Braking Service and Systems
The braking system is the MOST important system on your vehicle. If the steering wheel falls off in your lap or the transmission drops out the bottom, you still have to be able to stop!
Do the brakes squeak, screech, rumble or grind? Does one wheel lock up when you stop? Does the pedal go farther to the floor than is used to; is it hard to push; is the vehicle hard to stop? Does the brake pedal slowly go down while you're waiting for the light to change or does it dance under your foot when stopping? Is the red BRAKE warning light on or the amber ABS warning light on? Is the brake fluid dark and discolored; do you keep adding brake fluid? Then you have brake problems.
The brake system is actually composed of two kinds of systems---Hydraulics and Friction Materials. Here's what happens within these systems between the time your foot presses the brake pedal and your car stops.
When you push on the brake pedal, you're pushing fluid through pipes and hoses into chambers located on each wheel. This pushes one or more pistons out, pushing the brake pad against the side of the rotor or the brake shoe against the inside of the brake drum. The rubbing of the pads and shoes onto the rotors and drums slows and stops the vehicle.
When you step on the brake pedal, brake fluid is pushed out of the brake master cylinder at high pressure. The fluid is piped through steel pipes and high pressure rubber hoses to chambers at each wheel. These chambers, called brake calipers and wheel cylinders, have pistons that get pushed out by the fluid pressure inside the cambers. The pistons push on the friction material.
The friction material is the brake pads and brake shoes that you have probably heard of. The friction material is made of materials that can stand high temperature. Being bolted to the vehicle, the pads and shoes rub against rotating parts called brake rotors and brake drums. The rotors and drums are attached to the wheels. The rubbing slows and stops the vehicle.
Types of Brakes
Disc brakes consist of a Disc Brake Rotor, which is attached to the wheel, and a Caliper, which holds the Disc Brake Pads. Hydraulic pressure from the Master Cylinder causes the Caliper Piston to clamp the Disc Brake Rotor between the Disc Brake Pads. This creates friction between the pads and rotor, causing the vehicle to slow down or stop.
Drum brakes consist of a Brake Drum attached to the wheel, a Wheel Cylinder, Brake Shoes and Brake Return Springs. Hydraulic pressure from the Master Cylinder causes the Wheel Cylinder to press the Brake Shoes against the Brake Drum. This creates friction between the shoes and drum to slow or stop your car.
The Parking Brakes use cables to mechanically apply the brakes (usually the rear brake.) This is used to prevent the car from rolling when not being driven.
Anti-Lock Brakes: A System Built For Safety
Computer-controlled anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a recently developed safety feature. Many drivers when taught to drive, learned that if the wheels skid on slick pavement, the driver is suppose to "pump" the brakes. That is exactly what the ABS system does; it pumps the brakes at robot speed to prevent wheel lock-up during hard stops on slippery pavement.
The system is comprised of wheel-speed sensors that monitor wheel rotation, computer-controlled hydraulic pump that pulse the brakes on and off rapidly, and the on-board ABS computer. Being a computerized system, it checks itself at every start-up and at every stop. If the computer finds something wrong, it does 3 things.
- It turns off the ABS system for safety
- It stores a message in its memory to tell the technician where to look
- and it turns on the amber ABS malfunction indicator light to tell you that the system is off and needs repair. Some computers will also turn on the red Brake malfunction indicator light too just to get your attention.
If the brakes make strange noises, if the ABS light is on, if the red BRAKE warning light is on, if the brakes just feel funny when you come to a stop, or if the brakes do strange things, bring your vehicle to Clearview Tire & Auto Service for a correct diagnosis and professional guaranteed repairs which includes our Certified Auto Repair Nationwide Warranty. We're in Hopkinsville, not far from Ft. Campbell and we've been here since 1952. Most repairs include one year FREE towing and roadside assistance, good 24/7 coast-to-coast.