An inevitable fact of automobile ownership is occasional auto repair. When examining the repair shop bill, you may find several line items covering the repair of brakes. Before you gasp at the cost of this particular automotive service, take the time to learn how the brake system in your vehicle works. You will find much going on between brake pedals and tires.
The central component of the brake system is the master cylinder, which holds the brake fluid. Pressing down on the brake pedal causes the master cylinder to deliver fluid to each braking unit by way of steel tubing. These brake lines, as they are known, transport the brake fluid to a caliper – in the case of disc brakes – that straddles the disc. The caliper, as it fills with brake fluid, squeezes the brake apparatus to slow the disc. When the disc – or rotor – slows down, the corresponding wheel slows as well.
Disk brakes, however, are not the only brakes in use. Rear wheels are sometimes attached to drum brakes. With this type of brake, the fluid enters a wheel cylinder and causes the padded brake shoes to apply friction to the drum. Meeting this resistance, the spinning drum decreases in velocity, causing the wheel to do likewise.
As with your muffler, steering, suspension, and exhaust systems, your brakes will likely require eventual replacement by auto repair professionals. All these parts are necessary for the safe and proper function of the vehicle. Obstructions in dual exhaust systems or holes in mufflers are serious problems that can lead to malfunctions. Worn brake pads or brake line blockage, however, pose major safety risks and call for immediate repair.