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Brakes for your vehicle: important for selection

Braking system: operating principle, malfunctions, repair and replacement

The braking system is intended to stop or decelerate the car when it is moving. It is also used for holding the vehicle stationary, even on a hilly road.

Main types

By intended purpose:

  • Primary (service). It is used to decrease the speed of the vehicle or stop it completely. In hydraulic braking systems, which are installed on all passenger cars, the brake fluid transfers force from the pedal to the brake pads or shoes; in pneumatic ones, which are common for trucks, this function is performed by compressed air.
  • Secondary (backup). Usually, it’s a part of the primary braking system, but can be a separate system as well. It is used when the service brakes fail.
  • Parking (emergency). It is used to hold the car stationary for a long time. It prevents the vehicle from moving spontaneously when it is parked on a slope and from rolling back when you hill start. Usually, it has a mechanical actuator, in which brake pads are operated by a metal cable. However, there are also electromechanically actuated systems, where an electric motor mounted directly on the brake caliper provides brake pads pressing against the disc.

By the type of brake mechanism:

  • With discs. This system is the most efficient. It ensures a short braking distance and is resistant to overheating. However, it is prone to getting dirty.
  • With drums. It is less efficient than the disc system but is well protected from dirt, and so can be fitted on the rear axle of some SUVs. The brake shoes wear out slower.

Main components and operation specifics of the braking system

The key elements of a hydraulic braking system are a pedal box, vacuum booster, master and wheel cylinders or brake calipers, discs or drums, as well as brake pads or shoes, hoses and pipes. When the pedal is pressed, the piston of the master cylinder moves and the brake fluid is compressed to drive the pistons of the brake calipers or wheel cylinders. The pistons, being in contact with the brake pads or shoes, press them against the disc or drum.

In parking brakes, a system of levers and cables is usually used to transfer force to the pads (shoes).

Most common malfunctions

  • Loss of tightness of the system, caused by hardened seals of the cylinders (calipers) or pistons, or cracked fittings and hoses as a result of a collision.
  • Brake caliper guide pins get stuck due to failure to lubricate the parts in good time, torn boots, or unsuitable grease.
  • Brake discs can warp because of being overheated.
  • Premature or uneven wear of brake pads (shoes) caused by an aggressive driving style, low-quality spare parts, or errors during installation.

Proven ways to extend the service life of the system

To ensure a long and efficient service life of your braking system, you should lubricate caliper guide pins and replace the working fluid in due time, and avoid aggressive driving habits. After the new discs and pads are installed, they have to be properly bedded-in.

What you should know about repairing braking systems

Braking system repairs usually involve installation of new parts instead of faulty ones. For example, leaking hoses, pipes, fittings and connectors, pistons, hardened seals, worn-out pads, damaged or worn-out discs have to be replaced. It is possible to restore the master cylinder with the help of the repair kit, which contains o-rings, seals and washers, pistons and springs. There are also brake caliper repair kits.

Motor-doctor.co.uk: only high-quality car parts

At our online shop, you can choose and buy braking system components for your vehicle without any hassle. We provide a warranty for all components, and many of them are available at a promotional price.

DISCOUNT PRICES

Greatly reduced prices on many brand-name spares

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Free delivery for orders over £ 250

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Your order will be dispatched as soon as possible after receipt of payment

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