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Of all the safety components found in a car today one of the most important systems with regard to safety is perhaps a car’s brakes. Car owners should understand how their brakes work and how to spot a problem when one arises. While a car’s braking system may seem complex at first glance it is in fact quite simple and easy to understand.

The Function of Brakes

The way brakes function is actually quite simple in that when pressure is applied to the brake pedal a few key events take place. The process of stopping a car via the brake system is done through hydraulic pressure. When the brake pedal is applied, pressure is forced into brake cylinders which then compress the brake pads to the disks located at each wheel. This causes friction and ultimately causes the car to slow down and stop.

This hydraulic fluid or brake fluid as it is often referred as is stored in what is known as the master cylinder. By forcing this hydraulic fluid or brake fluid out of the master cylinder into the pedal cylinder there is a force of multiplication that occurs. This allows an individual to apply minimum pressure with their foot thereby causing a large heavy automobile to physically stop. This multiplied force is made possible by hydraulic fluid and the pressure contained within the brake system.

Identifying Faulty Brakes

Because a brake system operates under the premise of pressurization of fluid, it is important to note that a loss of pressure or loss of fluid can result in complete brake malfunctions. There are a few ways to identify imminent brake failure or malfunction.

1. A soft or mushy brake pedal

This can indicate that there may be a leak in your brake system and you may be losing brake fluid. This should be checked immediately as it can ultimately lead to complete brake failure. Other possibilities can include having air in your braking system, which should also be corrected by a maintenance technician.

2. A shaking or vibrating brake pedal

This can be an indication of a damaged or defective brake caliper. When brake calipers overheat they can sometimes deform and warp. When this happens the calipers are unable to maintain a constant pressure with the brake pads resulting in decreased braking force. If you suspect this problem, it is important to have this component inspected immediately.

3. Brakes squealing

When brakes make abnormal noises such as squealing or squeaking it is an indication that there is excessive wear and that new brake components such as brake pads may be required. In fact, brake pads are designed to create this sound in order to alert an automobile owner of a worn brake condition.

Brakes are indeed one of the most important safety components found in a car. That is why it is critical to ensure that brakes are always maintained in perfect working order at all times. Faulty brakes can often lead to greater stopping distances, and ultimately potential malfunction. Always maintain your automobiles brakes in the best condition possible to ensure safety.