January 24th, 2019 by

Although you know the brakes on your car are important, you might not give much thought to how they work. Read on to learn how brakes work and to better understand the braking system on your vehicle. You might learn a few interesting facts along the way.


The braking system on most vehicles has three main parts: brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid. The brake pads typically get all the attention because they’re the main component that stops your vehicle. When you step on the brake pedal, the calipers press the brake pads against the rotors to reduce the vehicle’s speed. Rotors are typically made from gray iron because this metal disperses heat well. Along with lubricating parts of the braking system, brake fluid also forces the brake’s parts to work together to help slow down the vehicle.


Friction brakes are the most common type of brakes on vehicles. When you picture how brakes work on a car, you likely picture friction brakes. These brakes get their name because they use friction to slow down the vehicle. Of course, friction is known to create heat, and friction brakes are no exception. In fact, when in use, the components in your vehicle’s braking system can reach temperatures of 280 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.


Before the invention of anti-lock brakes, drivers had to pump their brakes to keep them from locking up. Not only was this sometimes hard to remember in an emergency, but it also increased the amount of space and time a vehicle needed to come to a complete stop. Anti-lock brakes were first invented in Britain in 1958, and they were originally used on motorcycles because they were considered too expensive for most automakers. Today, all cars come with anti-lock brakes, which use sensors to automatically exert and release pressure on the brakes multiple times a second.


Vehicle manufacturers are still inventing new systems to make braking safer. One such system is electronic brakeforce distribution, which comes standard on vehicles like the Mitsubishi Outlander. Electronic brakeforce distribution uses sensors to calculate speed, road conditions, load bearing on each wheel, and more to automatically vary the amount of force applied to every wheel on the vehicle. Since the front end of the vehicle usually carries more weight, electronic brakeforce distribution sends less braking pressure to the rear brakes so they don’t lock up and cause the tires to skid.


One new technology that many automotive experts believe will eventually become commonplace on vehicles is the electric braking system. Electrical braking systems feel like traditional hydraulic brakes except they use an electronic control unit to tell the actuators how much pressure to use to slow down the vehicle. This feature significantly reduces stopping distances.

With all of these interesting facts and helpful information, you now have a better idea of how your brakes work.