The Importance of Brake Maintenance, Part Two
Brakes are critical to ensuring our safety on the road. Vehicle owners should have a general understanding of its brake system and the brake maintenance it requires. This is part two of our overview brake system and what services brakes require.
Brake System Maintenance
Brake system maintenance allows your auto technician to evaluate the degree of brake pad wear and determine when replacement is necessary.
Brake Pads and Rotors
Brake pads and rotors are the point at which the braking system connects with the tires. Due to the stress of extreme friction, these components deteriorate more easily than others and need more frequent maintenance. It is important to inspect the condition and depth of the pads to make sure there is sufficient resistance.
A car’s brake system relies on a hydraulic fluid, commonly referred to as brake fluid. Flowing through the brake lines, brake fluid provides the power or force necessary to bring a vehicle to a stop. It is necessary to drain and replace brake fluid periodically because it absorbs moisture from the air and degrades over time. Changing brake fluid at recommended intervals will assure proper brake system functioning. Brake fluid changes are typically done every one or two years, however different vehicles will have different recommendations for best performance.
Since your vehicle’s brake system and brake fluid are so crucial to its safe operation, it is really important to have brake service maintenance done by a qualified professional automotive technician.
In addition having regular brake system maintenance performed, it is important to pay attention to any signs of brake problems and have them looked at right away.
Signs of trouble might include:
- Strange Noises When Braking
- Braking Causes the Vehicle to Pull to One Side
- Brake Pedal Feels Odd or Spongy
- Excessive Vibration When Braking
- Jerking Sensation As Brakes are Applied
Along with these warning signs, the brake system service light on your car’s dashboard will illuminate if your on-board diagnostic system senses any problems. Take your vehicle in for a brake system inspection.
The Importance of Brake Maintenance – Part One
We all know how important our brakes are to ensuring our safety on the road. What we might not keep in mind is the importance of brake maintenance. Drivers should have a basic understanding of their vehicle’s brake system and the brake maintenance our vehicles need. This two part post will give you a simple overview of how brakes work and what services they require.
Types of Brake Systems and How They Work
There are three basic types of brakes: anti-lock brakes, emergency brakes, and service brakes.
Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) are a safety feature included in most newer vehicles. This computer-controlled technology works with a vehicle braking system to decrease stopping distance and also increase control and stability. ABS monitors the speed of each wheel and automatically pulses the brake pressure. When hard and sudden braking occurs, ABS prevents the wheels from locking up, and keeps the tires from going into a skid.
Emergency or Parking Brakes function apart from the service brakes and are typically non-hydraulic, using cables to mechanically apply the braking function. How emergency brakes are applied can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Some emergency brake systems are operated using a stick lever, some with a floor pedal, and some feature a button or handle near the steering column.
Service Brakes refers to the overall brake system used to decrease speed and bring the vehicle to a stop. In most cases, service brakes include a four-wheel disc or a combination of disc on front and drums on the back wheels. They are activated when the brake pedal is pressed, distributing hydraulic force to all wheels. Front brakes provide more force than the rear brakes for stopping the vehicle since braking propels the weight of the vehicle forward onto the front wheels.
Disc brakes use calipers, brake rotors, and brake pads. Each disc brake has a brake pad on both sides that push against the brake rotor when pressure is applied to the brake pedal. Drum brakes are enclosed within the wheel cylinder and have brake shoes that press out against the drum when pressure is applied to the brake pedal.
In part two of this series, we will take a look at brake maintenance and signs of brake problems.