An Auto Technology Student's Guide to Different Brake Types
October 7, 2015
Brakes are among the most important safety features on any vehicle. Automotive professionals know that different vehicles use different braking systems and most cars even use several types of brakes. Experts know that some of the most common brake types include disc brakes and drum brakes. However, most cars are equipped with several other braking systems, including emergency brakes and anti-lock brakes.
If you are planning to enroll in auto technology courses, read on for a quick guide to the types of brakes you will learn about using real-time simulations and 3D animations during your program.
A Closer Look at the Auto Technology of Disc Brakes
Most modern cars have disc brakes on their front wheels; however some have these brakes on all four wheels. Auto technology students know that the main components of a disc brake include the brake pads, the caliper (which contains a piston) and the rotor (which is mounted to the hub).
Disc brakes function by pressing the rotor (or brake disc) to the wheel and axle in order to cause friction, which slows down the disc.
Understanding the Auto Technology Behind Drum Brakes
Drum brakes function using basic principles which are similar to disc brakes; shoes press against a spinning surface. However, in this type of brake, the surface is actually called a drum. Experts know that since drum brakes are much cheaper to manufacture than disc brakes, many cars are built using disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear wheels.
The drum brake consists of two brake shoes, a piston, an adjuster mechanism, springs and an emergency brake mechanism. When the brake pedal is pressed, the piston pushes the brake shoes against the drum in order to slow it down.
Emergency Brakes: Auto Technology that Saves Lives
Emergency brakes, also known as e-brakes, hand brakes, and parking brakes are a secondary braking system installed in motor vehicles. Unlike disc or drum brakes, emergency brakes are not powered by hydraulics, and are completely independent from a vehicle’s braking system. Here are the most common types of emergency brakes:
- A stick lever located between the front seats
- A pedal that’s usually found to the left of the floor pedals
- An electric or push-button found amongst the other console controls
Emergency brakes use a system of levers and cables and are completely mechanical. These types of brakes are most commonly used for parking, since they lock the vehicle’s wheels in place and are necessary when a car is parked on a hill or steep surface. Mechanics know that when a car is parked without the emergency brake activated, there’s a small chance that it could roll into other parked vehicles and cause damage, especially if it’s not parked on a flat, level surface. Of course, should such a collision occur any certified auto body technician would be fully prepared to repair and repaint the car’s surface!
Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS): Auto Technology that Eases Winter Driving
Anti-lock braking systems are an important safety feature on newer vehicles that are designed to help drivers make quick stops. When a driver slams on the brakes, the computer-controlled ABS prevents the wheels from locking up and the tires from skidding.
The system monitors the speed at which each wheel is spinning and will automatically pulse the brake pressure quickly on and off any wheel when skidding is detected. ABS works with service brakes to decrease stopping distance and give drivers more control and stability when they have to brake suddenly. It works especially well when driving on wet or icy roads.
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