Braking it in…….

brakes1We all know that brakes and tyres are the most important safety features of your car but how do they actually work? Suzanne Keane explains all

All you have to do is push on the brake pedal and the car stops… seems simple? But what if your brakes didn’t work?

When you press the pedal, it displaces the brake fluid (which is why it’s important to keep the brake fluid at the correct level).

Under normal circumstances, the pressure from your leg wouldn’t be enough to stop a whole car but the pedals are designed in such a way that the force is magnified before it reaches the brake fluid (this is where master cylinders and slave cylinders come in). 

This fluid then makes the brake calipers compress, forcing/squeezing the brake pads onto the brake discs….. which in turn uses friction to slow the car down – just like a bicycle.


However, if your brake pads are too worn, if your fluid is too low or if your discs are worn or warped your braking won’t be up to scratch which is why it’s so important to get them checked regularly. Generally your brake discs will last 2 sets of brake pads – but if you don’t change the pads on time they will ruin the discs too!

Vented discs, if you have them, are more effective because this friction creates heat and they can cool themselves down quicker….

If your car shudders or vibrates when you brake your discs may be warped and will need to be changed and if your brakes are making noise it’s probably time for new pads – although you should really never let them get low enough that they make noise!

Brakes are a hugely important safety feature and unless you know what you’re doing should be left to the professionals! Get them checked out regularly and immediately if you notice any changes – before it’s too late!


Suzanne Keane


29th July, 2013




Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @g60girl

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