Image of brake system source PIXABAY

The brake system of a vehicle comprises of different parts. These parts work together to achieve the primary goal of the brake which is to slow or stop the car when needed. As a driver, it is very important to know all the parts of the brake system.

Why should I know all the components of a brake system yet am just a driver and not a mechanic?

The first reason is you will know how the car’s brake system works.

Secondly, knowing all the components has some economic importance to you.

You will know the amount of money that you should spend on each component.

In this guide, we are going to explore all the major components of a car’s brake system.

Chapter 1: Components of the Disc Brake System

Image of disc brake system source PIXABAY

Here are the main parts of the brake system that you should know:

-Brake Pad

This is a block-like structure that presses itself against the brake rotor to stop the wheels from rotating.

The brake pads are riveted to ensure that they generate maximum friction with the rotor so as to stop a vehicle.

In other words, pads and rotors always work hand in hand.

The linings of the brake pads tend to wear with time hence you will always have to do a brake pad replacement.

You should also know that there are different types of brake pads and they vary in terms of the material of make.

-Brake Rotor

This is another vital component of a car’s disc brake.

Brake rotor provides a surface or a platform on which the brake pad rubs against to produce the necessary friction.

Just like the brake pads, brake rotors also need to be replaced when they wear out.

Once the brake rotor has attained its minimum thickness, you need contact a reliable brake rotor manufacturer.

-Brake Caliper

The function of the brake calipers is to control the movement of the brake pads.

The calipers push the brake pads to the rotor and away from it when needed.

There are two main types of brake calipers. These are fixed calipers and floating calipers.

Just like other brake parts,  you need to brake calipers if they show signs of leaking the brake fluid.

Brake pads, rotors, and calipers are the three main components of a brake disc system.

Chapter 2: Components of a Brake Drum System

Image of brake drum system source PIXABAY

Are there cars that rely on the drum brakes?

Yes, drum brakes are still used on modern vehicles. In fact, they are mainly used on the rear wheels of vehicles.

The main components of a drum brake kit include brake shoes, brake drum, and the backing plate.

-Brake Shoes

Brake shoes function just like the brake pads.

They consist of metal and a drum brake lining that rubs against the brake drum.

The brake shoe parts also wear with time and need to be replaced.

-Brake drum

The brake drum is a metal surface on which the brake shoe makes contact with.

It is imperative to note that the drum usually rotates along with the wheel.

When the shoes are in contact with the drum, friction is generated. This force will reduce the speed or even stop the wheel from rotating.

You also need to replace the brake drums once they are warped.

-Backing Plate

The backing plate is the component that holds all the components of the brake drum together.

It holds together the brake shoes, cylinder and other pieces of brake hardware.

Chapter 3: Brake System Hardware and  Accessories

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There are other brake parts that fall between either brake pad or brake drum system.

They are there to streamline the functionality of the brake system.

The main brake hardware include:

-Return Springs

This brake hardware is located on the drum brake system.

It is responsible for pulling the brake shoes back to their original position after you have released the brakes.

-Wheel cylinder

A wheel cylinder houses two pistons that are responsible for pushing the brake shoes to the drum.

The cylinder is also affected by wear hence you need to replace it after it shows signs of leaking.

-Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

This brake system accessory prevents the brake from locking up.

You are likely to use this accessory when you find yourself in an emergency situation.

ABS prevents extended skidding and you will be able to steer away from the obstacle.

Chapter 4: How Many Types of Brake System are there?

Before you know the types of brake systems, it is important to know the difference between a brake component and a brake system.

A brake system is usually used to refer to the styles of braking.

On the other hand, a brake system refers to the physical components that make up the brake system.

Brake systems are categorized based on the way that they operate.

The main types of brake systems include:

-Electromagnetic braking system; Uses the electric motor to power or stop a vehicle.

-Hydraulic brake system: This type uses hydraulic force to control the movements of the brake pads.

Usually found in hybrid and electric vehicles.

-Mechanical brake system. The operation of the brakes in this system is powered by the mechanical linkages.

-Servo brake system: This type is also known as vacuum assisted braking system. The operation of this brake system is controlled by an enclosed pressure.

When it comes to brakes, there are two main types of brakes.

These are disc brake and drum brake.

Although the two types of brakes have the same working principle, they have different design and construction.

The most common characteristic about them is they need to be replaced when warped.


Image of changing a brake pad brake system source PIXABAY

In conclusion, you should know that a normal car has two front brakes and two rear brakes.

Much of the brake force is handled by the front brakes.

By knowing the components of the brake system, you will have an easy time when an issue arises with any component of the automotive brakes.

You will know what to do whether the brake shoe, brake rotors, and brake shoe parts.

Read More About  Brake System

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Types of brakes