Time to ‘Brake’ It Down
There is more to stopping than just brakes, but that’s where we’ll start. We have front, rear and parking brakes. The front brakes do most of the stopping because the front of your vehicle weighs the most. On most cars, before anti-lock brake systems, we used a proportioning valve which supplied most of the pressure to the front brakes. Before disc brakes, vehicles had four wheel drum brakes and some didn’t have power brakes. These vehicles didn’t travel as fast as we do now, so the system worked.
The power brake system is what we use now. This system uses a vacuum called a brake booster. The vacuum from the engine was used to supply power for braking. On diesels, which have no vacuum on the engine, they use power steering pressure to provide power brakes or an engine mounted vacuum pump.
The brake fluid system uses a master cylinder that supplies pressure to the calipers and wheel cylinders. On most vehicles, with front disc and rear drum brakes, we replace front brakes more often than rear brakes.
Most vehicles with anti-lock brakes use the ABS module to control pressure and prevent tires from skidding.
So you can see there’s more to brakes than pads and rotors. When we check brakes we try to check everything.