Service Saturday: Brakes – What Kind Do You Have and How To Take Care Of Them

servicesaturdayBrakes are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, what good is it to be able to go if you can’t stop!  Either going  on a long road trip or on a short drive to the store, if you can’t stop it won’t be a good trip.

What Kind of Brakes Do You Have?

For the past few decades there have been only 2 predominant types of brakes, disc brakes and drum brakes. They work in essentially the same way, and symptoms of a worn system are often identical.

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes predate disc brakes by many years, but they are still a reliable and affordable braking technology. However, because drum brakes do not dissipate heat as well as disc brakes, they are often only found on the rear two wheels of vehicles. Drum brakes essentially consist of two rounded brake shoes housed inside a round drum that spins with the wheels of a vehicle. When the brake pedal is applied, fluid pushes the two brake pads out against the drum where they create friction and slow the vehicle.

Disc Brakes

A car’s disc brakes work much like those of a motorcycle or bicycle. A caliper that houses two brake pads is mounted over a thin disc shaped rotor. The rotor spins with the wheels while the brake caliper remains stationary. When the brake pedal is applied, the two brake pads in the caliper squeeze the rotor to create friction and slow the vehicle. Check out the two diagrams from  CarBibles below to see the difference between drum and disc brakes visually.



Maintaining Your Car’s Brakes

Fortunately, drum and disc brake systems should go many thousands of miles without any trouble. Keep an eye on brake fluid and inspect your brake pads every 12,000 miles or so. If the pads are less than 1/8 inch thick consider replacing them. Otherwise, just keep an eye out for unusual behavior that could indicate a problem.

Detecting a Problem With Your Brakes

The importance of your brakes cannot be overstated, if you experience these symptoms have your brakes inspected.

  •  Strange sounds when braking
  • Your car “pulls” to the left or right when driving
  • Vibrations when applying the brakes
  • A “mushy” or inconsistent brake pedal
  • Noticeable grooves in the rotors
  • Strange smells

Have Buckeye Inspect Your Brakes

Hopefully you are not experiencing any of these warning signs of brake problems. If you are, do something about it as soon as possible.  Brake problems don’t fix themselves, and letting these problems persist could lead to an accident.  Let Buckeye take a look at your brakes, we can give you an overall assessment of your current brakes and take care of any problems that you might be experiencing.



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