The Brake System – More than You Wanted to Know
Types of Brake Systems.
Nearly all passenger vehicles have a disc brake system. Very few vehicles will have drum brakes on the rear of the vehicle. They all incorporate a brake master cylinder to convert foot pedal pressure to hydraulic pressure at the wheels, and nearly all also have a pressure booster.
The disc brake system is made up of a two sided disc – or brake rotor – at each wheel. There is also a brake caliper in which the brake pads are installed. The caliper has one or more pistons that put pressure on the brake pads and squeeze them against the rotor to stop the vehicle.
Drum brakes consist of a brake drum that surrounds a set of brake shoes. The shoes are held in place by a series of clips and springs, and are positioned against a wheel cylinder. When you press the brake pedal, the fluid cause the wheel cylinders to push the shoes against the drum to stop the vehicle
Brake System Hydraulics.
The brake pedal is connected to a brake master cylinder. It uses a specially formulated fluid to resist boiling at high temperatures that can sometimes be found at the wheels during braking events. There are a series of lines and hoses that connect the master cylinder to the Calipers and/or Wheel Cylinders.
Parking brakes can either be in the form of a special caliper (either electrically or cable operated), or in the form of a set of parking brake shoes inside the rear rotors.
Is Brake Rotor Replacement Always Necessary.
The answer is “yes” in nearly every circumstance. Years ago, brake rotors were made of a hard metal and were fairly thick, while the brake pads were soft. In those systems you could actually turn the rotors 3 or 4 times before having to replace them. However, environmental and technological concerns have changed that today. Brake rotors are made of a softer material and are produced thinner and lighter to cut down on weight (which improves fuel economy), while the brake pads are typically made of a ceramic material which is much harder. Because of this, the rotors actually wear along with the brake pads so they both reach a minimum safe thickness about the same time. Additionally, the pads and rotors become “wear matched”, so putting new brake pads over old rotors reduces stopping performance, and often times induces noise and vibration.
Brake Fluid Service.
The brake fluid used in modern vehicles is a highly customized mineral type fluid that will – over time – absorb moisture. Nearly all vehicle manufactures recommend having the fluid serviced every 24 months to remove any moisture that may have built up over time. At Santos Auto Service Company, we recommend flushing the fluid at the time of a brake service – this removes the dirty fluid in the calipers instead of pushing it back through the master cylinder.
Full Comprehensive Brake Service
At Santos Auto Service Company, we use best quality parts and fluids for each and every brake service performed. We use our 39 years of experience on all makes and models to chose the right components to make sure your vehicles brake system performs as expected every time.