How do car brakes work?
13 December 2019

How do car brakes work?

Though we have been using a car for a long time, most of its mechanism is still a mystery to the common man. We take the working of a car for granted. And whenever some repairing is required, we take it to the experts. However, knowing how your car works will definitely help you understand your car better. And will also attune to any problem that occurs before it becomes dangerous.

One of the main aspects of driving the car is its brake system. When you learn to drive and practice, pressing the brakes becomes almost a reflective action. Do you ever think how does the brake system actually works? It is quite fascinating.

Brake System Components

As you know there are various car models running on the road. And most of these cars have either a Disc brake or drum brake. New models tend to have disc brakes whereas older versions might have a combination of both the brakes.

Irrespective of the type of brake your vehicle has, brakes work on the principle of friction. Friction is an opposing force generated to combat the moving energy or kinetic energy of the car. In simple words, when you press the brake pedal, creating friction. This friction in turn slows or stops your car from moving. Thus brakes are applied. However, it is quite interesting to understand how the car generates friction.

Before we understand the mechanism, let’s know the parts that are responsible for the brake mechanism

  1. Master cylinder with Hydraulic Fluid
  2. Brake disc, caliper, and pad in case of disc brake
  3. Brake drum and brake shoes in drum brake

First, let’s understand how disc brake works

how a disc brake works

When a brake pedal is pressed by the driver, the hydraulic liquid is passed on to the cylinder that is connected to brakes. Hydraulic liquid multiplies the force you apply by many fold. And it is this pressure that causes the brake caliper to press against the brake pad creating the necessary friction. And this friction, in turn, puts a brake on the moving vehicle.

In the case of the drum brake, when we press the brake pedal the hydraulic fluid gets to work. It pushes the brake shoes to press against the inner surface of the brake drum generating the necessary friction. This friction, in turn, slows down the movement of the car.

Thus irrespective of the type of brake, the basic principle remains the same. The friction generated opposes the movement of the car and thus results in the ceasing the car movement.

You must note that the heat generated to create fiction is very high. And therefore, the brake pad is made using materials such as alloys, composites or ceramics that can stand high heat and high pressure. And bigger the car, bigger is the friction needed. Thus, while changing brake parts or servicing them, ensure that no parts are of poor quality or damaged in any way. Remember brake is for your safety. So ensure your brakes are in working condition at all the time to enjoy safe driving!

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