The Vital Role of Brakes

The Vital Role of Brakes

Maintaining your car’s brake system is crucial to overall vehicle safety. It is vital when driving with passengers and other drivers. Avoiding hazardous driving habits such as slamming on the brakes and braking unnecessarily will help to extend the longevity of your vehicle’s brake components.

If you notice any signs of brake trouble, such as a squishy or low-feeling pedal, schedule an inspection right away! It will save you money and time in the long run.

Brake Pads

Brake pads are the underrated heroes of your braking system, serving as the front line of your vehicle’s defense against accidents. They convert kinetic energy into thermal energy to bring your car to a stop by generating friction against the rotors.

When you step on the brake pedal, it activates the hydraulic system that pushes a piston within a master cylinder filled with brake fluid into calipers situated at each wheel. The calipers then firmly grip the brake pads and apply pressure against the rotating rotors, which leads to a decrease in the speed of your wheels and ultimately brings your car to a stop.

The steel backing plates that the friction-based substance is bonded to on the surfaces facing the disc brake rotors make up the brake pads. When your brake pads begin to wear down, you will hear a squeaking sound. It is the result of friction-based material moving to the metal surface of the rotors, signaling that a replacement is necessary. For this reason, you must maintain your brake repair Edmonds, WA schedule.

Brake Rotors

Many gearheads describe the master cylinder as the “heart” of your brake system because, like the heart, it pumps fluid to where it is needed most. When you press the brake pedal, mechanical leverage pushes a rod known as the pushrod through the dual-chamber master cylinder and creates hydraulic pressure transferred to each wheel’s calipers.

The calipers act as metal clamps that grip the rotating disc or rotor of each wheel to slow its speed. If the calipers get too hot from constant exposure to heat, they can lose their ability to clamp onto the brake rotor, and your car may feel as if it pulls to one side. Other potential problems include:

  • A low brake fluid level.
  • Air trapped in the brake lines.
  • A misadjusted master cylinder pushrod.

These are all things that can be diagnosed with a quick and easy visual inspection. You should also check the rotors and drums to ensure they are free of debris, rust, or damage that can interfere with brake function.

Brake Fluid

When you hit the brakes, a complex process converts your mechanical force into hydraulic pressure to slow and stop your vehicle. This alchemy depends on a hardworking fluid that can endure intense heat and pressure variations.

Brake fluid is a specialty hydraulic fluid that carries your foot’s force into the system through the master cylinder and brake lines. It then transfers this pressure to brake pads and rotors, creating friction that slows down your vehicle’s wheels.

To operate appropriately, brake fluid must have a high boiling point. It also needs to lubricate the brake system’s components. Various types of brake fluid exist, such as glycol DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1 (which contain silicon and doesn’t absorb water). Over time, these liquids can absorb moisture and contaminants, reducing their boiling points. It can lead to a spongy pedal feel and decreased braking efficiency. Changing your brake fluid frequently can keep it working well. It is a must for your car’s safety and performance!

Brake Lines

It takes much more than pressing the brake pedal to stop your car. That’s why it is so important to keep all of the different components of your brake system in top working condition.

For example, your brake lines are the rigid metal tubing network that channels your brake fluid from the master cylinder to points near each of your wheels or brake calipers. Brake lines are made from various materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and steel. Aluminum and stainless steel are very corrosion-resistant, especially compared to copper tubing or vinyl hoses, which can be damaged by road salt thrown on the roadways during winter.

Brake line tubes are usually manufactured with a soft metallic wear tab that closes an electric circuit when the brake pads wear thin, alerting you of the need for a replacement. They are also often ‘flared,’ similar to the end of a pair of jeans, to provide a tight seal at each connection point.