Brakes Explained | Ellicott City, MD | AutoStream Car Care Center

How Brakes Work

And Why They Need Repair

Have you ever wondered what your vehicle does to bring you to a safe stop? Braking systems are modern marvels! The technicians at AutoStream Car Care Center in Ellicott City, Maryland are interested in vehicle systems for their own sake. You might be interested in learning how brakes work so that you have a good understanding when it’s time for brake repair!

How Pressing a Pedal Stops a Car

Your car weighs a lot. When it gets moving at high speeds, it takes a lot of force to slow it down safely. As far as you know, pressing down on a pedal brings your vehicle to a quick stop, but in reality, it takes much more than that. To generate enough force to stop a vehicle, brakes use hydraulic systems and friction.


Hydraulics multiply force and transfer it from one place to another. In the case of braking, they take the force from your foot when you press the brake pedal, multiply, and move it. A piston is forced into a cylinder that sends hydraulic fluid through a pipe to more cylinders at all four brakes (brakes are located on each wheel). Through the changing pressures and sizes of pipes & cylinders, the pressure initially applied by your foot is multiplied so greatly that it can stop the vehicle.

Problems with the hydraulic system can increase how long it takes for your vehicle to come to a stop. You might also notice that the pedal feels spongy and slow to engage.


The force generated from the hydraulic systems is used to apply pressure to the brakes on each wheel. You can look behind your wheels to catch a glimpse of the components that work to stop your car safely. The brake calipers squeeze the brake pads against the brake disc, the large circular part of the system, to generate friction and slow down the car.

When technicians talk about brake repair, they are often referring to these strong parts that perform the mechanical work of slowing down moving parts. Brake calipers, pads, and discs are made of a special material to withstand the intense friction and heat, but inevitably they wear out and need replacement.

Need brake repair in Ellicott City, Maryland? Contact the experts at AutoStream Car Care Center!

Written by Doug Grills