Brakes are one of the most important parts of an automobile. Stopping is just as important as going backward or forward. A vehicle without brakes is like a runaway bull, someone will probably get hurt. Because of these factors, it is important to be aware of the condition of your brakes. This article aims to help motorists understand the process of examining their cars’ brakes.
There are two forms of brakes. These types are disc brakes and drum brakes. Discs are common in automobiles after 1970 because they offer increased efficiency versus drums. They are also much easier to work on because they have less moving parts.
Disc brakes consist of a rotor, a caliper, lines, and brake pads. The rotor is the large, round piece that attaches to the hub of the vehicle. The caliper houses the brake pads and has a piston that pushes the brake pads onto the rotor with a high amount of force. This action causes the vehicle to slow down and eventually stop.
Drum brakes consist of an outer drum, inner shoes, wheel cylinder, and springs. In a drum brake, the wheel cylinder pushes the brake shoes onto the drum with significant force, stopping the vehicle.
The first thing that you should look for is any kind of weird noises that appear when driving your vehicle. Grinding, squeaking, and pulsing are all sounds that could indicate a problem with your vehicle’s brakes. In addition to this, a motorist should also see if there are any odd feelings while driving. If your brakes shake when you use them, your rotors could be suffering from warping. Warping is a condition that is caused by too much heat being applied to your brakes. This heat causes the shape of the rotor to become uneven, causing a vibration. Warped rotors will need to be replaced or shaved down until they are even.
Grinding indicates that the brake pads on the vehicle have reached the end of their useful life. When this happens, all of the Kevlar material used on the brake pad has worn away, and only the steel backing is making contact with the rotor. When steel meets steel, it causes a grinding noise. This condition is unsafe and should be rectified immediately.
The feel of the brake pedal is another thing to consider. If the brake pedal feels spongy, or does not have any resistance, your brake fluid could be low. Most cars on the market use a hydraulic brake system. In order for these hydraulic systems to work, brake fluid must be present. An odd feeling brake pedal could indicate a problem with the brake fluid level. A bad seal, a faulty caliper, or a broken fluid line could cause this problem.
In addition to the feel of the brakes, you must also consider their physical appearance. In order to reveal the brakes, you must remove the wheel. If you have drum brakes, you must also remove the outer drum. After performing these steps, the brakes will be visible. Look around the brakes for fluid. If there is brake fluid around the brakes, this could indicate a leak. After looking for leaks, look at the brake rotor. If the brake rotor has any form of deep scratches on it, it is time to replace the brake pads. Also, check that the rotor is worn evenly on both sides, if it is not; this could indicate that one side of the caliper is frozen. In this situation, the caliper must be replaced.
It is important to keep your brakes free of brake dust. There are many good brake cleaners available from any major parts supplier. Too much brake dust could lead to a decrease in braking performance, which will significantly reduce safety. Brake dust looks like a dark brown haze that covers the brakes, and in some cases, can cover the wheels.
Brakes are an extremely important part of keeping a vehicle safe. Just like an engine, they must constantly be in the best shape possible. Follow the steps that we just outlined, and maintaining your brakes will be easy.