The History of Brakes | Baltimore, MD | Autostream Car Care Center

Take a Brake History Break

How Has Technology Helped Slow You Down

Brakes didn’t always have the stopping power that they have today. We take car history seriously at AutoStream Car Care Center, so let’s take a closer look at how brake repair has changed throughout the years to meet the high safety standards we’ve come to expect!

Knock on Wood

The earliest brakes used were simple wooden blocks at the end of a lever. Causing friction against steel wheels would slow the vehicle down. A repair was as simple as fixing a bent lever or replacing a worn block.

Banging the Drum

Early designs of a drum brake wrapped a cable around a short cylinder that tightened to reduce speeds. This simple solution would begin to form how brakes would be designed for decades. Repairs included replacing worn drums and cables.

On the Inside

Expanding internal shoe brakes solved one major flaw in all other designs. Instead of having the components mounted outside of the vehicle where they were exposed to dirt and weathering, these were located on the interior, which made repairs much less frequent.

Pressure Power

Hydraulic systems were the next big innovation. These designs utilized pressurized hoses with brake fluid to create more force and thus more friction. The added hoses and fluid did make repairs a bit more costly, but it was a good tradeoff for faster stops.

Extra Padding

As vehicles were becoming heavier and faster, pure hydraulic brakes weren’t distributing friction heat as well. Disk brakes use pads made of composite materials that handle friction very well. Replacing these pads is a much easier job, and components can vary in price and are generally inexpensive to repair and replace.

Unlocking Safety

One drawback to any braking system is the possibility that a wheel may lock up during quick stops, causing the driver to lose control. To solve this issue, antilock brakes sense when a lock-up is about to occur and begins to pulse the brakes on and off for a more gentle reduction in speed. Usually, these systems aren’t prone to failure so repairs aren’t that frequent.

While brakes may have changed as the years have gone by, having control over when you stop hasn’t. Make sure to make brake repair a priority and you’ll always have the benefit of the best technology your car has to offer! Schedule a brake service at Autostream Car Care Center in Baltimore, MD.

Written by Doug Grills