Besides acceleration, braking system is the most important element in a smooth, safe and comfortable drive. The design of a braking system depends on the type and size of the car.
The braking systems for larger cars are much more complex than average family cars. The first major component of a braking system is the brake pedal that is pressed to stop the car.
Brake pedals are produced using very sturdy steel and functions on the principle of a lever. This lever passes on the force generated when the pedal is pressed down with the foot to a component known as ‘Master Cylinder’.
The brake pedal is also provided with an electric switch to turn on brake lights at the rear of the car when the brake pedal is pressed. When the brake pedal is pressed, power is transmitted to the master cylinder through a push-rod.
Master cylinders are storage tanks for brake fluid and it also has a piston. This piston compresses the brake fluid to distribute fluid to the remaining portion of the braking system through brake pipes. These pipes are normally produced from copper alloys.
Defects are frequently detected in these pipes. The pressure applied on the brake is then passed on from the master cylinder to the brake calipers or wheel cylinders situated on each corner of the car, on which the wheel rests.
Although the present models of cars are fitted with disc brakes on all four wheels, older types of cars have drum brakes on the rear wheels. Disc brakes are more effective than drum brakes. That is the reason why disc brakes are provided on all four wheels of the car.
The pressure transmitted to the master cylinder is then shifted to a piston in the brake calipers. This pressure from calipers exerts force on the brake pads against the brake discs and brings the car to a halt brake pads are very crucial for efficient functioning of a braking system and therefore, should be checked and replaced at frequent intervals.
Brake pads are a combination of a metal and an organic substance and are of sturdy construction designed to bear high degree of heat and pressure capable of handling speed and stopping distances of cars equally well.
In the past, brake pads were made of asbestos compounds, which are now forbidden in view of safety and health concerns linked to cancer. Brake drums and discs are generally made of durable steel or cast iron. These parts should also be checked for wear and tear from time to time. The worn out brake drums and discs cause vibrations and poor braking.
Examination of braking system of a car should be entrusted to an expert at service stations periodically. Do get your car brake system checked and serviced by a qualified mechanic. Many car owners will not be aware that there is problem with the brakes of their vehicles till hear a very loud grinding noise and by that time great damage would already have occurred. It is therefore essential to have the brakes checked from time to time and ensure that only very good quality parts are fitted at a renowned garage or service center.