So, how much do you know about the brakes in your car?
For many of us, we know little more than…it’s the pedal on the left.
The same was true for Bobby’s son, Billy. This, of course, is why Billy sought his father’s assistance when his brakes were ready for an overhaul before heading to college 2 hours away. Luckily for Billy, his dad owns a brake shop in Fort Wayne, IN and has all the tools and experience to work on brakes.
Join Beck’s Auto Center as we go on an adventure through the fascinating world of brakes as told by Bobby, the brake man.
The Ultimate Safety Feature
When we think of safety features, things like seatbelts and airbags usually come to mind. But we can’t neglect the most important safety feature of them all—without brakes, driving would be way too dangerous to even attempt.
Brake Rotor & Caliper
As Bobby explains the importance of brakes to his son, he’d already safely lifted the car and taken off one of the wheels.
Bobby points to a large disc surrounding the wheel hub. “This is called a rotor, Billy. In disc brake systems, this is what the brakes hold on to in order to slow the vehicle down.”
He then points to a mechanical device that’s fitted atop the rotor. “And here’s the caliper. This part squeezes together around the rotor to provide friction.” After some quick wrench turning and fiddling about, Bobby removes the caliper and shows it to Billy.
“You see these?” Bobby pulls out 2 small, somewhat oval, metal pieces. “These are brake pads, also called brake shoes. “You see how worn down they are?” Indeed, the material was worn down to the edge. “This is why you see these little scratches on your rotors. You let the brake pads go too long, and now you’ve damaged your rotors.”
Billy has to go back to the auto parts store…
Brake Lines & Master Cylinder
Billy’s heavy foot brings his dad’s truck to a screeching halt, and he walks back into the shop lugging a brand-new set of rotors for his car.
Bobby shakes his head and says to his son, “It’s no wonder your brakes are worn raw, you need to EASE to a stop, not STOMP to a stop. Anyway, check this out.”
Bobby uses a screwdriver to point at a metal tube traveling from the caliper and disappearing under the vehicle. “The force from your foot on the brake pedal needs to travel all the way to the calipers, right? So, brake systems use hydraulic pressure to do this. Your brake lines carry hydraulic fluid from the master cylinder to your calipers, exerting tons of force on the rotors to slow the car down.”
Bobby goes on to explain, “If you don’t have much brake pedal or it feels mushy or inconsistent, there may be an issue with the brake lines.”
While they are looking underneath at the brake lines, Bobby decides to point out the emergency brake cable.
“Here’s another important safety feature to help prevent your car from unplanned movement. The emergency or parking brake is a lever that’s attached to this cable (which bypasses the hydraulic system that’s used for ordinary braking) and locks up the rear wheels.”
Billy has a mischievous smile on his face. Bobby sees the look and tells his son, “The e-brake is no toy. It’s for parking and for emergencies. And always remember to disengage it before moving the car. Since the emergency brake only uses the rear wheels, keep this in mind in emergency situations to avoid losing control.”
Brake System Service – Beck’s Auto Center
“Now that you know the basics of how brake systems work,” Bobby says to his son, “I hope you’ll have some insight into how to treat your brakes better with safer driving practices and regular maintenance to prevent further damage or an accident down the road.”
Bobby gives his son a smile and a pat on the back as he thinks of Billy’s upcoming college experience. “And when you’re away at Purdue, I won’t be here to fix your car for you, so you’d better get in touch with a reputable repair shop like Beck’s Auto Center at (765) 447-9459 for brake repair in Lafayette, IN!”