Pump the Brakes: What to Know
Your car’s brake system is possibly the most important part of your car. Brakes are what help you stop, slow down, and stay safe on the road. In order to function properly, the brake system relies on each separate part to function successfully, because all the parts work together to perform one crucial action: to stop your car. When you press down on the brake pedal, you’re signaling to your car that you need to slow down. This causes the brake fluid to head towards the calipers, which then engage with the brake pads. The brake pads apply pressure to the rotors, stopping your car. If you got lost in all the terminology, don’t worry! Bartow Ford, your Winter Haven area Ford dealership, has your guide to what you need to know about your brakes.
There’s actually a lot that goes into your brakes stopping your car. In order to understand what maintenance your brakes need, here are some basic brake terms:
- Brake pads: Pushed forward by the caliper, brake pads come in direct contact with the brake rotor. In layman’s terms, they cause the friction that stops your car.
- Rotor: Sometimes called the brake disc, this is what needs to stop spinning in order for your car to stop. It does this from the friction created by the brake pads.
- Caliper: Your brake pads need pressure to be activated, and the caliper creates this pressure. It needs brake fluid in order to function.
- Brake Fluid: This is necessary to make your brakes operate. Without brake fluid, your car will not stop.
- Brake Hose/Lines: Brake fluid needs to travel through something to get to each caliper; fluid travels through the brake hose.
Regular maintenance means paying attention to your brakes. Are they squeaking? Are they overly responsive? Less responsive? These are all things you should keep in mind as you drive. You should also make sure to check and maintain brake fluid levels, replacing brake fluid every 25,000 miles or every two years.
Brakes should be inspected minimum once a year. A brake inspection means taking your car for a thorough, comprehensive exam. A good inspection will check your brakes, calipers, rotors, wheel cylinders, hardware, hoses, parking brake cables, fluid condition, wheel bearings, and master cylinder fluid exchange.