The Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Your Car’s Brakes

Brakes are one of the most crucial car systems. They are responsible for stopping your vehicle. If your brakes do not work, that creates an immediate unsafe scenario. Therefore, you should do everything you can to keep your brakes in good working order. That starts with knowing everything there is to know about your car’s brakes. 

If you are having brake issues, you need the help of the professionals at Ethan’s Honest Automotive. Brakes are too important to consider fixing at home. However, if you are just looking to learn more about your brakes and how they work, keep reading. This guide provides all the information you need to know about your car’s brakes. 

How Brakes Work

Simply speaking, brakes stop your vehicle. You push down on the brake pedal and the car stops. But, do you know how the brake pedal stops your car? Here is the process for how your brakes work. 

  • You press down on the brake pedal with your foot. 
  • The pedal is connected to a piston. The piston pushes brake fluid threw the brake lines. 
  • The brake fluid travels to the calipers or cylinders on each wheel. This action creates a pressure that forces the brake pads to push against the brake rotor or drum. 
  • The friction created between the rotor and the pad stops your wheels, and thus stop the entire vehicle. 

Brakes are not a complicated system, but there are a lot of potential failure points. Your brake pads could wear out, mechanics may need to change the brake fluid, or the brake rotor could fail. Any of these problems could cause your car to stop less efficiently, which is unsafe for you and any passengers. Regular brake maintenance is essential for ensuring the health and safety of your vehicle. 

Types of Brakes

There are two main types of brakes on modern vehicles: the disc brake and the drum brake. Disc brakes are used on the majority of modern cars, but you will occasionally still find drum brakes. We have described them both in detail below. 

Disc Brakes

The brake rotor is in the shape of a disc. It is coupled to the wheel and usually made of steel, cast iron, or carbon-ceramic. Manufacturers often design them with slots to ensure heat dissipates correctly. 

The biggest issue with disc brakes is that the friction from the brake pads will wear down the rotor. Thin rotors do not stop as efficiently, and need to be changed as part of your maintenance schedule. 

There are many advantages of disc brakes, including the following. 

  • Better performance than drum brakes
  • Easier to maintain than drum brakes
  • Longer lifespan than drum brakes

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes are an older design and have more moving parts than disc brakes. The brake drum is coupled to the wheels. It has brake shoes which are pressed apart by a wheel cylinder when you press the brake pedal.  Most drum brakes are made of steel. 

While drum brakes can be tricky to disassemble, they do have a few positives. Therefore, many modern cars still use drum brakes on the rear wheels. The pros of drum brakes include the following. 

  • Simpler design than disc brakes
  • Easier to change than disc brakes
  • Can be used with parking brakes 

Signs That Your Brakes Need Maintenance

There are several warning signs that your brakes need maintenance, including the following. 

  • Squeaking or grinding noises 
  • Shuddering or vibrations in the brake pedal or steering wheel
  • Longer stopping distances than usual
  • Soft or spongy brake pedal
  • Pulling to one side as the car slows down
  • Burning smell
  • Warning lights on your dashboard

If you notice any of these signs, you should have your brakes inspected and repaired by the professionals at Ethan’s Honest Automotive as soon as possible.

Common Types of Brake Maintenance

Regular brake maintenance is crucial to ensure that your brakes stay in good working order. Even if you are not noticing signs of a brake problem, you should have a qualified mechanic inspect your brakes at least once per year. Your owner’s manual will include the recommended brake maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle. 

We have listed other common brake maintenance tasks below. 

  • Brake fluid flushes: Brake fluid can become contaminated with moisture and debris over time, so you must have it flushed and replaced periodically.
  • Brake pad or shoe replacement: Brake pads and shoes wear down over time and need to be replaced when they become too thin.
  • Rotor or drum resurfacing: If your brake rotors or drums become warped or uneven, they may need to be resurfaced or replaced.
  • Caliper or wheel cylinder replacement: In some cases, the calipers or wheel cylinders may need to be replaced.

Your car’s brakes are essential to your safety and the safety of others on the road. By understanding how they work, spotting the warning signs, and performing regular maintenance, you can help ensure that your brakes are in good working condition for years to come. 

Why Choose Ethan’s For Your Car’s Brake Maintenance?

At Ethan’s Honest Automotive, we provide the best brake maintenance and repair in the Cache Valley and Southeast Idaho. Our professional mechanics are certified and experts in both foreign and domestic vehicles. 

When you work with Ethan’s Honest Automotive, you can trust that you are receiving the highest quality brake repair and maintenance service. Our core values tell you everything you need to know. We respect relationships first, family, integrity and honesty, dedication to excellence, always learning and growing, community involvement, and charity and consideration. 

You will never receive a padded quote or bill from the experts at Ethan’s Honest Automotive. Therefore, if you need to schedule regular brake maintenance or are noticing signs of a brake problem, you should give us a call. Let us help you keep your vehicle healthy and your family safe. 

Services provided by Ethan’s include:

A/C Service
Windshield Wipers/Washer Fluid
Wheel Bearings
Differential Services
Coolant Flushes
Transmission Services
Tune Ups
Brake and power steering services
Timing Belts
Tie Rods
Rack and pinion
Ball Joints
4-Wheel Drive