The brake system on your vehicle is normally only a concern when it does not work correctly. This could be when that deer jumps into the middle of the highway or when the brakes are becoming less responsive. Suddenly brakes are very important. A general understanding of your brake system can save you money and keep you traveling safely. It is important to bring your vehicle in at the first sign of any problem starting to form with it. That way we can inspect it before the issue becomes larger and more costly.

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Understanding the Braking System

Brakes convert the kinetic energy of vehicle motion into heat. They do this by stopping the wheels from turning. Brakes may not always stop the vehicle if high speeds or road conditions cause the vehicle to continue skidding along. Many drivers tend to think of a skid as brake failure. Actually the situation is a failure of the driver to understand the traction conditions and to drive accordingly. The typical brake system is relatively simple. When you step on the brake pedal, the force your leg exerts is applied to a device called a master cylinder. The master cylinder contains a piston that pressurizes a network of hydraulic brake lines. Each hydraulic brake line leads to each of the vehicle’s wheels. At each wheel, that brake fluid pressure operates the brakes by driving pistons that force brake pads against a rotating drum or disc. Friction is what slows the wheel, and in turn, the entire vehicle. If you notice the brakes are becoming less responsive, make sure to schedule an appointment to bring the vehicle in.

Maintaining the Brakes is Important

When the replaceable brake pads are close to wearing out, metal tabs are designed to create a squealing noise when the brakes are applied. This will alert the driver that the brakes are due for replacement. These worn pads might not help you stop as well as a new set. If it is ignored long enough, they can cause damage to the rotors, drums and other components. Regular replacement of these brake pads is not all that might need maintenance in this system. Normal use can cause brake drums and discs to wear unevenly and need to be re-machined to work correctly.

Anti-Lock Braking System

Your brake system is much more effective just before the wheels lock up than after. Once the brakes lock and the wheels begin to skid, you will not stop as quickly and you will lose steering control as well. Anti-lock braking systems help to reduce stopping distances in most situations. They are extremely more effective on slick roads or while cornering. Anti-lock braking uses a combination of electronics and hydraulic controls to allow braking up to the point of wheel lock-up. At this point, the system reduces fluid pressure to keep deceleration at the maximum for the road conditions. It helps your vehicle to stop faster by not having to pump the brakes to avoid wheel lockup. This helps keep your vehicle safe when you have to step on the brakes.

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