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Car Brake Systems

Vehicle Disc Brake System

Vehicle Disc Brake System

Vehicle Disc Brake System

How Brake Disc Work - Professional Auto Care brake repairs - Houston Car Brake Repair

  How do they work?

When the brake pedal is pressed, pressurized brake fluid forces the piston inside the brake caliper to move outwards. The brake calipers move on slider bolts so that even pressure is applied to the brake pads on both sides of the brake rotor. The brake pads are comprised of a block of friction material fastened to a metal backing plate. Each time the brakes are used, a tiny amount of the friction material on the brake pads wears, wear varies depending on the design of the system and the driving conditions and style.

Vehicle Drum Brake System

Vehicle Disc Brake System

Vehicle Disc Brake System

How Drum Brakes Work - Professional Auto Care brake repairs - Houston Car Brake Repair

How do they work?

When the brake pedal is pressed, pressurized brake fluid forces the pistons inside the wheel cylinders to move outwards. The brake shoes are forced against the inside surface of the brake drum in order to stop it from turning.  The brake shoes are comprised of a block of friction material fastened together to a metal backing plate.   Each time the brakes are used, a tiny amount of the friction material on the brake pads wears, wear varies depending on the design of the system and the driving conditions and style. 

Brake Disc System Parts

Brake Pads

Brake Disc Rotor

Brake Disc Rotor

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Function: Flat pads with frictional material that contact the rotor to help slow or stop the vehicle.


Signs of Wear: Chirping, grinding or squealing noise, difficulty stopping the vehicle.


Worn out brake pads limit your ability to safely slow and stop the vehicle and must be replaced when the friction material reaches minimum acceptable levels. To reduce brake squeal and vibrations the brake components should be cleaned, and brake grease or anti-seize compound applied to the non-friction surface of the brake pads, pad ears, and slider bolts.

Brake Disc Rotor

Brake Disc Rotor

Brake Disc Rotor

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Function: A rotating disc that helps slow or stop the vehicle when the brake pads press against its surface.

  

Signs of Wear: Brake pedal pulsation (not to be confused with normal ABS operation), squealing or grinding noise, low brake pedal height, vehicle pulls to the left or right when brakes are applied.


 The friction material on the brake pads wears off over time, but replacing brake pads alone is not always enough to maintain efficient braking. With a worn brake rotor, heat cannot be dispersed effectively, leading to a loss in stopping power. An unevenly worn rotor can cause the steering wheel to shake and the brake pedal to vibrate, especially under heavy braking.  

Brake Caliper

Brake Disc Rotor

Brake Caliper

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Function: A hydraulic clamp that pinches the brake pads onto the rotor to slow or stop the vehicle.


Signs of Wear: Brake lockup, vehicle pulling to the left or right, reduced braking force, spongy brake pedal feel, brake pedal pulsation (not to be confused with normal ABS operation), longer stopping distances, fluid leakage near caliper or rotor.


When the driver presses the brake pedal, pressurized brake fluid forces the piston inside the brake caliper to move outwards. This forces the brake pads to push against the brake rotor.

Brake Drum System Parts

Brake Shoes

Wheel Cylinders

Brake Shoes

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 Function: Shoes that press against the inside of the brake drum to cause friction in order to slow or stop the vehicle.


Signs of Wear: Insufficient friction material on brake shoes, reduced braking ability, low brake pedal height, longer stopping distances, squealing or unusual noises, brake pedal pulsation (not to be confused with normal ABS operation).


 Worn out brake shoes limit your ability to safely slow and stop the vehicle and must be replaced when the friction material reaches minimum acceptable levels. It recommended to have them inspected, clean and adjusted as needed.

Brake Drums

Wheel Cylinders

Brake Shoes

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Function: A drum attached to the wheel that slows the rotation of the wheel when the brake shoes come into contact with its surface.


Signs of Wear: Reduced braking force, low brake pedal height, increased stopping distances, squealing or scraping noises, brake pedal pulsation (not to be confused with normal ABS operation).


 The brake drum is a round cast iron housing attached to an axle shaft or spindle, on which the brake shoes press to stop its rotation.   

round brake drum. When the drum becomes more oval shaped than perfectly round, it can cause the brake pedal to pulsate when braking

Wheel Cylinders

Wheel Cylinders

Wheel Cylinders

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  Function: A hydraulic component that forces the brake shoes against the brake drum to slow or stop the vehicle.


Signs of Wear: Reduced braking force, spongy brake pedal feel, increased stopping distances, fluid leakage near brake drum.


A common failure of the drum brake system is a leaking wheel cylinder. When the seals around the wheel cylinder pistons start to deteriorate with age, brake fluid can leak past and start to contaminate the brake components. Once brake linings become soaked with brake fluid, they must be replaced. 

Other Brake System Components

Brake Hoses

Brake Master Cylinder

Brake Master Cylinder

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Function: Carries brake fluid between the brake line and the brake caliper or wheel cylinder.


Signs of Wear: Spongy brake pedal feel, visible hose cracks or wear, fluid leaks, a damp appearance on or near the hose ends. 

Brake Master Cylinder

Brake Master Cylinder

Brake Master Cylinder

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Function: Converts brake pedal pressure into hydraulic pressure for brake system operation.


Signs of Wear: Loss of brake pedal height, spongy or hard-to-press brake pedal, evidence of fluid leakage on or near the master cylinder. 

Parking Brake Cable

Brake Master Cylinder

Parking Brake Cable

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Function: A steel cable that connects the parking brake lever to the brake system in order to keep the vehicle from moving.


Signs of Wear: Inability to secure parking brake, looseness in brake lever, rear wheel lockup, vehicle rolls after parking brake is secured.

Professional Auto Care is an Auto Repair Shop located in Southwest Houston just outside of Sugar Land and Missouri City offering car brake repairs and other car brake services. Call for more information or to schedule your full brake inspection with an ASE Certified Technician. Be sure to ask about Service Smart ℠  as Service Smart ℠  clients have free brake inspections!