The average vehicle uses disc brakes. With disc brakes, each of your car, truck or SUV’s wheels has a rotor, or a metal disk, attached to it. These rotors spin along with your car when your vehicle is in motion. When you step on the brake pedal, a pump applies pressure to the oil in your brake lines that forces the calipers, a type of clamp, to squeeze your brake pads against the rotors. The friction caused by the brake pads pressing against the rotors forces your tires to spin slower and slower until they stop.
Older vehicles use drum brakes. These are heavy, hollow cylinders attached to the axles that rotate to make your wheels spin. When you press the brake pedal, a pair of brake shoes press against the inside of the drums to create friction. Unfortunately, drum brakes are harder to maintain, have a high risk of overheating and are very heavy, so they’re currently being phased out and replaced by disc brakes.
Your brake system is more than just a drum or rotors, brake pads and calipers. Another important component is the ABS, or the anti-lock brake system. The ABS system is important because without it, you could lose control of your vehicle. This can occur when you’re driving on a slippery or unstable surface and you’re forced to slam on your brakes, which forces the wheels to lock up. With anti-lock brakes, when you press on the brakes and one or more wheels stop moving, the ABS forces a pump to slowly release the brakes in rapid succession. This lets your wheels slow down without stopping completely, which in turn lets you maintain control.
Your brakes are composed of several pieces that work together to ensure your car or truck can slow down slowly over time, rather than all at once. These parts include the hydraulic pump that activates when you press the brake pedal. The pump is connected to a reservoir of brake fluid and the power brake booster. The booster makes it easier for you slow the vehicle down gently when you step on the brake pedal lightly, or come to a stop when you press the pedal with more force. The wheel cylinder is a hydraulic press that is present in drum brakes. The cylinder is what controls the brake shoes within the drum.
Now that you know there are several important components in your car brake’s system, make sure to get your brakes checked regularly. Call Team Automotive today and speak to one of our ASE-certified mechanics. They’ll set an appointment to inspect and repair or replace your brake system and offer friendly, professional service.