Let’s take a few minutes to discuss the brake system in your vehicle, one of the most important systems in your vehicle but one many people do not understand. A little basic knowledge about the brake system, or any car parts system, will go a long way towards being able to spot problems should they occur, and they will indeed occur. As with any other moving part, friction will eventually wear down your brake system and that is when you have some serious problems. There is nothing worse than stepping down on your brakes and having NOTHING happen.
The two main types of brakes are disc brakes and drum brakes. They both work essentially the same using the same principles of physics. Brakes work on fluid pressure. When you step on the brake pedal , you are activating a plunger in the master cylinder which forces brake fluid in the brake lines, and that pressure forces brake parts to move. There are two pads per wheel with disc brakes and those pads push down on a spinning rotor in your wheel which slows your car or truck. Disc brakes are superior over drum brakes because they dissipate heat quickly thus minimizing the effects of heat on the system and slowing down the damage to the system.
Drum brakes work on the same principle but with drum brakes there are shoes instead of pads that essentially do the same thing, applying pressure to the rotor and slowing the vehicle. The shoes, however, wear out more quickly. Most modern vehicles today have disc brakes.
Having said all that it needs to be mentioned that even the best disc system will wear out. What are the signs of wear and tear? Sluggish reaction when you depress the brake pedal is one sign; another is when your brakes don’t react until you have pushed further down on the pedal rather than when you first touch it. Either sign is a warning that you need to do something fairly quickly.
Many times this is just because there is a leak in the brake lines that is causing a loss of fluid pressure; other times it is simply because the brake system has been worn down by that constant pressure. Either way it needs to be looked at, either by a qualified mechanic or by yourself if you are knowledgeable in these matters. The same can be said for all car parts, whether it be the fuel pump or the transmission or the lowly distributor or radiator. Pay attention to the warning signs.
Whatever the case may be, should you need replacement parts your best bet is to go to a salvage yard to save money on used parts cost and labor. A good junk yard is always your best bet when you need quality recycled auto parts.