Take a few moments to read our primer on brakes—and learn why regular servicing can save you money!
Ever since hydraulic brakes were introduced in the 1930s, vehicles have primarily used a variation of that basic design to provide stopping power. Basically, when you press the brake pedal, fluid is forced through the brake lines that run to each wheel. The pressure of the fluid forces the brake pads against a brake rotor, causing friction that slows the wheel and, consequently, the vehicle. On vehicles with rear drum brakes, the fluid forces shoes against a drum, but the effect is the same – friction slows the turning of the wheel.
If your car was built in the last 40 years or so, it likely has front disc brakes. The rear brakes will be either discs or drums. And because friction is created whenever you step on the brake pedal, the parts involved with creating that stopping power wear over time.
Ensuring your vehicle has adequate friction components is essential to safe braking performance. Maintaining and replacing those parts when necessary cannot be ignored, because the longer you drive with worn or inadequate brakes, the worse the performance will get—and it may just prove more expensive when you finally take action.