All modern automobiles have this wonderful feature included that means the difference between life and death while out on the road – brakes!
Everyday we use our brakes to prevent our vehicle from plowing into the whatever happens to be ahead of us, but we never stop to consider how those brakes do what they do. The way that brakes work, despite what you may think, are actually quite fascinating.
Brakes fail us all of the time. All mechanics understand this, and understanding a little about the hydraulic systems that make braking possible can help us grasp why they fail. This is useful to even the common driver, because if we can understand why they fail us, we can take steps to prevent their failure. That knowledge can save lives.
Keep these two things in mind..
Vehicle brakes are basically our feet in a different place.
If you’ve ever used the emergency brake in your car, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Operating a brake with your arm feels terribly unnatural.
The braking system in your car makes use of your natural tendency to stomp things dead. The harder you press down on the pedal, the faster your car stops. This is the work of competing pistons powered by a hydraulic system.
When you press down on the brake pedal, fluid is compressed by a piston in the chamber adjacent to the pedal. And, since the volume of liquids cannot change, that fluid is pushed towards the chamber next to your brake pad. That extra fluid pushes down on the piston in that chamber and that piston pushes your brake pad towards the tire. As a result of that pad rubbing up against the tire, the car’s wheels are brought to a stop.
If there isn’t enough brake fluid, the brakes can’t do their job.
This is why you should always keep brake fluid topped off. Hydraulic systems are fluid dependent. Without the fluid, the system fails. Many people are blissfully unaware that running a braking system on low fluid can lead to terrible, terrible accidents. Always take preventative measures when dealing with braking systems, not reactionary measures.
If you ever do find yourself with a failed hydraulic system – always consult a professional when repairing it. It’s best to leave these sorts of things in skilled hands. We do hydraulic repair and maintenance for a living, let us help you.