Brakes are arguably the most important part of your car. While the engine is necessary to get you going, you need the brakes to safely bring you to a stop and help avoid dangerous situations. The brake system in your car is a hydraulic system. When you press on the brake pedal, it causes brake fluid to flow through the lines to the brakes to create pressure and friction on the brake surfaces, slowing down the car. When this stop working efficiently, it is probably time to consider taking your car to a garage.
Here is a breakdown of the main parts of a brake system so that you can understand what your repair staff will be working on.
Master Cylinder – This is where most of the brake fluid is. When you press the brake pedal, it activates the master cylinder and squeezes fluid out of it and into the brake lines.
Disc Brakes – There are two types of brakes used on cars. Disc brakes have a central rotor that rotates inside two pads. When the brake pedal is pressed, the two pads squeeze the rotor forcing it to slow down.
Drum Brakes – In drum brakes, there is a large “drum” that rotates with the tire. Inside the drum are two shoes that press against the drum to stop the car. Drum brakes have become less common in recent years due to the simplicity and reliability of disc brakes.
Parking Brake – This brake is usually activated by a lever or pedal. Instead of being hydraulic, the parking brake is typically mechanically operated with a cable running to the rear wheels. Different car manufacturers have a variety of ways of implementing the parking brake, but they work independent of the hydraulic system, which is better for keeping the car stationary.
The next time you need your car brakes repaired you can use this knowledge to have a better understanding of what your repair technician is discussing with you. You will also have the confidence that your brakes will work when you need them.