Looking closely at disc brakes

Looking Closely at Disc Brakes

Losing ones brakes is one thing that every motorist is worried about. To actually stop a car that is running, a car’s Brake System depends on the brake disc. Usually the single- piston floating caliper, a brake disc has the following key components:

Elements of a disc brake

* The brake pads

* The caliper, which contains a piston

* The rotor, which is mounted to the hub

It would be important for one who is interested to learn, to keep these key auto parts in mind. Not like in our ordinary bicycle where a caliper clutches the brake pads directly to the wheel, in a disc brake, the brake pads squeeze the rotor instead of the wheel, transmitting the force using hydraulics instead of through a cable. The resulting friction between the pads and the disc then decelerates the disc.

Looking at it in a dork’s viewpoint, when a car moves, it gives off a form of energy called kinetic energy.  The brake system of a car transforms this energy to heat by utilizing friction.  It is because of this friction that generally, car disc brakes are vented.

Disc brake vents

A vented disc brake has a series of vanes that pumps air through the disc to supply cooling. Located between the two sides of the disc, this disperses the heat generated by the friction between the pads and the rotors.

A unique feature of the single-piston floating-caliper disc brake is that it is self-centering and self-adjusting. The caliper glides from side to side but each time the brakes are used it has the ability to go to the center. One must be aware that there are also no springs that pull the pads away from the disc making them always stay in light contact with the rotor. This makes sure that much application of pressure in the brake pedals are not needed to engage the brake pads.  Because the pistons in the brakes are much bigger in diameter as compared with the ones in the master cylinder, this is a very important aspect to consider. In case of rotor wobble where there is more space between the rotors and the pads, it will take more than a few applications of the brake pedals before the right amount of fluid is pumped into the brake cylinders to engage the retracted pads.

Self-adjusting disc brake

For disc brakes, it does not follow that added pistons are actually better.  The four-piston fixed- caliper design or the dual piston fixed brake designs used by older car models have been nigh on being phased out because of a single-piston’s dependability and affordability.

Emergency Brakes

In terms of emergency brakes, they are differentiated from the normal disc brakes on all four wheels by the mechanism by which it is set in motion in case of total primary brake failure.  For this purpose, the use of cable remains one of the general choices.  This type of brakes can usually be seen as a separate drum brake integrated into the hub of the rear wheels.

Other prevalent options include cars which have a lever that turns a screw, or actuates a cam.  This then presses the piston of the disc brake.

Servicing Your Brakes

Brake pads should be examined every now and then to see if they need replacement.  Usually, a piece of metal, named wear indicator assists the motorist to know when it is time for him to change pads.  When there is already adequate wear on the pads, the small metal comes in contact with the discs, resulting in a squealing sound.

The inspection opening on the caliper also lets one to see just how much friction material still is left on the pads.

What to look for during inspection:

Deep scores worn into the brake rotors.  This is especially a result of a damaged brake pad left for an extended length of time on a car.

Warping.  The brake rotors may also lose their flatness causing it to shudder or vibrate during stopping.

Both of these problems may be solved by a simple refinishing wherein some material is removed from the motor to even its surface out.  Though this is an effortless option to take, this should be done only when the rotors are really badly deformed or scored.  Doing so more often might decrease the life of your brake rotors, thinning them every time a material is removed. One should know the tolerable thickness for every rotor as found in its shop manual to know when a replacement is needed.

It is every car owner’s responsibility to know how these auto parts work to make his car a safe machine for him to trust his life with everyday.

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