This is the car disc brakes section of the You Fix Cars website. On
this page will be a general overview of how they work and some details
of how long brakes last on the average automobile. Knowing the actual mileage on them can help in the diagnosis and decision making process.
Also included is a brief description of the major components that are involved in making them function properly. Below you will find more in-depth articles about each individual component and common specific problems like noise, pulling and pulsation. Learning about how brakes work is a good thing for anyone who owns a car.
Even if you do not perform your own automotive repairs it is good to know more about car disc brakes. This way when you do have problems you are properly prepared to deal with them.
If you own a car for more than a couple of years chances are you will run into at least basic maintenance and replacement of the front brake pads. I can't tell you exactly how long brakes last because your mileage will vary.
I can tell you that the average replacement mileage is around 25,000 miles. Generally speaking they will last longer for highway driving and less for city or fleet driving. Either way when you take your vehicle into an auto repair shop it is very nice to be able to speak knowledgeably about the subject.
Being an expert on the subject just might prevent unnecessary repairs such as complete system overhauls and excessive costs from life time pad replacement deals.
Disc brakes operate by using friction to slow the automobile. This friction comes from replaceable brake pads that are made of varying materials. These include semi metallic and the increasingly popular ceramic composite.
These brake pads are clamped against the rotor by a hydraulically operated caliper. Since the pads are clamped against both sides of the brake rotor both sides are machined to a smooth flat surface.
The brake rotor itself is usually separated into two surfaces with fins in the middle to help dissipate the heat that is generated by the friction. These types of rotors are called ventilated rotors and are the most common on today's automobiles.
The brake caliper is mounted to the steering knuckle to hold it securely. The standard brake caliper contains the piston and related seals and is connected to a hydraulic system. The pads are forced against the rotor by the caliper piston. Hydraulics are used to multiply the force of foot pressure.
Disc brakes are more resistant to heat fade during high-speed braking and repeated stops. This is because the design of the rotor exposes more surface to the air and dissipates heat much more efficiently than old-fashioned drum type systems.
How long brakes last is directly related to the heat generated and the efficiency of getting rid of it. City driving generates more heat and provides less cooling air flow therefore wearing out the brakes faster.
Disc systems are more resistant to water and problems associated with running through puddles. The rotation of the rotor throws moisture off and out of the system. The design of the hydraulic system and the clamping action makes them less likely to cause pulling conditions when the car is stopping hard. They also automatically adjust for wearing pads and require no manual adjustment.
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When I perform a brake job I go the extra mile to assure longevity of the new pads. Here are some of the things I do when
installing brake pads.
This article goes more in-depth about how long brakes will last on a personal vehicle. Also pictures of the three most common disc brake pads.
Interested in seeing an actual brake maintenance service being performed by a mechanic? See whats involved with replacing car disc brakes by watching the 3 minute video.
What about rusty old ABS systems from the past? This next article covers abs system common problems from the dark ages and newer.
What are the most common complaints about brakes? Pulsation and noise
are near the top of the list. Noise and a surging pulsation
can be diagnosed when
checking brake rotors.
People asked if they can check their own brakes. This article provides some information on how to perform a brake pad inspection.
Brakes are one of the top areas of concern for drivers. Here's an article that reviews some common front brake problems.
What happens when the vehicle develops a brake pull or if the red brake warning light comes on? Often these problems can be traced back to problems with the disc brake caliper.
Rotors are often the root cause of one of the most common braking system
complaints. The pulsating brake pedal can often be traced back to
problems with the
disc brake rotors.
I wrote an article on my blog a few months ago about hydraulic brake fluid. This maintenance check can tell you a lot about the overall condition of the braking system. See why I recommend checking brake fluid and how to decipher the results.
If you would like to find out what other kinds of automotive information is available on the you fix cars website the homepage is up next. You can also discover how to ask car repair questions.