Updated at: 28-07-2022 - By: Lucas

How does the disc brake work?

To put it simply, a disc braking system consists of four main parts.

Rotor, brake pads, pistons, and calipers are all components of the brake system. To slow or stop the vehicle, pistons press pads against the rotor. Brake discs are commonly found on today’s automobiles.

The brake discs, also known as rotors, provide better stopping power and are less likely to overheat after heavy use. Drum brakes on the rear wheels are found on only a few older versions of automobiles. For many years, brake discs have been the industry standard.

The components of the disc braking system

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1. Rotor (Brake disc)

The rotor, which is most often constructed of cast steel, is attached to the wheel hub and spins along with it. For improved heat dissipation, ceramic carbon rotors are used in some high-end vehicles.

2. Brake pads

In order to slow down or come to a complete stop, the brake pad applies pressure to the rotor. A brake pad consists of the metal support and the surface that touches the braking disc.

A brake pad can be formed of organic, semi-metal, or ceramic material. The brake pads’ lifespan, noise level, and stopping distance will all be affected by the material used. In terms of quality and cost, each is superior to the other.

3. Pistons

Piston pulls pad on to rotor when driver presses on brake pedal. Single-piston brake systems push both plates, while dual-piston systems push one plate at a time.

Additional stopping power can be obtained by using brakes with four, six, or eight pistons; however, this comes at the expense of greater maintenance and complexity.

4. Brake calipers

You can have brake calipers that are either moveable or fixed. Fixed calipers have power on both sides, while moveable calipers only have power on one side of the rotor. Over the rotor, the brake pads and pistons, as well as the braking fluid lines, are held in place by the calipers.

Piston-free side of stirrup pads make contact with rotor in response to driver pressing brake pedal. Caliper slides so that pads on piston side of stirrup make contact with rotor.

5. Sensors

Some cars’ brake pads have sensors built into them to monitor how quickly they’re wearing down. The ABS system relies on a number of additional brake sensors.

How do disc brakes work?

By pressing the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid from the brake hoses is forced into the brake cylinder, where it pushes pistons that in turn push brake pads against the brake rotor.

Pressure builds in the brake lines and on the brake pads when the driver applies the brakes more forcefully. As soon as the driver releases the pedal, the caliper should return to its original position and the pads will come back into contact with the rotor.

Disc braking systems are not uncommon to experience a lot of heat and effort over time in normal driving situations. This results in the requirement for the replacement of some parts. It is the most often changed part of the vehicle.

Depending on how you drive and the material you use for the plates, you can expect this to happen between 40,000 and 120, 000 kilometers into your trip. Damage to the rotors can occur when brake pads are not replaced on time or when they overheat. It’s possible to drive a car for 90, 000 to 110, 000 miles before the rotors begin to wear out.

So check the brake fluid between 38 and 57 thousand kilometers or if you feel that there is an issue with the system. They should last as long as the automobile does, barring damage from road debris or an accident, assuming there are no technical issues with the pistons and calipers.

Symptoms of brake disc problems

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There are a few hard-to-ignore signals that alert the driver to a braking problem.

  • Scrapings: When the contact material of the pads is worn, an indicator of wear inside the pad comes into contact with the rotor, producing a sharp scratch. Replacing the brake pads usually eliminates noise, but it may also be caused by road debris trapped in stirrups.
  • Pedal shaking or vibrating: If the brake pedal shakes or vibrates when pressed, there is a chance that the rotor will be deformed. The brake rotors must be perfectly flat and their deformation may occur due to overloading or overheating. The rotors can be refined to make them fine again, although their immediate replacement is just as expensive, but safer.
  • Low brake pedal: The pedal should feel good on the foot, with the braking force proportional to the amount of pressure applied to the pedal. If the pedal is feeling lower than usual, it is often a sign of contamination of the brake fluid or leakage from the system. Its air and water in the liquid reduce its efficiency, and a leak is a serious problem. Ask a mechanic to change the brake fluid or check the leakage system to restore full braking power.

This is the most vital safety mechanism in a car, and the discs are powerful, reliable, and robust. If your car has a braking system like this, be on the lookout for any unexpected indicators that could suggest a problem.

Drum brakes

The front axle of many cars today has disc brakes, whereas the rear axle has drum brakes. Reasons for its use are unknown. For the most part, this is due to the decreased expenses. If you don’t need them, why do you have two extra sets of braking calipers, discs, and pads on your car? Generally speaking, cars with drum brakes on the back have low power or aren’t meant to go fast at all.

The front axle of the majority of automobiles performs nearly all of the braking duties. Having rusty discs on a car with discs on all four wheels and not driving it for a few months can help persuade oneself.

Driving around the city for an hour reveals that the front brake discs are free of corrosion, but the back ones aren’t. Because they’re not so sought after. Cars with discs on the front and drums on the back work just as well; the drums are more than enough to bring the vehicle to a halt.

How do the drum brakes work?

The wheel cylinder, brake shoes, and drum are all part of the drum brake system. The shoes on the drum are pushed by the cylinder to slow or stop the vehicle. Braking systems for some vehicles use only half of the drums. In order to slow down or stop a vehicle, they apply friction to the metal drums linked to the wheels.

Disc brakes have grown more widespread in modern cars, however drum brakes are still employed in a limited capacity in some vehicles. They’re common on the rear wheels of both budget vehicles and vintage automobiles.

Components of the drum braking system

  • Plate: Provides a solid foundation for the other drum brake components. It is attached to the shaft.
  • Drum: Caught on the wheel hub it spins with it. Often made of cast iron, it is resistant to heat and wear. This is what you see on an assembled drum brake and is the component on which the braking force is applied to slow down or stop the car.
  • Cylinder: Contains two pistons, one at each end, which operate the brake shoes. The cylinder applies pressure on the piston, which pushes the shoes to the drum, slowing or stopping the car. A cylinder is required on each wheel.
  • Brake shoes: Press on the drum to create the required friction to slow down or stop the car. Griped, but able to slide when the pressure in the wheel cylinder is applied. They have a coating material made of organic or metallic components. This coating material comes in contact with the drum and wears out over time. Each brake has two brake shoes. The main block is in front and the second in the rear.
  • Automatic regulator: Keeps the shoes at a fairly large distance from the drum, even when the material is worn out.
  • Springs: Pull the shoes back from the reels when the driver releases the brake pedal.

Drum brake wear

The only parts of a drum braking system that need to be replaced are the drums and the brake shoes. Wear on the block’s covering material means that new brake shoes need to be installed every 56, 000 kilometers or thereabouts. This varies by vehicle and driver, though.

Except for mechanical failures or damage caused by road debris or an accident, a car’s wheel cylinder, automatic regulator, and springs should last its whole life. To be on the safe side, you should check your braking fluid at least every 38,000 to 57,500 kilometers, or as soon as you suspect a leak is there.

How do the drum brakes work?

Quick response is expected from brakes. This causes a hydraulic fluid to be pressurized, which pulls the brake shoe into the drum, preventing it from rolling backwards when it is being applied.

Increased pedal pressure crushes the shoes against the drum more forcefully than does a smaller amount of increased brake hose pressure. When the driver releases the pedal, the springs should immediately retract the blocks from the drum.

Hand brake with drum

All four wheels of a vehicle may have disc brakes, but the hand (or parking) brake is a compact drum brake located inside the wheel hub assembly.

When you use the hand brake, a lever on a cable pushes the brake shoes together. When the normal brakes fail, the car can still be brought to a halt thanks to this device.

Signs of drum brake problems

When the driver is having issues with the drum brakes, there are various symptoms to look for.

  • Brake noise: As the brake shoes wear out over time, excessive or unusual noise may indicate that the coating material is worn. A technician can check why the brakes are making noise, and replacing the shoes often solves the problem.
  • A pedal that shakes or vibrates: If the brake pedal vibrates or shakes when pressed, there is a chance that the drum will be deformed. The drums must be perfectly round and deformation can occur due to overheating or overheating. In general, their replacement solves the problem and the braking is normal again.
  • Low brake pedal: The brake pedal should feel good at the foot, with a braking force proportional to the amount of pressure applied to the pedal. If the pedal feels lower than usual, it is often a sign that the brake fluid has been contaminated or there is a leak in the system.
  • Water or air in the brake fluid reduces its effectiveness, and leakage is a serious problem Have a technician check your fluid or inspect the leakage system for normal braking power. A damaged brake cylinder can also be the culprit for a low brake pedal.

Keep an eye out for any indicators that signal an issue with the drum braking system, which is the most crucial safety system in an automobile.

The advantages of the brake discs

To begin with, if the brake pads or discs are worn out, you can examine them without dismantling the wheel. However, the most significant benefit of disc brakes is the fact that the combined surface area of the two plates is significantly larger than that of a shoe.

Having discs allows for better dispersion of thermal energy, which further enhances the advantages. Finally, the disc brakes can be fine-tuned based on hydraulic pressure and the distribution of braking power.

Disadvantages are no longer listed because it is obvious that the benefits of one system are also the drawbacks of the other. However, we need to know exactly what we’re interested in before we can get started. Brakes are another case in point; in order to stop safely, you must use discs, which is why they are becoming more popular.

So, are rear disc brakes worth it?

Yes, and no. In order to buy a fast car or drive faster, you’ll need rear disc brakes. Fast automobiles always have rear disc brakes, but if you only want to get from point A to point B or you drive a lot in a crowded metropolis, a car with drum brakes on the back will do. Fast cars are always made of cloth.

The advantages of brake drums

Since everyone knows that drum brakes have fewer advantages than disc brakes from the top down, no cars are equipped with them. They do, however, have a few benefits. Almost as if everything in the braking system is encased in the drum, i.e. protected from the rain, sand, and other street contaminants.

More durable than those on the disk, they can go up to two hundred thousand kilometers without needing any repairs. As a final benefit, they are less expensive than discs, but they are also much easier to replace at the time of a revision because they are updated more quickly.