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Car Brake Maintenance

If you suspect a problem with your brakes, you should have your vehicle checked right away. At Sant Automotive, we can tell you what kind of braking system you have, if you need any vehicle brake parts replaced, or perhaps you need your brake fluid flushed. Whatever the case, come by or call us of an appointment at 314-849-2900.

Hydraulic Brake Components

A hydraulic brake is a braking mechanism which uses brake fluid to transfer pressure from the brake pedal or lever to the braking mechanism. Hydraulic brake components usually consist of a pedal or lever, a master cylinder containing a piston and brake fluid, and a brake caliper assembly containing pistons and either a rotor and pads or a drum.

 In a hydraulic brake circuit, when the brake pedal is pressed, a pushrod exerts force on the piston(s) in the master cylinder, causing fluid from the brake fluid reservoir to flow into a pressure chamber through a compensating port. This results in an increase in the pressure of the entire hydraulic system, forcing fluid through the hydraulic lines toward one or more calipers where it acts upon one or more caliper pistons sealed by one or more seated O-rings (which prevent leakage of the fluid).

Brake calipers then apply force to the brake parts depending on the brake operations.

Different Types of Car Brakes

Most cars have a few different kinds of brake systems in order to cover all types of braking situations. Your car may have two or three of the following mechanisms. Here we provided some information about common types of braking systems.

Disc Brake Operation

Disc brakes consist of a brake attached directly to the wheel. Hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder causes a caliper (which holds the brake pads just outside the rotor) to squeeze brake pads on either side of the spinning rotor. The friction between the pads and the rotor causes the vehicle to slow down and stop.

Vehicles that have disc brakes on all four wheels are said to be “four wheel disc equipped” or “4 wheel disc braking”.  

Drum Brake Operation

Drum brakes consist of a brake drum attached to the inside of the wheel. When the brake pedal is pressed, fluid enters a wheel cylinder that press brake shoes against the inside of the brake drum. This creates friction and causes the vehicle to slow and stop.  

Brake drums were commonly applied to all four wheels before disc brakes. However disc brakes have shown better heat dissipation and greater resistance to ‘fading’ and are therefore generally safer than drum brakes. Some vehicles have disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear. These are called “two-wheel brake systems.”

Electric Car Braking System

Modern energy-efficient cars employ a brake system called regenerative braking. Regenerative braking systems are most common in hybrids like the Toyota Prius and in fully electric cars like the Tesla Roadster. This braking system is an energy recovery mechanism that uses the momentum of the vehicle to recover energy and store it in a battery.

With regenerative braking, stepping on the brake pedal causes the electric motor that powers the vehicle to run backwards, causing the motors to act as a generator. Kinetic energy is converted into electricity and stored in the batteries.

An electric car braking system usually employs both regenerative and conventional brake operations, since regenerative brakes cannot produce sufficient stopping power for all situations.

Parking Brake and Emergency Brake

Emergency brakes, also known as parking brakes, are a secondary braking system that work independent of the service brakes. While there are many different kinds of emergency brakes (a stick lever between the driver and passenger, a third pedal, a push button or handle near the steering column, etc.), almost all emergency brakes powered by cables which mechanically apply pressure to the wheels. They are generally used to keep a vehicle stationary while parked, but can also be used in emergency situations if the stationary brakes fail.

Brake Maintenance Service

Your brake system is a closed circuit, just like your AC system. So, if you are low on brake fluid then we would check your hydraulic brake circuit for a leak. It is also important to check for dirty brake fluid, which can damage expensive anti-lock brake components. vehicle manufacturers recommend that brake fluid be flushed every two years.

Check out more about brake service from our partner BG Products.

For all of your brake needs, call Sant Automotive. 314-849-2900.