How Brakes Work and How to Maintain Them | Autostream Car Care

The Baltimore Driver’s Guide to Brake Maintenance

The thrill of the driving experience is in the engine. There’s just something sensational about the power that comes from putting your foot down. No doubt, the gas pedal’s neighbor gets a lot less credit for a car’s performance. But when it comes to daily driving, your brakes have a pretty big job. We don’t need to tell you about how important brakes are when driving, but you might want to know more about how you can maintain your car’s most important safety component. To ensure your brakes are fully-functional at all times, you first need to understand a little bit about how they work.

Friction and Heat

Brakes stop your car by creating friction on the rotors to slow the wheels down. Although more complicated with a series of parts, brakes essentially slow the wheels like your thumb and fingers pinching a spinning plate. The key here is the friction, which creates a lot of heat. Brake parts are in a constant battle with the heat generated during stopping, which needs to be ventilated or brakes will overheat and fail.

Change Your Fluid

Now that you understand the heat that your brakes are under, you can appreciate that they need regular maintenance to help them function effectively. On of the best things you can do for your brakes is regular fluid changes. Brake fluid operates at high temperature and pressure, but when moisture inevitably builds up over time, it can dramatically decrease brake performance. Moisture can cause corrosion and even failure when fluid heats up more easily under heavy braking. Changing brake fluid is a simple and easy way to maintain the braking system’s parts and performance.

Check Your Brake Pads

Brake pads are squeezed against the brake disc and endure the brunt of the heat generated in braking. Over time, their high-friction material wears out from all the use. When brake pads are completely worn, other parts of the system are left to grind together. At this dangerous point, brake function may be dismal or failing. Good brake maintenance means checking and replacing brake pads to ensure they are healthy to perform and protect the braking system.

Written by Doug Grills