Brake service: A Short Course On Brakes

Brakes are an essential part of your vehicle; no questions there. But how do brakes work? When you step on your brakes, you are confident that this will bring you to a halt, but how can you be sure? Brake service is necessary to ensure that the brakes that you trust your life with, sometimes every day, are in functioning condition. Here is a brief overview of how brakes stop your vehicle. 


The science of stopping

If your vehicle is moving, you have kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy that an object possesses because it has mass and velocity, which is the speed in a specific direction. The more mass you have, the faster you are going, the more kinetic energy you have. To stop a vehicle, you have to get rid of the kinetic energy, which brakes do.  


Hydraulic Brakes

So what happens when you put your foot to the brake? Your foot pushes on the brake pedal, which moves another lever below it, which increases your pushing force. The lever pushes a piston into a narrow cylinder filled with hydraulic brake fluid. The piston moves the cylinder, which carries the hydraulic fluid into another cylinder located in the wheel. When the fluid enters this cylinder, it pushes the piston on the broader cylinder, which increases the force. The piston moves the brake pad toward the brake disc. When the brake pad touches the brake disc, the friction between them slows down the outer wheel and tire, which stops the car. 


Different types of brakes

Most cars have two or three different types of braking systems:

  • Disc Brakes: When you step on your brake pedal, a pad clamps onto the brake disc and rubs to make it slow down. 
  • Drum Brakes: These brakes use a shoe inside a hollow wheel hub; the friction slows you down.
  • Handbrake: A handbrake applies the two rear brakes (disc or drum). When you pull the brake cables, apply the brakes to the back wheels.


Understanding brakes and how they work emphasizes the importance of functioning brakes. Remember to have them inspected when doing preventative maintenance.

Brakes on Demand is a mobile brake service based out of Lowell, MA. Contact us at (978) 596-6676 to schedule an appointment today!


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