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Brake Tech
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How Brakes Work

Brake Pedal


Gratiot at Cass in mobil station

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Disc brakes are standard on the front wheels, with these Parts:
  • Rotor
  • Caliper
  • Brake Pads
  • Brake Hardware Clips
  • Brake Fluid
  • Wheel Bearings

Brake Fluid is pushed by the brake pedal from the master cylinder through brake tubing (lines) to the Calipers. Brake Fluid is a special kind of oil.
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Drum brakes are found on some back wheels, with these Parts:
  • Drum
  • Wheel Cylinders
  • Brake Shoes
  • Brake Hardware Spring Clips
  • Wheel Bearings
  • Hub Assembly
  • Backing Plate
There are different type quality of brake pads, like ceramic, which offer better stopping and less dust on the wheel.

What are brake pads?
Brake pads use friction to slow your car when the you step on the brake pedal. They can be made of many different types of materials.
How do brake pads work?
When you step on the brakes, calipers push the brake pads against both sides of the disc-shaped brake rotor. This friction causes the rotor, and your car's wheels, to begin slowing down so you can safely come to a stop.
When to replace brake pads
Here are a few common symptoms of worn-out brake pads:
  1. Low brake pad warning light is on: Not all vehicles are equipped with this system, but if yours is, this dashboard indicator light will likely be the first signal it’s time to replace your brake pads. 
  2. Brakes start to squeal regularly: This is often one of the first signs of worn brake pads and is caused by a metallic piece built into brake pads for this exact purpose. This part contacts the brake rotor to make a squealing or whining noise when the pads are low. 
  3. Brakes make loud grinding noise: If not addressed early enough, your brake pads may get so worn that the metal backing plate of the pad grinds against the metal rotor. 
  4. Brake pads look thin: You may be able to visually check your brake pad thickness to determine if they need replacement.
Can I drive with a brake problem?
It is not safe to operate any vehicle with a braking problem. If there is any sign that the brakes are not performing as originally intended, the vehicle should immediately be towed and repaired.
If the brake pads are being replaced as part of routine maintenance, with no symptoms noticed, the vehicle can safely be driven to a repair shop. Also, if the brake wear indicator has begun making noise, the vehicle can be driven to a repair facility, but postponing will result in unsafe driving conditions.
How long do brake pads last?
It depends on a number of factors, including where and how you drive, the type of vehicle, and the materials of the brake pads themselves. Frequent city driving, driving through mountainous areas, or just braking abruptly more often than necessary will all decrease the lifespan of your brake pads. 
Check your owner's manual for more detailed information about how long your brake pads should last.
How are brake pads changed?
Here is an overview of the steps:
  1. Raise the car on a lift or jacks and jack stands.
  2. Remove the wheels.
  3. Remove the brake calipers. Brake pad replacement is done in pairs — both front wheels or both rear wheels at the same time, or all four.
  4. Remove and check rotors. Resurface or replace as necessary.
  5. Replace worn brake pads with a new set.
  6. Replace rotors and calipers.
  7. Replace wheels and torque bolts to specifications.
Replacing brake pads on your vehicle is a fairly straightforward procedure, and can be done at home. But because brakes are essential safety equipment, we strongly recommend having a certified repair shop perform this job.
Other brake pad considerations
Brake rotors show wear patterns after many times of grinding into the old brake pads, and must be replaced to avoid brake noise, uneven braking pressure and unpredictable braking performance.
Any grease or automotive fluid, other than water, on the brake rotor will instantly contaminate the brake pad, necessitating replacement of the pads. 

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