A Lesson in Automotive Brake Systems

A Lesson in Automotive Brake Systems

The brake systems in a car or truck are one of the most important to manage. You might want to drive fast and far, but when you get to where you need to go, you’ll need to safely stop. In this blog, we are going to break down the brake system, automotive brake repair, and look at some tips and strategies to keep your brake system safely stopping. 

HOW DO AUTOMOTIVE BRAKES WORK?

First of all, the brake system’s primary function is to slow down and stop a vehicle from moving. The brake system does this by applying friction onto the surface of a rotating mass. The rotating mass can be one of two types – either Drum Brake System or Disc Brake System – and it spins with the wheels of the car. 

On a Disc’s Brake system, there are two main parts, the brake pad, and the brake rotor. On a Drum Brake system, the two main parts are the brake drum and the brake shoes. These are the parts that make contact and slow the car. When contact is made with either of these two parts the Brake Drum and or Brake Disc that is rotating with the wheel is slowed and…viola! The vehicle comes to a stop. 

HOW DO BRAKES WEAR OUT?

Just as the sole of a shoe wears and becomes thin, so does the surface of the brakes. Most commonly when the brakes are worn out, the friction surfaces of the brake shoe or the surface of the brake pad has worn thin. 

Stop and go driving, towing, mountainous routes, and just general time and mileage, wear these surfaces. Basically, the brakes are worn when there is too little friction material to safely stop a vehicle.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BRAKES ARE BAD?

The first indicator is found in modern vehicles that have an electronic wear indicator. When the system becomes triggered, it provides you with a warning light on your dashboard. There is also a component referred to as a “squealer.” The squealer is a small thin piece of metal that, when exposed to the brake rotor through a worn pad, makes a very high-pitched noise letting you know your brakes are worn. 

Another indication may be something you feel when you brake. This can include brake pedal pulsation pushing back against your foot via the brake pedal while braking, also known as ‘Spongy Brakes’.  Other signs include shaking in the steering wheel or vibration in the body of the vehicle as you apply the brakes. Those sorts of signs usually indicate warped or damaged rotors and will immediately need to be inspected.

While there are many vehicles that do not have an early warning system in place, proper and regular brake inspections are necessary to avoid costly repairs in the future. The best way to know what condition your brakes are is to have them inspected regularly. Having your brake inspection done at a regular interval and doing a little brake maintenance can keep you from spending more than needed in brake repair.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF I WAIT TOO LONG TO REPAIR MY BRAKES?

When a brake pad or brake shoes wear out and the friction material is too thin or worn away it is too late. The hard steel backing plate of the brake pad or the steel rivets of the brake shoe dig into the rotor or drum and damage it. Worn parts can also damage the hydraulic parts of the brake system by overextending the moving parts. The important thing to remember is when you are proactive and perform regular brake maintenance and check-ups, it helps to avoid expensive brake repairs later.

HOW MUCH DOES A BRAKE REPAIR JOB COST?

Brake jobs will have a wide array of costs. There are many many variables. Manufacturer, the type of driver you are, the distances you drive, etc.  So, answering that question in a blog is close to impossible. What we can tell you is the cost can be can range anywhere from fifty to thousands of dollars. It depends on your vehicle and the extent of the wear. Again, being proactive will help keep the costs down. The truth is you shouldn’t ever trust an estimate without your vehicle first being inspected. 

THE BEST BRAKE REPAIR IN STERLING VA!

When considering an auto repair shop in Sterling, VA, you want the best mechanic in the area. The best automotive brake repair is one that is done safely and improves the quality of your car or truck. The best brake job is a complete service to the braking system, including the hydraulics, the moving parts, pins, slides, springs, calipers, mounting surfaces, and resetting electronic brake wear systems. The best brake job either replaces the rotors and drums or resurfaces them after they have been properly measured and inspected. If you’re looking for the best brake job it starts with trust, both in your parts, your mechanic, and if you’re doing it yourself, you need to trust that you can do the job safely.

Make an appointment at Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, VA. Our team of certified technicians has got your brake system covered!