When it comes to your vehicle’s braking system, several components are responsible for helping your vehicle come to a stop. On a vehicle with front disc brakes and rear brake drums, one such component is the brake proportioning valve. In short, this special valve (which can sometimes be referred to as an equalizer valve) is tasked with controlling the amount of pressure between your front and rear brakes, ensuring you always come to a stop safely.

Typically, this balance is determined by how much brake pressure you apply to the pedal at any given time. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case, as some racing applications use an adjustable brake proportioning valve to dial in the brake performance on the drag strip or track. It’s also worth noting that these valves typically aren’t universal, so always make sure to check that you’re selecting the correct part for your make and model. Nevertheless, whichever type of brake proportioning valve you need, we’ve partnered with Advance Auto Parts to help you select the right components for your application.

Here’s a closer look at five of the top brake proportioning valve brands.

Dorman Brake Proportioning Valve

Dorman Brake Proportioning Valve

If you’re a regular AutoGuide reader, you’ll know that Dorman OE Solutions’ components are usually found on our “frequent flyer list” of recommended auto parts, and this Dorman brake proportioning valve is no exception. Offering a favorable limited lifetime replacement warranty for added peace of mind, this brake proportioning valve makes a great replacement for a worn, old, or failing valve.

Made from durable aluminum and featuring rubber o-rings to prevent brake fluid from leaking out of the valve, these Dorman units are also subject to rigorous quality control measures, so you count on this valve to last a long time. Lastly, this brake proportioning valve is designed to be a direct replacement for your old one, ensuring a proper fit during installation.

Product Features:

  • Much stronger than OEM counterparts, thanks to metal construction
  • Limited lifetime replacement warranty

ACDelco Brake Proportioning Valve

ACDelco Brake Proportioning Valve
ACDelco is another legendary OEM-style parts supplier worth mentioning, as many of their components are used as OEM replacements for companies like General Motors. ACDelco’s brake proportioning valve offers a one-year warranty (if the part is found to be defective) and is designed specifically for certain vehicle applications. When replacing your existing brake proportioning valve, you can rest assured knowing that your new one from ACDelco will provide the same performance, durability, and service life as the original part.

This also means the new valve shouldn’t require any modifications for a proper installation and fit. However, you may want to compare your old brake proportioning valve with your new one from ACDelco before installing. Again, since these parts are not universal, you’ll want to make sure the new valve has the same overall look and construction before getting rid of the old component.

Product Features:

  • OEM-quality part
  • Standard replacement warranty

Genuine Brake Proportioning Valve

Genuine Brake Proportioning Valve

This brake proportioning valve from Genuine is another favorable solution, and one key reason for this is its metal construction. Most older vehicles utilize a plastic version from the factory, which isn’t always ideal, as plastic is susceptible to failure over time due to heat, harsh weather conditions, and general aging. With metal construction however, your chances of cracking the brake proportioning valve due to the reasons listed above are drastically decreased.

Another reason why we like this brake proportioning valve from Genuine is because the unit is clearly marked with “flow arrows” on each side of the housing, indicating what direction brake fluid needs to flow to operate properly. This is important because if the housing is installed backwards, the unit can become severely damaged, which can wreak havoc on your braking system. Ensure the unit is facing the right direction before final installation thanks to the helpfully-included flow arrows however, and you should be good to go.

Product Features:

  • Installation direction casted onto the housing
  • One-year replacement warranty if defective

ATE Brake Proportioning Valve

ATE Brake Proportioning Valve

Fans of BMWs are undoubtedly very familiar with the ATE brand, considering they make quality OEM replacement parts for many ’80s and ’90s BMW models. Fortunately, ATE doesn’t just make brake proportioning valves for BMWs; they have several different solutions for other European makes and models, such as Volkswagen and Audi, to name a few. It’s also worth noting that ATE has been used for these same brands as OEM equipment, so whether you’re replacing a failed brake proportioning valve or just looking to upgrade, you’re looking at OEM-level quality.

Equally important to consider: this brake proportioning valve from ATE looks to be made from cast iron, and as mentioned above, most car components made of any type of metal are always preferable to their plastic counterparts—by a longshot. Also, much like the other components on our list, ATE offers a one-year replacement warranty to guard against potential defects, for added insurance.

Product Features:

  • Metal construction provides added durability
  • One-year replacement warranty standard

OES Genuine Brake Proportioning Valve

OES Genuine Brake Proportioning Valve

This brake proportioning valve from OES Genuine is another great choice for anyone looking to replace an aging valve. Since, like the options mentioned above, this is also made of metal, it should hold up far better than many of the OEM counterparts out there. Another feature worth mentioning is that while most of the choices on our list offer a one-year warranty, this unit from OES Genuine does one better with a two-year replacement warranty.

Generally speaking, OES Genuine components are typically made for Japanese vehicles like Honda and Toyota. However, you should be able to find a replacement unit for your car with a little searching. As always though, we recommend comparing your new brake proportioning valve to your old OEM counterpart to verify fitment before installation.

Product Features:

  • Restores proper brake functions
  • Two-year replacement warranty

How do I know if my vehicle is equipped with a brake proportioning valve?

As we mentioned earlier, brake proportioning valves are typically found on vehicles with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. However, if your vehicle is newer and/or isn’t a base model or otherwise entry-level vehicle, chances are your vehicle is probably equipped with disc brakes on all four corners. This doesn’t necessarily mean your vehicle isn’t equipped with a brake proportioning valve though.

Most new vehicles are equipped with front and rear disc brakes and rely on an antilock braking system (ABS) in conjunction with wheel speed sensors (WSS) to control the proportioning level of the front and rear brakes. However, some vehicles with four-wheel disc brakes still utilize a special type of brake proportioning valve known as an inline proportioning valve located after the brake master cylinder. So it’s always important to first identify what type of brake proportioning valve your vehicle utilizes before purchasing any new parts.

What are the signs a brake proportioning valve needs to be replaced?

Brake Warning Light

Photo credit: vchal / Shutterstock.com

There are a few telltale signs that you’re in need of a new brake proportioning valve. One of the most common ones is if your vehicle’s rear wheels lock up during firm braking. This is because little-to-no pressure is reaching the rear brakes which, as a result, leaves only the front brakes to take the brute of braking. It probably goes without saying that this scenario isn’t a safe one and could easily result in an accident.

This problem can become exacerbated in wet weather conditions, which could be extremely dangerous. In an ideal situation, a properly-working brake proportioning valve would apply the correct amount of brake fluid to both the front and rear wheels, ensuring your vehicle can brake properly, especially in emergency situations.

Why is it better to replace than repair?

There’s a case to be made when it comes to replacing vs. repairing your old or worn existing brake proportioning valve, and our money’s on replacement. For starters, the cost of replacing typically far outweighs the cost of repairing. And if you’re not the most mechanically inclined, it’s a job best left to the professionals. The last thing you want to deal with is a non-functioning braking system.

Since many of the brake proportioning valve brands we’ve listed above come standard with a one-, two-year, or even a limited lifetime warranty, we believe it just makes more sense to replace your existing part if needed. Having a brand-new, tested, and warrantied replacement part installed offers much more peace of mind when compared to rebuilding an original part they may have failed in the past.

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Main photo credit: happycreator / Shutterstock.com