Major Brake Parts 101
Without the ability to stop, vehicles cannot get up and go. Well, technically speaking, they can start and move about, but it is not going to be pretty if they are unable to slow down and stop. So, how does this happen, and what are the main parts that allow this to happen? In simple terms, there is a transmission of energy, through pressurized fluid, from the force applied to the brake pedal. The fluid makes its way to the brake drum. The drum is attached to the wheel, and when there is enough friction, the wheel will slow down and come to a complete stop. Now, here is where it becomes more specific, the function of each major part.
- Brake Pedal-The foot pedal to the left of the gas pedal. This is what the driver presses down on to control the deceleration and stopping of the vehicle.
- Vacuum Booster- After depressing the brake pedal, the booster further increases the pressure in the master cylinder. This additional pressure reduces the amount of downforce needed to stop the vehicle.
- Master Cylinder-A storage unit for hydraulic oil (brake fluid), and the driving force of the pistons that push the fluid through the brake lines.
- Brake Lines-Tubes and hoses through which brake fluid flows from the master cylinder to the brake assembly. This assembly includes the caliper, brake pads, and rotor.
- Caliper-This essential component encases a piston and the brake pads. When pressure is applied, pistons force the brake pads against the rotor.
- Brake Pads- The metal, ceramic, and organic pads (These are not soft and squishy!) located on both sides of the rotor. When forced against the rotor, friction and heat slow the wheel, which causes the vehicle to stop. Over time, the brake pads will wear down and need to be replaced.
- Rotor- The metal disk attached to the wheel hub that slows the speed of the spinning wheel.
The functions of the braking system and its components are simple, yet critical. But remember, it’s the little things in life that sometimes make the greatest impact. This seems to be the case when it comes to stopping a vehicle. So, be sure to keep your brakes in good shape. Schedule your next brake service with Carlisle Air Automotive in North San Antonio, Texas.