Brakes are one of the most important safety features on any vehicle. There are different types of brakes, between and within vehicles, and knowing the difference will help you in the long run to ensure you know how to maintain and care for your vehicle. This will also ensure a safer driving experience.
Mechanical brakes are used in Hand brakes (or parking brakes). Here, a lever is provided near the driver seat and through steel wire connections it is connected to brakes at the rear of the vehicle.
When the hand brake is engaged, tension is created at the brakes and the brake shoe holds the drum from rotating and hence the movement of the vehicle is restricted, even if parked in a slightly inclined surface.
The hydraulic brake system uses brake fluid to transfer pressure from the brake pedal to the pads or shoe. By exercising the pedal, brake fluid transfers this pressure to the brake pads. This transfer of pressure is reliable and consistent because liquids are not compressible, i.e. pressure applied to liquid in a closed system is transmitted by the liquid equally to every other part of system.
A hydraulic brake system apart from liquid pipes mainly consists of Brake pedal, Master cylinder, wheel cylinder and brake pads/shoe connected at the wheel. The function of the Master cylinder is to distribute pressure to lines leading to front or rear wheels as required. At the wheel cylinder, a small piston is provided which is operated due to pressure application through brake fluid. The operation of the piston is converted to movement of brake liners.
In brief, when a driver applies pressure at the brake pedal, the mechanical force (stepping of driver on pedal) is changed to hydraulic pressure which is transmitted through liquid to respective wheel cylinder and changed back to mechanical force (operation of brake pads, shoe).
Power Brakes – Power brakes are nothing more than a standard hydraulic brake system with a booster located between the brake pedal and master cylinder to help activate the brakes. This could be in case the fluid pressure required would be too high.
There are two basic types of power assisted mechanisms used, vacuum assisted and hydraulic assisted.
Vacuum assisted system use engine vacuum pressure to help apply the brakes.
Hydraulic assist is largely found on heavy vehicles. This system uses hydraulic pressure developed by the power steering pump or other external pump to help apply the brakes.
Air brake system consist of components like air compressor, air reserve tank, check valves, safety valves etc. The working is very similar to the working of hydraulic brakes. The key difference is that mechanical force is transmitted to wheel ends through air pressure, instead of fluid pressure. Airbrakes are most preferred in heavy vehicles.”
There have been only 2 predominant types of brakes in the past few decades, namely drum and disc brakes. They work in much the same way.
Drum brakes predate disc brakes by many years, but they are still a reliable and affordable braking technology. However, because drum brakes do not dissipate heat as well as disc brakes, they are often only found on the rear two wheels of vehicles. Drum brakes essentially consist of two rounded brake shoes housed inside a round drum that spins with the wheels of a vehicle. When the brake pedal is applied, fluid pushes the two brake pads out against the drum where they create friction and slow the vehicle.
A car’s disc brakes work much like those of a motorcycle or bicycle. A calliper that houses two brake pads is mounted over a thin disc shaped rotor. The rotor spins with the wheels while the brake calliper remains stationary. When the brake pedal is applied, the two brake pads in the calliper squeeze the rotor to create friction and slow the vehicle.”
Emergency brakes, also known as parking brakes, are a secondary braking system that work independent of the service brakes. While there are many different kinds of emergency brakes (a stick lever between the driver and passenger, a third pedal, a push button or handle near the steering column, etc.), almost all emergency brakes powered by cables which mechanically apply pressure to the wheels. They are generally used to keep a vehicle stationary while parked but can also be used in emergency situations if the stationary brakes fail.
Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are found on most newer vehicles. If the stationary brakes are applied suddenly, ABS prevent the wheels from locking up in order to keep the tires from skidding. This feature is especially useful when driving on wet and slippery roads.”
“When ordering brake parts for your car or truck, you will be asked if it has disc or drum, power or anti-lock brakes. It is possible to make the determination of your car’s brakes without jacking up your vehicle and removing any wheels.
Remind yourself that your BRAKES are important – Be Responsible and Always Keep Everyone Safe!
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