Understanding the inner workings of your car might help you know when it needs to go into the shop for repairs. One of the most crucial elements of a vehicle’s safety system are the brakes. Your vehicle’s stopping capacity may be severely diminished if the brakes and rotors are worn. If you spot a problem with your car’s brakes early enough, you can get it fixed before any serious damage occurs. Read on to find out more about the many pieces that make up your car’s braking system, if that’s something you’re interested in.
Let’s dive right in!
How car brakes work?
Leverage, hydraulic pressure, and friction all contribute to the stopping power of your vehicle’s brakes.
When you use the brakes, you’re using leverage. By doing so, hydraulic pressure is sent to the brakes at the wheels via the master cylinder.
The energy of the wheel’s rotation is transformed into heat by the friction generated there, and this heat is progressively lost to the atmosphere. Because of this, your brakes will get warm.
Brake pads may get hotter than 950 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a cool statistic.
However, brakes consist of more than just a set of discs at each wheel.
Many different brake components depend on one another.
Let’s break this down and see what each component does.
The Parts and Purposes of Brakes
There are many other parts of the brake system besides the brake pads and pedals that contribute to the vehicle’s stopping power and safety.
Some crucial components of a braking system are:
-Brake Pedal: Create Leverage
In a two-pedal automatic vehicle, the brake pedal would be the far left pedal, but in a three-pedal manual vehicle, it would be the middle pedal.
A mechanical force is produced when the brake pedal is pressed. The brake booster and master cylinder then use this energy to force brake fluid along the brake lines. The brakes activate when this fluid is pumped into the wheel cylinder of a drum brake or the callipers of a disc brake. To activate the brake lights, simply press the brake pedal, which is also connected to the brake light switch.
Now, the brake fluid pressure in the wheel cylinder or calliper of the disc brake varies according to how firmly you press the brake pedal.
For instance, if you press the brake pedal carefully, the car will come to a halt gradually, but if you stomp on the brakes, the wheels may lock.
Problems with the brake pedal usually indicate faults elsewhere in the braking system.
- Spongy brakes could mean the air in the lines or a fluid leak.
- A pedal that shakes excessively may have warped rotors.
-Brake Booster: Amplifies Your Foot Power
With a brake booster, the driver only needs to press the pedal with the weight of one foot to stop a two-ton vehicle, as the name implies. The brake booster helps with it.
The brake booster is a component that increases the force applied to the brake pedal by multiplying it before sending it to the master cylinder. To achieve this, it harnesses the force of a depressed brake pedal and amplifies it using the suction power of an engine.
If your brake booster is malfunctioning:
- A longer stopping distance
- A pedal that’s as hard to press as squishing bricks
- Possible booster leak if with a hissing sound
-Master Cylinder: Coverts Force To Hydraulic Pressure
The brake system’s master cylinder is its nerve centre. Its job is to take the mechanical energy produced by the brake booster and transform it into hydraulic pressure.
The brake fluid reservoir supplies the master cylinder with brake fluid.
The brake booster “compresses” the braking fluid in the master cylinder, which in turn “compresses” the brake lines.
Since liquid can’t be compressed, the pressure builds up and is transmitted to the wheels’ braking system.
Two cylinders (a tandem design) in the master cylinder operate two independent hydraulic circuits, each of which controls two of your vehicle’s four wheels. This is a fail-safe in case the primary hydraulic system fails.
What can happen if the master cylinder breaks down:
- Under the car’s front, near the master cylinder, a brake fluid leak can develop.
- No smooth return to its original position is possible for the brake pedal.
- If a single hydraulic circuit fails, the vehicle will pull to one side during braking.
-Brake Lines And Brake Hose: Transfer Hydraulic pressure
When the brake pedal is depressed, brake fluid is poured into the brake lines and eventually reaches the callipers at the wheels. The brake hose connects to the brake lines, which only transport the fluid a short distance.
To transport braking fluid from the brake lines to the callipers, a rubber hose is used. Calliper clamps shut and “brakes” are engaged when brake fluid is injected from the brake hose into the calliper.
Like the ‘nerves’ of the body, the brake lines and hoses transmit hydraulic signals to and from the rest of the brake system.
The typical effects of brake line or hose damage are:
- Brake fluid seeps
- Braking pulls to one side becauseof uneven pressure to wheels
-Brake Caliper: hold the disc brake pad and pistons
The disc brake pad and pistons are housed within the brake callipers.
To stop the car, the brake fluid is pumped into the brake calliper, where it squeezes the brake pads against the disc brake rotors.
There are two main types of brake calipers: floating calipers (with pistons on only one side) and fixed calipers (with pistons on both sides).
The following symptoms may be caused by defective brake callipers:
- When a brake pad is still connected to one wheel but the caliper piston becomes jammed, the car will pull to that side.
- When a caliper seal fails, brake fluid spills out, reducing the vehicle’s stopping ability.
–Brake Pad: Stops The Rotor
The brake calliper houses the brake pads, which can be either organic or metallic.
When you use the brakes, an organic or metallic pad is placed between the calliper and the disc rotor to create friction. The vehicle’s speed is reduced thanks to friction between the disc rotor and the brake pads, which creates heat and brake dust.
Brake pads need to be replaced when the thickness decreases to less than a quarter of an inch from normal use.
Here are some effects of brake pad wear:
- When the brake pad is worn down to 25%, a metal indicator will make a squealing noise.
- Brake pads that have worn down too far might cause damage to the rotor and make a horrible grinding noise.
- When the brake pads wear out unevenly, the vehicle pulls to one side.
–Brake Rotor: Also known as brake disc, Create Friction By Squeezing
The brake rotor (or “brake disc”) is the metal disc that sits atop each wheel and provides braking force. The disc brake rotor rim is sandwiched between the brake pads thanks to the placement of the brake callipers.
When the disc brake pad presses down on the disc brake rotor, friction is generated.
Brake dust and rust can accumulate on disc brake rotors over time, so keep them clean. When you get your brakes serviced, have the mechanic clean the discs to keep them in good working order.
Brake pad friction reduces rotor surface gradually over time. The rotor’s thickness is an important performance and safety aspect, hence it should be replaced every time the brake pads are.
Problems that can arise from broken rotors include the following:
- Vibrations in the steering wheel and brake pedal can be caused by warped rotors, rotors with corrosion or brake pad deposit buildup, or worn brake pads.
- Grinding noises may result from heavy corrosion on the rotor surface.
- A rotor is susceptible to cracking due to heat and tension.
–Brake Drum: Create Friction By pushing
Drum brakes are a common form of brake on vintage cars. The ‘drum’ is the housing for the wheel cylinder and brake shoes. Each brake shoe is pushed against the inside of the drum brakes by the wheel cylinder when the brakes are engaged.
The brake shoe is an elongated, convex brake pad designed to fit within the circumference of the braking drum. The brake shoe provides the necessary friction to bring the vehicle to a stop.
Drum brakes are the standard braking system on most older cars and some budget newer ones.
Did you realize that air brakes are another option for stopping? Drum brakes in air brake systems are activated by compressed air rather than hydraulic pressure. School buses and fire engines, among other large vehicles, typically use air brakes.
Brake drums are prone to the following problems:
- It can be flooded, and there’s nowhere for the water to go until the temperature rises high enough to evaporate it. When water enters the space between the brake drum and brake shoes, braking performance suffers.
- When the brake drum gets too hot, the space between the brake shoes and the inner surface of the drum grows. This results in a “long pedal,” wherein additional pedal travel is required to achieve the same level of braking effectiveness.
- Pistons in wheel cylinders can become dislodged from their bore if the drums wear out too much.
-Wheel Speed Sensors(ABS)
ABS-equipped vehicles are outfitted with sensors on the wheels that measure rotational speed. If you stomp on the brakes and the wheels lock up, one or more of your wheels will be moving at a different rate than the others.
The ABS module will use this difference in speeds to properly apply the brakes to each wheel, ensuring a safe and controlled stop.
-Anti-Lock Braking System And ABS Module
All modern vehicles come equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS). The anti-lock braking system (ABS) keeps the wheels from locking up during heavy braking.
When the anti-lock braking system (ABS) module detects that a wheel is likely to lock, it rapidly increases and decreases brake pressure. This permits the driver to brake suddenly without risking skidding or losing control of the vehicle.
Drum brakes and disc brakes both have ABS.
-Emergency Brake(Hand Brake)
The emergency brake, often known as the ‘hand brake’ or ‘parking brake,’ stops the vehicle in its tracks when it is stopped. By pulling a cord, it locks both back wheels in place.
If your regular brakes fail, you can use the emergency brake (but only if you’re completely stopped).
Always keep your finger on the hand brake button in case you need to apply the emergency brake while driving. When parking, if you forget to release the handbrake first, the automobile will go out of control.
You may adjust the amount of brake pressure by holding the button, which adjusts the tension of the cable leading to the brakes.
FAQs About parts of a brake system
What Are Typical Indicators Of A Faulty Brake Part?
Don’t risk having your brakes fail on you!
Here are the four most typical failures in brake components:
A. The disc brakes will be damaged and your car’s stopping capacity will decrease if you don’t replace worn brake pads. Brake wear indicators include:
- Noises coming from the brakes, such as squealing or clicking
- Reduced stopping power
- When using brakes, the vehicle veers to one side.
- Pedal shakes during braking
B. Cracked or Warped Brake Discs: A brake disc that has warped might cause the entire braking system to fail. If you think the brake disc is worn out, you must immediately replace it. Among the symptoms are:
- Squeaking or grinding sounds when the brakes are engaged.
- Pedal shakes during braking
- Disturbed steering wheel
- The effectiveness of the brakes degrades with age.
C. Problems with the Electrical Components of ABS: The ABS module is electronically controlled, therefore it is susceptible to electrical problems. There are a variety of symptoms, which include:
- ABS light that is illuminated
- The brakes jam
- An Effort Upward on the Pedals
D. Leaking Brake Fluid: If brake fluid leaks, less pressure is supplied to the brakes, and the brakes won’t perform properly. Indicators to pay attention to:
- The brake warning light is on.
- A pool of hydraulic fluid forms under the vehicle as the brakes are released.
-Ceramic Brake Pads VS Semi-Metallic Brake Pads?
Although both methods can stop a car, ceramic brakes are preferred. Ceramic brake pads outperform semi-metallic pads in terms of durability, noise, and rotor wear.
In what regular intervals should I replace my brake pads?
Every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, or at each major repair, is a good time to replace the brake pads.
Brake Repair – How Much Does It Typically Cost?
The price of brake repairs is proportional to the number of broken parts in the braking system. Changing the brake pads, rotor, and calipers on a vehicle typically costs between $150 and $800.