Types of Automotive Braking Systems
Hydraulic brake systems, as the name suggests, use fluid pressure to stop. When the brake pedal is pressed in a single-circuit hydraulic brake system, a piston in the master cylinder assists in transferring the non-compressible brake fluid to the brake caliper/wheel cylinder. The brake caliper forces the brake pads against the brake rotor in drum brake systems. The wheel cylinder in disc brake systems pushes the brake shoes towards the brake drum.
Dual-Circuit Hydraulic Brake Systems: These brake systems use two circuits to control braking. The first circuit sends a signal to an onboard computer when the brake pedal is depressed. The onboard computer then calculates the required brake pressure and instructs the second circuit, which consists of the master and slave cylinders, to perform the necessary braking action. Dual-circuit hydraulic brake systems are efficient because they calculate the ideal brake pressure based on factors such as vehicle speed. These brake systems are commonly found in luxury vehicles.
Electronically controlled braking systems are known as brake-by-wire systems. Brake-by-wire and dual-circuit hydraulic systems function similarly but are designed differently. Brake-by-wire systems use electronic wires to activate the braking system, whereas dual-circuit hydraulic systems use hydraulic fluid.
Parking brakes can also be referred to as hand brakes or emergency brakes. When the standard braking system fails, these brakes can be used to bring the vehicle to a halt.
Anti-lock Braking Systems
These systems outperform conventional braking systems. Sensors in anti-lock braking systems monitor the speeds of the car’s wheels. The primary benefit of anti-lock braking systems, as implied by the name, is that they prevent the wheels from locking up during emergency stops, thereby preventing serious damage to the driver and vehicle. An on-board computer monitors anti-lock braking systems. If the computer detects the possibility of the vehicle locking up, it vigorously pumps the brakes to keep it from skidding.
Air brake systems are commonly found in large vehicles such as trucks, buses, and trailers. Instead of hydraulic fluid, these systems use air. A compressor in an air-brake system compresses air to provide the required brake pressure.
One of the most common causes of brake failure is a low level of brake fluid in the system.
The master cylinder’s piston seals may become damaged, preventing the fluid from being transferred at the optimal pressure.
Over time, brake pads/shoes wear out and fail to stop the brake drum/disc from spinning.
Due to prolonged heat exposure, brake drums/rotors can develop hot spots on their surface.
The brake booster can also fail, causing the brake system to operate with insufficient brake pressure.
Oil or grease from other car parts can enter the brake system and degrade overall braking performance.
Brake Failure Symptoms
When braking, bad brake pads will make a squealing or grinding noise.
Your vehicle may pull to one side if your braking linkages fail.
Brake shoes or pads that are worn out produce a hard or spongy pedal.
Brake drums/rotors that are worn out will cause your vehicle to wobble while braking.
A faulty master cylinder prevents the brake pedal from returning to its normal position.
Problems with the anti-lock braking systems will illuminate the ABS light on the dashboard of your vehicle.
After pressing the brake pedal, the vehicle will have a longer braking distance.
One of the fundamental processes in maintaining a brake system is checking the level of the brake fluid regularly.
Cleaning/flushing the brake system regularly is also recommended.