How Your Brakes Work
All You Need To Know
When our technicians at Hi-Tech Auto Specialists talk about brake health, they’re referring to much more than just physical brake pads. Your vehicle’s braking system comprises several different components that all play a vital role in slowing your vehicle safely and quickly. Whether you’re slowing gently to stop at a light, maneuvering around sharp turns, or stopping hard to avoid a collision, your brake system and its health are essential to keeping you safe.
While you’re driving, your brake fluid makes a journey through the brake components and keeps the pressure in the system to help slow your vehicle when you need it. The brake’s Master Cylinder pushes the hydraulic fluid, controls the brake pressure, and allows you to slow down efficiently.
On the other end of the reaction, each wheel has a brake rotor, a large metal disk, that spins along with the wheel. When you engage the brakes, the brake pad rubs against the brake rotor to create friction and slow the wheels.
Brake pads are not all created equal; some are optimized for longevity, some are meant to withstand extreme performance. Your brake pads are the first to display signs of wear and tear, and as they smooth over time, they will become less effective at creating friction against the brake rotor.
Pushing the brake pad against the brake rotor is the caliper, which is a sort of clamp that keeps the pressure on both components, so they create enough friction to slow your vehicle.
At this point, we haven’t even discussed a drum brake system, which has a different combination of brake shoes and the actual brake drum. Many modern vehicles also have Anti-lock Braking Systems. This system intelligently determines the speed of each of your four wheels in an emergency braking situation. If any wheel is in danger of locking up, it will apply the brakes according to the speed of each wheel.
Most vehicle owners know how vital their brakes are, and understanding the complicated system will help ensure you are getting the best performance out of your braking system.