Your vehicles brake system is vital to the operation of your car, it plays a major role in keeping your family and other road users safe. Just the thought of a faulty brake system is enough to generate fear for most of us.
We drive our vehicles at speed and when required put the foot on the brake pedal causing the system to operate and smoothly bring the vehicle to a stop.
A regular check by your service centre of the brake system is essential to ensure all the parts are working correctly, are in correct adjustment and in good order.
The areas that require inspection are usually
When we apply the brakes, brake fluid is pushed through the system from the Master cylinder to the Hydraulic Brake calipers and wheel cylinders, they then activate the friction components of the brake system to slow the vehicle.
Brake fluid that is in a good state, will not compress, so it is able to deliver the pressure required to make the system function properly.
However if the fluid has become contaminated due to moisture in the system or possibly the fluid has boiled as a result of hard braking, can compress, the fluid may lose the ability to function correctly and the pedal can feel spongy or worse non-existent.
Not good for you or your vehicle, should the sudden unexpected stop occur
“Good brake fluid is critical to your brakes operation” therefore we recommend that the brake fluid be changed every 2 years
Brake pads are basically a metal backing plate that have a friction material bonded to them, they sit in the brake caliper and sandwich the brake rotors/discs.
When pressure is applied from the brake pedal they squeeze the rotor causing the vehicle to slow down or stop.
The nature of what they do means they are a component that wears as they operate correctly and regular inspection of the brake pads ensure a safe amount of friction material is available for the system to operate safely.
At normal servicing intervals your mechanic will inspect the brake pads and advise you if they require replacement.
Brake rotors/discs are large steel discs that the system pushes the brake pads against, clamping the rotor, causing the vehicle to slow down.
They have a legal minimum thickness prescribed by law and from time to time require replacement.
When a mechanic decides the brake pads require replacement, they will measure the thickness of the rotor to decide if it can be machined back to a flat surface or if it requires replacement.
The reason for machining or replacing rotors when brake pads are replaced is to ensure maximum contact of the brake pad with a good clean surface on the rotor, this provides you with the optimum safety performance of your system.
Just like brake pads, brake rotors wear out and must be examined to ensure they are within correct specifications or replaced.
While not as prevalent today as they once were in the industry, many vehicles still use a “Drum brake system” on the rear of the vehicle.
Brake shoes are a part of the drum brake system and like brake pads in a disc brake system they have friction material bonded to them, they apply pressure to the brake drum, causing the vehicle to slow down or stop.
Regular inspection and adjustment ensures the maximum contact area with the brake drum is achieved, this then provides you with the correct brake efficiency for your vehicle.
Do I have a problem?
Common symptoms of brake problems are
- Brake pedal goes to floor
- Spongy brake pedal feel
- Very hard pedal feel, with reduced braking
- Vehicle fails to stop
- Vehicle pulls to one side when braking
- Scraping noise coming from the wheels when braking
- Noticeable excessive amount Smoke coming from the wheel area during and after braking
If you have experienced this or have any concerns about your vehicles brakes and how they are performing book your car into your local service centre and let the experts check the system over for you.
If your mechanic finds no fault with your brakes, you can drive confidently, knowing the system will perform properly when needed.
If your mechanic does find faults and rectifies them, you can drive confidently, knowing the system will perform properly when needed.
It’s a win for you either way