Brakes play an essential role in keeping you safe, so it is important to understand how you can take care of them. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or not. This Brake Repair 101 will guide you through the fundamentals of brake repair. We will talk about the components of your brakes and the warning signs that should not be ignored at all! So, gear up, it’s time to get started.
The Braking System
Before deciphering the warning signs it’s important to understand the braking system. There’s a complex web of components that work harmoniously to ensure your vehicle stops when you want it to. The brake pedal is one component of it.
1. Brake Pads
In simple terms, the brake pads are the sneakers for your car. Imagine you’re running in your sneakers and when you want to stop you skid to a half thanks to those soles. The brake pads are the primary point of contact that presses against the brake discs. This creates the necessary friction to slow or stop your car. With time these pads wear out due to the pressure and heat that they endure. This is why it is crucial to get them regularly checked and replaced.
2. Brake Discs
We know about the brake pads but what do they actually press against? This is where the brake discs come into play. Also known as rotors, they are flat shiny discs. When you hit the brakes, the pads clamp on these discs. This enables friction to stop the wheels from turning.
In some of the older vehicles, you might find brake drums instead. They work similarly to the discs. But, they are enclosed drum-shaped components that rotate along the wheel.
3. Brake Callipers and Wheel Cylinders
You must be wondering how the brake pads get pushed onto the discs. This is where the calipers and cylinders come in. The brake calipers can be found in the disc brake system as they house the brake pads. When you step on the brake pad, the brake fluid forces the caliper to squeeze the pads. This again generates the friction needed to stop the vehicle.
For the drum brake systems, the wheel cylinders play the role of the calipers. The brake fluid pushes the cylinders outward. This forces the brake shoes to press against the inner surface of the drum.
4. Master Cylinder and Brake Lines
How do the brakes actually work? This is where the brake lines and master cylinder come into play. Upon pressing the brake pedal the master cylinder is triggered. It is a pump that pushes the fluid through the brake lines. The fluid travels to the calipers causing the components to engage with one another.
5. Brake Fluid
The brake fluid is regarded as the blood of your braking system. Its responsibility is to transmit the force from your foot on the pedal to the brakes. With time and use the fluid can become contaminated. This leads to a decreased efficiency of braking. It is essential to regularly check your brake fluid level and quality.
Signs that your brakes need attention
Now that you’re familiar with the braking system. We can talk about the signs that indicate it is time for some brake repairs.
1. Squeaking or Grinding Noises
Your vehicle has its own language to communicate with you. The strange noises are its way of telling you that something is wrong. High-pitched squeaking noises s are an indication that your brake pads are going thin. The small metal tabs called wear indicators are designed to create noise. This way it acts as a warning system.
But if you hear a grinding sound, it indicates that your brake pads are worn down completely. This can damage your brake discs and also compromise the braking performance.
Vibrations are a sign of an issue with your rotors. They often become warped or uneven due to wear and heat. The contact between the pads and discs won’t be smooth. If you get the discs replaced or resurfaced you will get back the smooth stopping experience.
3. Soft or Spongy Pedal
Your brake pedal should feel firm and responsive at all times. If you feel that It sinks to the floor with little resistance you might have air or moisture in your brake line. This should be addressed immediately as your braking power is compromised. The issue can be easily fixed by removing the air bubbles or by replacing the brake fluid. If the issue still persists, it could be a sign of a more significant problem. In such cases, professional brake inspections are recommended.
4. Dashboard Warning Signs
Vehicles nowadays are equipped with various sensors and warning lights. The braking system is no exception. Seeing the brake warning light illuminated is not something to ignore. The light can be indicative of any issue; brake fluid level, brake pressure, and so forth. You can always refer to the vehicle’s manual to understand what the specific light means. This will enable you to take the appropriate action.
5. Longer Stopping Distances
Do you feel as if your car takes longer to stop? This is a clear sign that your braking system needs attention immediately. This could be due to the brake pads wearing out or damage to any of the braking components. It is not something to ignore as it can compromise your safety on the road.
Now that you have the knowledge required you must be wondering whether to give it a go yourself or not. The answer depends on your comfort, experience, and the extent of the repair. If you think you can easily take care of your car then do it. If not, you can always seek professional help. All in all, it will give you extra peace of mind.
Often by seeking professional help you find problems that you might’ve missed or could have. It is better to leave the complex tasks to the professionals. Your brakes are one of the most important components of your vehicle. There is no need to compromise on its maintenance. In the end, it is your own safety that you are putting at risk here. By taking care of the components you are also extending the vehicle’s lifespan.
Stay safe and keep those brakes in top shape!
First Class Car Care
At First Class Car Care, we are here to ensure you are always in control behind the wheel. With over 20 years of experience, we give your car vehicle the care it deserves. We have made auto repair a painless and quick process to ensure you are happy and satisfied. Our team of dedicated technicians brings passion and precision to every task.
What are you waiting for? Book your appointment today!