If you are new to driving, the components of the braking system can be a mystery to you. To understand how the system works, you need to know the different parts of the system and the functions of each. Each component will have its own lifespan and there are warning signs you need to spot to repair or replace them.
Brake rotors or brake discs are a main component in the braking of a vehicle. When brake pads press against the rotors, the system will come to a stop. Usually, you can go up to a maximum of 70,000 miles with a brake rotor before it breaks down. But you need to make sure that you inspect it every time you complete 12,000 miles. You will know when to replace the rotors when their surface wears down. You will see a groove on the rotor where the brake pads press down. When there is no smooth surface for the brake pads to grip the rotor, you will experience grinding. Brake pads are activated by brake pistons and they sit on the calipers. The durability will depend on the quality of the brake pads. You can check how brake pads price varies according to the material it’s made from. You can check the owner’s manual to see which brake pads are recommended for your vehicle. When you hear squealing, it is a sign to replace the brake pads. Your car may even be equipped with a sensor that will let you know when brake pads need to be inspected.
Brake calipers are of two types. They can be floating or fixed. They house the brake pistons, brake pads and brake fluid. They work like a clamp and create the friction required to slow the vehicle down. The durability of calipers will depend on how frequently you use the car. If the car is not used and is sitting for long periods of time, the calipers can break down. You need to carry out proper maintenance to ensure that they last a long time. A common issue with calipers is that their seals can break down due to the heat generated in the system. You can check the calipers same time you check your rotors. Brake pistons will put force on the brake pads which will result in friction on the rotors. Brake fluid will activate their operation. There is a risk of brake pistons eroding over time. If your brake is sticking or you notice that the car is leaking brake fluid, it is a good time to check on the pistons.
Brake drums are a component that turns with the wheel and slow down when brake shoes exert a force on it. These are found in drum braking systems. Disc braking systems use brake pads and rotors. Brake drums can last a long time with good maintenance. However, they can fade faster than discs with frequent usage. Brake fluid is what activates the pistons. Once the brake pistons are activated, the brake pads come into play. When there is insufficient brake fluid, the activation of the pistons will not happen properly. Brake fluid levels can drop over time with the wearing of brake pads. You need to regularly flush and replace them after every 20,000 miles.