019 without the Performance Upgrade Package (PUP); these cars came with the Base (Silver) brakes, and are referred to as “Stealth” Model 3’s in the community.

Tesla Model 3 at Laguna Seca garages

Tesla Model Y Brake Calipers:

The Model Y is more complicated, there is a fair bit of crossover from the Model 3, but the configuration has also changed in the rear since the start of production.

AxleCaliper DescriptionBrake PadBrake RotorRotor WeightCaliper StyleApplication
FrontBrembo Performance (Silver)3/Y Performance355 x 25 mm One-Piece23.4 lbsFixed 4-PistonModel Y SR, LR AWD
RearMando Base (Silver)3/Y Base335 x 20 mm One-Piece17.2 lbsFloating 1-PistonModel Y SR, LR AWD
FrontBrembo Performance (Red)3/Y Performance355 x 25 mm One-Piece23.4 lbsFixed 4-PistonModel Y Performance
RearBrembo Performance (Red)3/Y Performance335 x 20 mm One-Piece17.2 lbsFloating 1-PistonModel Y Performance (up to 8/15/2022)
RearMando Base (Red)3/Y Base335 x 20 mm One-Piece17.2 lbsFloating 1-PistonModel Y Performance (post 8/15/2022)

The main difference is that there is no carryover for the rotors – they are all a one-piece design specific to Model Y. However, our MPP Model 3 two-piece rotor solutions are compatible with the Model Y. As you can see, Tesla uses the same brakes on the front axle – the only difference being the Performance comes with a nice Red powder-coating finish and the base does not.

The rear is a bit more complex. Up until recently, the Model Y Performance used the same rear Caliper as the Model 3 Performance. However, a change was made in August of 2022 – now the Performance Model Y uses the same base rear caliper as the AWD/SR Model Y and base Model 3, – with a Red cover over it – talk about cost savings! We sure don’t like caliper covers and it is disappointing to see Tesla resorting to that.

As with the Model 3, there was a brief period of early 2020 Model Y builds that could be configured as a Performance without the Performance braking system.

Tesla Model S/X Palladium Brake Systems:

Tesla does not offer multiple caliper options on the Model S and X. Both the Plaid and Long Range are equipped with the same brakes. The only exception is that the Model X is fitted with larger front rotors, utilizing different caliper placement on the upright. In addition, the rear brakes are a carryover from the 2018 change, when Tesla switched from a fixed caliper in the rear to a floating slider with an integrated parking brake.

AxleCaliper DescriptionBrake PadBrake RotorRotor WeightCaliper StyleApplication
FrontBrembo (Black)Palladium Base380 x 32mm One-Piece27.8 lbsFixed 4-PistonPalladium Model S Long Range, Plaid
FrontBrembo (Black)Palladium Base395 x 32 One-Piece27.8 lbsFixed 4-PistonPalladium Model X Long Range, Plaid
RearMando (Black)Palladium Base365 x 28mm One-Piece20.5 lbsFloating 1-Piston2017+ Model S/X Long Range, Plaid

As you will notice, the rotors on the Long Range & Plaid Model S & X are quite a bit larger and thicker than those found on the 3 & Y. This is a significant requirement in handling the heavier and more powerful platform. Interestingly, Tesla chose not to implement a two-piece design. This results in a rather heavy rotor. A lot of thermal mass, but the lack of curved vanes inside the rotor means that the ability to shed heat is marginal for extended high speed driving.

Tesla Model S Plaid Front 400mm Big Brake Kit Caliper Rotor

Brake Fluid:

At the time of writing, all Tesla’s come from the factory with DOT3 brake fluid – regardless of whether you have an SR+ Model 3 or a Plaid Model X! We recommend flushing the brake fluid every two years for a street-driven car. For aggressive street or track use (we cannot say this enough) – the brake fluid must be upgraded to a high-performance fluid such as Castrol SRF or Pagid RBF. Degraded brake fluid can boil in as little as ONE high-speed braking application on an extremely powerful car like a Palladium Model S. Even with high-quality fluid, once enough moisture is absorbed the boiling point drops drastically. That is why it is so critical to flush your brake fluid regularly if you’re planning on doing any kind of high-performance driving.

Concluding Thoughts:

It is clear to see that there is a fair bit of carryover with Tesla’s braking system, as there is with many of their parts. Despite the legitimate claims against Tesla for using inadequate brake fluid and street-only pads, the factory caliper options are quite potent when paired with the correct fluid, pad, and rotor hardware upgrades!

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