What Are The Components Of A Vehicle's Brake System?

Knowing how to discuss auto brake service issues with a technician can ease your mind about the maintenance and repair processes. If you want to know how to talk to a brake services provider, you can start by learning about the components. Drivers should understand these three sets of parts in their cars' braking systems.

Pads, Discs, and Drums 

Most vehicles use disc or drum brakes. This is the part of the braking system that causes the stopping action when you hit the pedal. When the brake pads press against the drum or disc, this causes friction that slows down the spinning of the vehicle's axle until it stops.

Notably, you'll replace these components the most often in your life as a driver. That is fine because they are sacrificial and relatively cheap. You can usually tell it's time to replace these components when you hear metallic chirping sounds coming from the wheels. People who drive tens of thousands of miles a year can expect to replace brake pads at least annually. Some high-intensity motorists, such as delivery drivers, may need to schedule monthly work.

Lines and Calipers

Most braking systems apply pressure to the brake pads through the calipers. These are mechanically-activated components that apply pressure when you press the brake and release the pressure when you let it off. Your vehicle's brake lines pull hydraulic fluid from a reservoir and deliver it to the calipers.

Brake lines are a common source of catastrophic failures, especially in older cars. If you feel the pressure in the brake pedal getting light, there's a good chance the lines are leaking. You should visit an auto brake services shop as soon as possible.

Calipers sometimes stick. If they get old and rusty, for example, they may not fully release. Likewise, if the connection between the calipers and lines is leaky or clogged, the brakes may only release slowly. If your car is losing fuel economy or struggling to keep rolling at highway speeds, a caliper might be stuck.

Master Cylinder

Vehicles have multiple wheels, and safely directing pressure to each wheel simultaneously requires coordination. The master cylinder centralizes the transfer of hydraulic fluid from the reservoir to the lines. It also stabilizes the return of the fluid when you let off the brake. A failed master cylinder can cause stuck brakes as you'd notice with a stuck caliper. Also, if there is air in the cylinder, the brakes could be soft because fluid isn't moving efficiently.

To learn more, contact auto brake services.