Brakes are one of the most important aspects of a car to care for. A proper brake maintenance should be performed regularly to ensure your brakes are in good condition. Regular brake care doesn’t just give you the assurance of safety and functionality, it also ensures the lifespan of your car’s brake system. In this article, we shall be focusing mainly on various components of the brakes and how to ensure they are working optimally.
*Brakes:* Brakes don’t just stop the car, friction is the force that slows down the car to a stop. Modern cars use brake discs. Other type is the drum type brakes but I will focus on the brakes discs for now. In the next article, we shall be discussing the *anti-lock brakes* which is also an integral part of the braking system.
Disc brakes are made up of 5 parts – brake discs, calipers, brake lines, brake pads, and brake master cylinder. Brake discs have plate like discs which are also called rotors and they are attached to the wheel. The discs are squeezed by the brake pads in the caliper and this brings the wheel to a stop when the pedal is engaged.
*Brake pads:* This is a high friction material and a metal backing plate that presses against the disc brake. The pads serve as the foundation for the friction material.
*Caliper:* This is part of the brake that wraps around and contain small pistons and are pushed against the disc by the pistons. The hydraulic action of the brake fluid will then push the pistons outwards. The hydraulic power comes from the brake pads and is distributed against the brake disc evenly. The more pistons there are in the caliper, the more evenly the pressure is spread on the disc brake.
The pressure made by the hydraulic brake is built in the master cylinder by stepping your foot on the brake pedal. The pressure then goes to the brake lines from the master cylinder and then on to the calipers.
* 3 Signs to note when you need new brakes-*
1. High pitched squealing – this means your brake pads are rubbing against the rotors.
2. Your steering wheel wiggles when you are stopping. Warped rotors can cause this problem.
3. You have to push the brake pedal further to stop your vehicle.
*Keep your brakes well maintained*
Cars that are regularly maintained have great braking capability.
Stick to car brake maintenance schedule in the manual so you won’t forget when your brakes needs to be serviced. If you don’t know when to replace your brake fluid and pads, inspect your pads for wear every 12,000 miles. Most manufacturers would recommend you to replace them when there’s a quarter inch less of the pad lining remaining. You can check your brake fluid from time to time or you can ask your technician to do the inspection when you change your oil. You can also opt to change your brake fluid when it’s dirty.
Remember that the brake fluid and pads need to be replaced in accordance with your driving style and your vehicle’s specific needs. If you are unsure on how to do your brake system maintenance, you can call for help. Contact the nearest auto vehicle diagnostic and repair centre and schedule for a brake maintenance.
Written by Adeniyi Balogun.