The most crucial safety feature in any vehicle is its braking system, which is responsible for slowing down the rotation of the wheels when the brake pedal is pressed, ensuring the vehicle comes to a complete stop.

During this process, the braking system undergoes various operations. Continue reading to explore different types of braking systems, their components, and their functioning.

Types of Car Lift Repair Near Me Braking Systems

Passenger vehicles typically employ two main types of brakes: disc brakes and drum brakes. While both types serve the purpose of stopping a vehicle, they differ in design and operation.

Disc brakes are primarily used in the front of vehicles but may also be present at all four wheels. In the United States, all passenger vehicles are equipped with disc brakes on the front wheels and possibly on the rear as well, while drum brakes are typically found only on the rear wheels of US automobiles.

Drum Brakes

Car Lift Repair Near Me Drum brake systems were the earliest in-tire braking systems, introduced in 1900 and patented in 1902 by engineer Louis Renault. Initially, these systems were entirely mechanical, operated by levers. However, by the mid-1930s, hydraulic pressure was employed for operation.

This system comprises a master cylinder that delivers pressurized brake fluid to the wheel cylinder inside the brake drum. The pressure causes the pistons in the cylinder to expand, pressing the brake shoes against the inner surface of the brake drum, generating friction to slow down the wheel rotation.

Disc Brakes

Although Car Lift Repair Near Me disc brakes were patented at the same time as drum brakes, it took nearly fifty years for practical and cost-effective designs to emerge for automotive use.

The superior performance of Car Lift Repair Near Me disc brakes over drum brakes was first demonstrated by Jaguar in 1953 when they utilized them on a race car that outperformed competitors using drum brakes. Subsequently, a production car equipped with all-disc brakes was sold later that year. Since then, disc brakes have become the standard for most vehicles.

This system includes a master cylinder that delivers pressurized brake fluid to the brake caliper, causing its pistons to press against a steel rotor disc, creating friction to decelerate the wheel rotation.

Drum vs. Disc Brakes

While Car Lift Repair Near Me drum brakes have their advantages, they also have disadvantages compared to disc brakes. Manufacturers generally prefer disc braking systems due to their numerous benefits, which include:

Self-cleaning: Unlike drum brakes, which require periodic cleaning due to brake dust accumulation, disc brakes are self-cleaning. When engaged, the brake pads wipe against the rotors, effectively cleaning themselves.

Consistent performance: Car Lift Repair Near Me Disc brakes manage heat more effectively than drum brakes. With repeated use, drum brakes tend to overheat and experience brake fade, necessitating a longer stopping distance for safe operation.

Greater stopping power: Advancements in technology have made disc brakes more durable and capable of bringing a vehicle to a stop more efficiently.

Handling in wet conditions: Disc brakes are exposed to the air, facilitating water runoff. Consequently, they perform better in wet conditions, whereas drum brakes tend to retain water.

Components of the Braking System

Every component of a braking system plays a crucial role in the stopping process. While disc and drum brakes share some similarities in components, they also differ significantly.

Drum Brake Components

The drum brake system comprises the master cylinder, wheel cylinders, primary and secondary brake shoes, multiple springs, retainers, and adjustment mechanisms.

The lifespan of these components varies depending on several factors. Typically, the drum brake housing (the drum itself) is designed to last between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, while brake shoes have a shorter lifespan, typically ranging from 35,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on usage.

Disc Brake Components

Key components of a disc brake system include the master cylinder, caliper, rotor, and pads.

The longevity of Car Lift Repair Near Me disc brake pads varies depending on factors such as applied pressure during braking and frequency of use. Automotive technicians usually estimate that most vehicles will require replacement brake pads every 25,000 to 65,000 miles and brake rotors every 30,000 to 70,000 miles.

It’s essential to pay attention to how your vehicle feels during braking and to have the braking system inspected regularly to detect and address any issues promptly.

Indications of Worn Brake Components

Several signs indicate problems with different components of the braking system. It’s crucial to have your vehicle inspected when you notice these signs to ensure any necessary repairs are performed:

Vibrations in the steering wheel: Vibrations while braking can indicate uneven rotor wear, caused by warping on the rotor surface.

Unusual noises: Screeching, grinding, or squealing noises from the braking system may indicate worn brake pads or shoes.

Vehicle pulling to one side: If your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, it may be due to uneven wear on the brake pads.

Brake warning light: If the brake warning light illuminates on your dashboard, promptly have your vehicle inspected by a technician.

Hydraulic Brakes:

The primary braking system utilized in the majority of contemporary vehicles is the hydraulic braking system. These systems employ brake fluid to operate components such as brake pads or shoes, facilitating the deceleration of your vehicle.

The operation of hydraulic brakes is relatively straightforward: when you engage the brake pedal, brake fluid pressure is transmitted through the master cylinder, generating hydraulic pressure. This pressure propels the brake fluid through the brake lines to each wheel. Upon reaching the wheels, the brake fluid applies friction material against either a rotor or brake drum, depending on the type of brake installed. This friction material converts the kinetic energy of the spinning wheel into heat energy, slowing down the wheel rotation.

Drum brakes, originating in 1900, were the first type of in-wheel braking system. Initially mechanical in design, utilizing wires and levers for operation, they later transitioned to the more efficient hydraulic system.

Hydraulic drum brakes and disc brakes operate similarly until brake fluid pressure reaches the wheel, where each utilizes a different set of components to create friction on the wheel. Drum brakes employ a set of brake shoes pushed outward by pistons, which are activated by hydraulic pressure from the brake fluid.