When you are driving your vehicle, the last thing you want is to have your driving experience getting dangerously compromised in any way. Poor or failing brakes on a vehicle can do exactly that and in no time, things can hang between life and death. The braking system in any vehicle is the most critical component. It ensures, not only your safety, but the safety of others on-road too. According to this report of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, almost over 400000 fatalities are caused by poorly maintained vehicles every year. Maintaining the braking system is very important, but we tend to overlook it simply either due to ignorance or to save some money. There are many aspects of a vehicle that are included under the braking system that need regular attention, making car brake servicing important. Let us understand them in this article.
“Legend Car braking” by stef_dit_patoc is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Major components of a car braking system
Simply put, the braking system of a car is a purely hydraulic mechanism. It multiplies the pressure that you apply through your foot, to force the brake pads against the friction surface, to bring your vehicle to a halt. The major components include brake master cylinder, brake calipers, disk rotors or drums, and brake pads. Out of all these, the main components that require regular attention are the brake pads, brake fluid, and brake rotors. Recent development in the technology has also added a host of electronic components such as ABS pump, road speed sensors and other stuff that may require attention here and there. For a braking system to work to its 100% capacity, these components must work in harmony.
How to detect brake faults?
An important point regarding car brake servicing. People say that you require special skills to detect faults with your car. But that is not 100% true. There are basic things that you can notice by yourself and diagnose a problem. The braking system of a car is no exception. The most noticeable fault in the braking system is the squeaking brakes. The brake pads are designed in such a manner that when they reach the last 10% of their capacity, they start to make a squeaky noise to warn the user. Another thing that you can easily notice is the changes in the brake pedal feel. If the pedal is too soft or feels like wood, then it means that either your master cylinder is weak or there is air in the system, requiring immediate attention. Regularly, you can feel the surface of the brake disks for any grooves and scratches. In modern cars, there are a host of warnings displayed in-dash regarding brakes, you should never ignore them.
What is included in general brake maintenance?
The braking system is not a complex thing and requires very little upkeep. But it does have specified intervals for certain components that you must adhere to. The Dot-4 brake fluid used in your car is very hygroscopic and the car retains water over some time. Generally, it is advised that you change it after 24 months. Failing to do that will cause corrosion internally and will also result in poor brake feedback. The brake pads and brake rotors also require a change after a certain interval of distance traveled, it mostly depends upon how you drive. Then there are brake calipers that require lubrication after a certain interval, failing to do that can cause sticky brakes. Lastly, there are vehicle-specific intervals for components like brake hoses, that must be checked by the user.
How to improve the life of the braking system?
The basic thing that you can do is to drive gently and adhere to the speed limit. Driving in a jackrabbit manner is surely fun, but very bad for your brakes. Driving with proper planning and using the three-second rule can not only make your driving safer, but also it will be kind on the brakes.
The braking system of any vehicle is a very critical component and no compromises must be made regarding it, so you should do car brake servicing regularly. So educate yourself about it and don’t be stingy in maintaining them, as it can bite you back very hard in emergencies. Having a well-maintained brake also doesn’t mean that you can drive in a rash manner. You cannot fight the basic physics and the ultimate responsibility is on the driver, regarding his safety and the safety of others on the road.