The Brakes on Your Car: An Essential Safety System

Car break

One of the most important systems on your vehicle has nothing to do with allowing you to drive faster or more efficiently. The primary goal of this system is to get you stopped safely, without damaging your car or another vehicle, and to keep passengers and pedestrians safe. Your brakes should always be in excellent operating order, ready to bring you to a halt smoothly and in time to avoid catastrophe.

Unfortunately, many car owners don’t give the brake system the attention it deserves, hoping to “get by” until there’s no other option but to have a mechanic perform a brake replacement. The technology used to manufacture the brakes on your car has changed in amazing ways through the past century. To put it simply, and in broad categories, your brake system has gone from purely mechanical to hydraulic and now, to a method that industry observers call brake-by-wire.

No Physical Link

According to the trusted source, Popular Mechanics, this new technology uses a signal that is interpreted by the car’s computer, which then determines the amount of pressure applied to brake calipers.1 There is no physical link between your brake pedal and the rest of the brake system. In early mechanical brakes, there was a cable that moved the calipers when you put your foot on the pedal.

With hydraulic brakes, the most common type in 20th century cars, pressure on the pedal caused fluid to pass through brake lines (small tubes) and this fluid pressure moved the calipers to slow the turning of the wheels. Now, a similar method is used, but the pressure at the wheels begins when the car’s computer system interprets the signal.

This is certainly a simplified description of how the process works, but it takes proven brake technology to an entirely new level. At this time, brake-by-wire is not commonly used on vehicles produced for the general public. The technology is, however, already part of the racing world, with several sports-car manufacturers and racing teams testing the braking method.

Good Brakes

It’s essential to have good brakes at all times, of course, so it will still be necessary to keep your car’s stopping power in good working condition. You can learn more about how brakes work, and should work, when you view this infographic from Autodoc. The information takes you down to the all-important brake pads, and how to know when they’re not performing as they should.

This easy-to-understand graphic will also help with your peace of mind as you’re traveling on local streets and area roads, because you’ll know what is happening, and what should happen, when you apply pressure to the pedal.

Most drivers know how the brake pedal feels when things aren’t right, and it may come to pass that your personal vehicle will have pedal feel that’s customized to your needs and to those of other drivers. If you have no idea how brakes help make you safer and more comfortable in your car, take a few minutes now to learn more about this essential system.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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