Know Your Disc Brakes
Cars manufactured in the last 30 years or so are most likely running and braking using disc brakes. Braking technology has improved over the years as cars became faster and as suspension and fuel system technologies developed. The drum brakes have been useful (and are still being used these days), but the disc brakes have significantly become de facto where primary braking is concerned.
In braking, kinetic energy needs to be converted to heat. The disc braking technology uses flat, metal discs that spin with the wheels of the car. When you step on the brake pedal, a caliper will squeeze the brake pads on the discs and this slows down your car.
A halting car presses its weight forward and thus relies on the front wheels for efficient braking. 70% of the needed stopping power rests upfront, and this is why most modern cars utilize disc brakes on the front wheels. To get the benefits of effective and efficient braking while being economical, car manufacturers combine the use of discs and drums.
The concept of disc brakes revolves on the conversion of momentum to heat. The brake pad, prompted by a brake fluid on the entire mechanism when you step on the brake pedal, grips on the wheel, creates friction, and stops your car. Brake pads can handle extreme heat and pressure, which build up as the rotor on each wheel are prompted to stop.
But what are the advantages of discs over the old-school drum brakes?
- First, discs in general, are superior in dissipating heat. Both discs and drums use friction and heat to stop the car, with heat as a byproduct. Drums couldn’t handle too much build-up of heat because they could not absorb so much in the process. This is because of the drum-like design versus the openness design of flat discs. Full exposure to outside air allows heat to fade, and thus makes disc brakes more effective especially during high-speed braking or when descending a steep hill while carrying heavy loads.
- Wet weather or wet environment does not affect the performance of disc brakes in stopping the car. The discs will simply fling the water off through the concept of centrifugal force. Keeping the braking system dry gives it the power and efficiency needed for dependable braking.
- Discs are easier to maintain because there is no need to remove the wheels just to inspect the discs.
- Disc brake systems allow for self-adjustment. The wear and tear of brake pads does not affect the efficiency.
- The superior linear operation of disc brakes makes them less likely to lock up.
You could do most of the basic checkup if you have the know-how or you could have your car checked by your mechanic friend or by gas station staff, but to ensure that you are running safely with a reliable braking system, it is best to consult with your local auto dealership and employ the services of the factor-trained technicians who could check the over-all condition of your car. After all, you do not want to take the risk of having faulty discs brakes.
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