Understanding How the Brakes in Your Car Work

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It goes without saying that the brake system in your car is the single-most important safety system in the vehicle. Your brakes need to be in proper shape during many different seasons throughout the year so that you don't compromise on your safety. Understanding how the brakes in your car work is an important first step towards appreciating the significance of proper brake maintenance and why you should invest in mechanical repairs to resolve any issues.

Some of the most important components of your brakes system are the brake pads and rotors. If any of these parts are worn out, they can interfere with the ability of your car to stop when it is necessary.

How your brake system works

The brake system is a complex network of interconnected components that work to regulate the speed of your car. When you press on the brake pedal, brake fluid is released into the system and forces the brake pads to be applied on the disc rotor, leading to a friction force, and eventually the tires end up slowing down.

The brake pads are normally fitted on a part called a brake caliper. The caliper is the one that applies and releases the brake pads from the disc rotors attached to your tires.

Types of brakes

Disc brakes

The most common types of brakes in your car, disc brakes consist of the brake pads, disc rotors and a caliper (as described above). They generally work by application of the brake pads onto the disc rotors in order for the car to stop.

Drum brakes

Drum brakes work in much the same way as disc brakes, with the only difference being that a brake drum is used in the place of a disc rotor. Different cars use either disc or drum brakes, depending on how they are manufactured.

Emergency brakes

Emergency brakes are a second braking system in your car, used to ensure that a parked car stays stationary. They also come to use in case your main braking system fails.

Is it time to change your brakes?

Now that you have a general understanding of your brakes and how they work, the next step is to know when the necessary components of the system will need replacement. Be wary of the following tell-tale signs of a faulty brake system:

The most common parts of your brakes that need replacement are the pads, caliper and disc rotor. Watch out for the heath of your car's brakes and replace important components when necessary.