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Brakes are one of the most important components on your vehicle. You need the confidence of knowing that when you press your foot to the brake, your vehicle is going to stop. That's why it's important to keep these tips in mind to help keep your brakes functioning properly. Schedule an appointment for a brake service checkup today!
- Have your brakes checked at least once a year ' more often if you drive frequently in city traffic or live in a hilly area.
- Never drive with the parking brake on.
- If you hear a high-pitched squeak when you use the brakes, have them checked.
- If you hear a scratching or grinding noise when not braking, this also can be a sign of a brake or bearing issue and should be inspected immediately.
- If you experience shaking or vibration during braking, have them checked.
- Have brake fluid tested and replaced as needed and if you have to add fluid more than once every few months, you may have a leak.
The brake system is actually composed of two kinds of systems---Hydraulics and Friction Materials. Here's what happens within these systems between the time your foot hits the brake pedal and your car stops.
When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, the master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure which pushes brake fluid to the wheel brakes.
Brake Lines and Hoses
Steel brake lines and high pressure rubber hoses are the avenues through which the pressurized brake fluid travels.
Wheel Cylinders and Calipers
These are the hydraulic cylinders that apply pressure to the friction materials, causing your car to stop.
Disc Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes
These brake linings are composed of high temperature materials that create the friction that stops your car.
Types of Brakes
Disc brakes consist of a Disc Brake Rotor, which is attached to the wheel, and a Caliper, which holds the Disc Brake Pads. Hydraulic pressure from the Master Cylinder causes the Caliper Piston to clamp the Disc Brake Rotor between the Disc Brake Pads. This creates friction between the pads and rotor, causing your car to slow down or stop.
Drum brakes consist of a Brake Drum attached to the wheel, a Wheel Cylinder, Brake Shoes and Brake Return Springs. Hydraulic pressure from the Master Cylinder causes the Wheel Cylinder to press the Brake Shoes against the Brake Drum. This creates friction between the shoes and drum to slow or stop your car.
The Parking Brake uses Cables to mechanically apply the brakes (usually the rear brake.) This is used to prevent the car from rolling when not being driven.
Anti-Lock Brakes: A System Built For Safety
Computer-controlled anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a recently developed safety feature. When sudden stops are made, the ABS prevents wheel lock-up. The system is comprised of wheel-speed sensors that monitor wheel rotation, computer-controlled hydraulics that pulse the brakes on and off rapidly, and the on-board computer.