Life throws a lot at us. Children chase runaway toys into the streets. Lost pets aimlessly wander the roads, exploring the terrain. Animals dart out from Georgia's woods and freeze in fear. A vehicle should be able to stop on a dime because you never know when you might need to slam on the brakes. Brakes serve as one of the most important safety features in a vehicle and should be regularly maintained to ensure functionality. Therefore, monitoring brake conditions should be one of the highest priorities.
How Do Brakes Work?
Two types of brakes typically exist in the automobile industry: disk brakes and drum brakes. In a braking system, the front two wheels usually function through disk brakes while the back two wheels may be either disk or drum brakes. Although different in structure, these two types of brakes perform the same function: to stop the motion of the vehicle.
When the driver presses the brake pedal, a plunger pushes against the master cylinder. The master cylinder releases brake fluid through a variety of tubes and hoses, referred to as brake lines, into the wheel units. In a disk brake, the pressure of the brake fluid presses against a piston. The piston squeezes the brake pads together against the rotor, which causes the wheels to slow down or stop. In a drum brake, the fluid pushes against "shoes" housed within the drum that expand outward into the inner wall of the spinning drum, which cases friction. Friction slows the wheels and stops the wheels from rotating.
Click on the Brake System and watch the animation about how brakes work.
The Importance of Brake Fluid
Brake fluid levels should be checked and maintained. Quickly depleting brake fluid could indicate a leak in the system. Any potential leak in the braking system should receive immediate inspection and correction by an auto technician. Without brake fluid, the vehicle's braking system will not function. Regular brake fluid flushes and brake line bleeding to remove the air and contaminants within the system should occur every 30,000 miles to ensure a healthy braking system.
When Should I Replace My Brakes?
1. The brake pedal pulsates.
A brake pedal will pulsate when the brake pads go bad. The pulsating occurs with improper contact between the brake pedal and the rotor. While the pulsating pedal could signify a brake pad issue, the pulsating could indicate an issue with a wheel's rotors.
2. The brake pedal feels spongy.
A spongy brake pedal is usually the result of air in the brake lines. Air in the brake lines causes the brake fluid to not perform its function as effectively. A spongy brake pedal causes a delay in stopping rates, and the vehicle will not stop as quickly or easily. To fix the problem, an auto technician must drain the braking system of all of the air within the lines. This process is called bleeding the brakes.
3. Poor brake response time.
Worn brake pads and other problems in the braking system may hinder the braking system's response time. Poor stopping ability reduces the overall safety ability of the braking system. Reduced brake response diminishes the handling of the vehicle and puts the driver, passengers, and other vehicles on the road at risk.
4. Noisy brakes
Often, wear and tear on a vehicle causes the vehicle to make sounds that it ordinarily would not. Noisy brakes indicate that the brake pads, or other parts of the braking system, require immediate attention. Squealing and vibrating brakes should never be ignored. When the brake pads wear completely down, metal-on-metal contact with the rotor occurs. Noisy brakes always warn the driver that a problem exists, and ignoring the signs only causes further, more expensive damage down the road.
Hopewell Tire & Auto Repair of Athens GA provides Brake Service, Brake Repair, and Brake Replacement.
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