Dependable Vehicles Require Maintenance

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Master Cylinder
Brake Lines & Hoses
Wheel Cylinders and Calipers
Disk Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes
Pedal to the Metal: How Disc Brakes Work
The brake system is actually composed of two kinds of systems---Hydraulics and Friction Materials. Here's what happens within these systems between the time your foot hits the brake pedal and your car stops.
Master Cylinder
When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, the master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure which pushes brake fluid to the wheel brakes.
Brake Lines and Hoses
Steel brake lines and high pressure rubber hoses are the avenues through which the pressurized brake fluid travels.
Wheel Cylinders and Calipers
These are the hydraulic cylinders that apply pressure to the friction materials, causing your car to stop.
  Friction Materials
Disc Brake Pads and Drum Brake Shoes
These brake linings are composed of high temperature materials that create the friction that stops your car.
  Types of Brakes
Disc Brakes
These brake linings are composed of high temperature materials that create the friction that stops your car.
Drum Brakes
Drum brakes consist of a Brake Drum attached to the wheel, a Wheel Cylinder, Brake Shoes and Brake Return Springs.  Hydraulic pressure from the Master Cylinder causes the Wheel Cylinder to press the Brake Shoes against the Brake Drum. This creates friction between the shoes and drum to slow or stop your car.
Parking Brake
The Parking Brake uses Cables to mechanically apply the brakes (usually the rear brake.) This is used to prevent the car from rolling when not being driven.
  Anti-Lock Brakes: A System Built For Safety
Computer-controlled anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are a recently developed safety feature. When sudden stops are made, the ABS prevents wheel lock-up. The system is comprised of wheel-speed sensors that monitor wheel rotation, computer-controlled hydraulics that pulse the brakes on and off rapidly, and the on-board computer.

Disc, Rotors, and Brakes Drum  ~ The components are the surfaces that your brake pads and shoes press against to stop your vehicle.  Rotors and drums should be checked for heat marks, cracks, also has to be checked for minimum spects.

Brake Pads and Shoes ~ When you press on the brake pedal the pads or shoes come in contact with the disc rotor or brake drum, which slows your vehicle to a complete stop.  They should be checked periodiocally for cracks uneven or excessive wear.

Calipers and Wheel Cylinders ~ As you depress your brake pedal, fluid enters into the calipers and wheel cylinders.  All calipers and wheel cylinders contain fluid activated pistons that push the brake shoe and pads against the drums or rotors to slow the vehicle down.

Brake Fluid Flush

How do you know when the system should be flushed?  Most maintenance schedules that do specify it recommend changing the fluid every two years or 30,000 miles.  Fresh brake fluid is transparent and has a slight amber-colored look.  As the fluid absorbs moisture, it takes on a darker, cloudy appearance, which tells you it needs changing.