About Me

Understanding Car Issues

When I began thinking more seriously about car issues, it occurred to me that there were a few things I needed to do if I wanted to make things easier for myself in the long run. For starters, I began taking my car in for regular auto service, which really helped out. It was really interesting to see how many different things had to be fixed every time I went in, but when my car didn't have as many problems, I could tell that it was really paying off. This website is all about understanding and preventing car problems by making better choices.



Latest Posts

Understanding Car Issues

Stopping Power: Understanding The Components Of Your Braking System

by Micheal Barrett

You're driving down a quiet, country road in the middle of the night when you suddenly catch the light from your headlights reflecting off of something just off to your right. Before you know it, a deer leaps into the street directly in front of your car. You slam on the brake pedal, and your car comes to a screeching halt. Behind the scenes, a huge number of important components were working in concert to make that sudden stop possible.

Your brakes are responsible for bringing thousands of pounds of metal to a quick stop with a minimum of drama, but do you really know what happens when you push that pedal to the floor? Keep reading to learn about the important components that help keep you safe every time you go for a drive.

The Importance of Fluid

The one and only job of your car's braking system is to slow and stop the car whenever you push the brake pedal to the floor. While this may sound simple, consider that you are translating a fairly light amount of foot pressure into enough force to stop a vehicle that may weight up to several tons. How is this incredible feat accomplished? Through the power of hydraulics.

When you push that pedal, you aren't directly applying any force at your car's wheels. Instead, the pedal is a lever which actuates a piston in a component called the master cylinder. The master cylinder is filled with fluid, and by pushing that piston, you create the hydraulic pressure necessary to bring your car to a stop. The master cylinder itself actually contains two pistons: the primary piston, which you actuate with the brake pedal, and a secondary piston, which is moved via pressure created by pushing the primary piston.

Note that your car most likely also has a vacuum-operated component called a brake booster. This additional component is located between your brake pedal and the master cylinder, and its job is to amplify the force applied to the pedal. Without a brake booster, operating your brake pedal would be considerably harder.

Brake Lines and Hoses

Attached to your master cylinder are two valves which connect to your brake lines. The primary piston creates pressure in the line which leads to your front brakes, while the secondary piston creates pressure in the line leading to your rear brakes. These two separate brake pistons ensure that even pressure is applied to your front and rear brakes (usually referred to as circuits).

In most modern cars, your brake lines are primarily made up of the hard lines which run from the master cylinder to each wheel. These are metal pipes which carry hydraulic fluid, and they will sometimes corrode and ultimately develop leaks. At the wheels themselves, flexible brakes hoses are used to go the last mile and deliver hydraulic fluid to your calipers. It is necessary to use flexible hoses in this instance to allow the brake line to flex with the motion of the wheels.

Putting it All Together With Friction

So what happens when that hydraulic pressure finally reaches your wheels? Surprisingly, it's not that complicated. If your car uses disc brakes, then a large, metal disc (called a rotor) sits on the wheel hub. The caliper sits over the disc, and your brake pads are located on the inside of the caliper against the rotor itself. When you push down on your brake pedal, the pressure in the hydraulic lines compresses a piston, inside the caliper which in turn pushes the brake pads against the rotor. This friction is what brings your car to a stop.

Although most people may only be familiar with their pads and rotors, there are many important components that go into a well-functioning braking system. Keeping all of these components in tip-top shape and replacing them as they age or fail is a vital part of having a car that keeps you safe on the road. Turn to resources like http://www.autorepairhighdesert.com/ for assistance.