Driving a car is something that comes second nature to every driver.

From changing gears to checking your blind spots, these actions become habitual. Have you ever thought about the process your car makes when you trigger certain actions?

Braking is another action we often do without thinking about, unless an emergency stop occurs. But how does a light push on the brake stop a heavy car from moving at fast speed?

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When a car is in motion it produces energy of motion (also known as kinetic energy) and in order for a car to stop, the brakes need to get rid of the kinetic energy.

This is done by using force of friction to convert this motion of energy into heat.

As soon as you push your foot down on the brake pedal, a piston is pushed by a connected lever into the master cylinder – this is then filled with hydraulic fluid. This fluid is squirted along a system of pipes into wider cylinders positioned next to the brakes on each wheel.

The force of your foot on the brake is multiplied by the hydraulic system, creating enough force to apply the brakes and make the car stop. These car brakes are either disc brakes or drum brakes. The majority of modern cars utilise disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear wheels. Most luxury cars have disc brakes on all four wheels. Drum brakes are only on all four wheels of old or very small cars.

Brakes discs not working?

Disc brakes consist of three components;

  • A brake disc
  • A brake caliper
  • A brake pad

When the brake pedal is pushed down the hydraulic fluid makes the brake caliper press the brake pad against the brake disc.

The rubbing of the brake pad against the brake disc generates friction, and converts kinetic energy into heat in the brake pad.

Stopping a speeding car can heat the brakes up to temperatures of 950º F or 510°C. In order to withstand such high temperatures, the brake pads are made of materials such as composites, alloys and ceramics that don’t melt at such high heat.

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Drum brakes not working?

Drum brakes consist of two components; a drum and a shoe. The type of brake also uses friction but in a slightly different process. A hollow drum turns with the wheel, and when the brake pedal is pushed down, a hydraulic cylinder pushes the brake shoes with friction linings against the inner surface of the brake drum. This creates friction therefore slowing the car down.

If you think your car’s brakes needs a bit of TLC, or you need to find a local garage that offer brake repair services, why not try WhoCanFixMyCar? We’ll find the best garage to help suit your needs. If you have any questions the do not hesitate to get in touch.

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