Components Of A Braking System
Despite using the system every day, most people couldn't name the six main brake parts. While you don't need to know how they work to use them, it can give you a better understanding when buying components. Learn more about your brake system to know what you need at your 50,000 and 100,000 mile services.
Located inside your vehicle, this is what you press down on to activate the brakes. The pressure from your foot causes brake fluid to flow through the system, stopping your car or truck. This is probably the one component you will never need to replace.
This is a sort of piston that transfers the force from your foot into the hydraulic brake fluid. Most modern disc brakes use servo assist to reduce the effort you need to apply. It also acts as the main reservoir of the brake fluid. The pressure from the fluid moves the slave cylinders, continuing the movement of the braking system. These slave cylinders push the hydraulic brake fluid into the brake lines.
The brake lines allow the brake fluid to flow from the master cylinder to the wheel cylinders. In the past, they were often made cheaply with rubber. Most modern versions are constructed from braided steel, which allows for less flexing than rubber. This causes stronger and more progressive braking action for smoother and more responsive brakes.
This part is similar to a slave cylinder, mostly acting like a plunger with the movement of the brake fluid. The direction the force is transferred depends on whether you have drum or disc brakes. Wheel cylinders push apart with drum brakes, pressing the brake pads against the actual drum component. For disc brakes, the pads are pushed inward against the rotors to cause the braking action.
The pads or shoes are the steel-backed parts that apply a braking material to the drum or rotor. The most common types include ceramic and semi-metallic, but other kinds of friction-causing substances are used.
Due to the high amounts of friction generated from stopping fast, heavy vehicles, brake pads wear down over time. A set of metal hairs are inserted into the bottom part of the braking material. When the pad is reaching the end of its usefulness, these hairs create a squealing sound when they touch the drum or rotor. This notifies the driver they should look for the best prices on brake pads.
Disc brakes squeeze the pads inward on metal wheels called rotors, while drum brakes press outward against the drum. Most modern vehicles use disc brakes because they feature better stopping power, allow for easier inspection, and offer more resiliency in extreme conditions. Drum brakes are cheap and easy to replace, which is why they're often used for back axles on trucks. This is because most of braking stress is on the front axles, where the vehicle's momentum is directed.
Whether you need to replace your pads or rotors, AutoZone can help you with excellent service and prices. Shop in-store or online to find the parts you need and even get VIN lookup free.