Brakes are pretty much the most important safety device on your car. If you’ve ever partially lost your brakes in the past, you’ll agree that it’s not something you want to experience again. Inspecting your brakes twice a year for wear and damage can protect you and your passengers. Additionally, it will also help save you money by catching any damage before it becomes too costly.

Brake System Components That Can Fail
The master cylinder, the heart of the vehicle’s braking system, holds the brake fluid when it is not being delivered to the brakes through the brake lines. If brake fluid leaks because the master cylinder is worn or brake lines are plugged or broken, the fluid cannot be delivered, and the brake pads will become ruined.

The brake fluid itself can become dirty or contaminated as it draws rust-causing moisture and picks up other debris, or it can break down from excess heat. Clean brake fluid is either clear or slightly yellow, while dirty brake fluid may be brown or even black. Old and dirty brake fluid can damage ABS brake systems internally.

The brake lines connect to the master cylinder through a combination valve, which combines a metering and proportioning valve. It regulates the pressure on the front and rear wheels to make sure both sets of brakes are applied simultaneously. A malfunctioning combination valve may cause the wheels to lock up.

Brake pads and shoes can be made of ceramic, metal or organic materials, while the disc rotors and drums they press against are made of metal. Because the pads and shoes create friction to stop the car, they gradually wear down over time and may wear away completely, letting the metal of the calipers and cylinders they are attached to grind against the rotors and drums and damage them. Some pads have a metal strip attached that sounds a warning whistle when the pad becomes too worn, but this strip sounds only when the car is in motion and the brakes are not applied.

Vehicles braking systems have not changed much over the years as far as the mechanics of it go. Of course with the technical advances like anti-lock and brake assist, they have become more complicated. It is more important, now that ever, to make sure that brake repairs are handled by a trained, certified professional.

Your car’s brakes still have the same basic principles that have not changed over the past 50 years. There are rotors in the front, also known as disc brakes and some vehicles still use a drum braking system in the rear. Disc brakes in the rear are now becoming more popular with automakers because of their stopping power. 70% of a vehicles stopping power comes from the front brakes.

Disc brakes function on one major principality. Pads are pressed against a rotor or disc. This is done by a caliper. Wear on the rotor should be measured and if need be resurfaced. Your qualified mechanic will measure and determine if they can be turned or replaced. When the pads are replaced, it is vital that the system is bleed (for air in the system) and that proper seatment is in place.

If your vehicle has drum brakes in the rear, it is also important that your mechanic is trained to handle this job. Drum brakes relay on a drum and two shoes that apply an outward pressure to stop the vehicle. The same rule applies to drums as to rotors, they need to be inspected for wear and resurfaced if necessary. The rear brakes need proper adjustment when the shoes are replaced to ensure that the parking brake (also known as the emergency brake) is in order.

Anti-lock brakes have made stopping your vehicle much safer. No more need to pump the pedal to keep the brakes from locking up. In most systems a small motor is used to rapidly pump the brakes for you. This is done by measuring the speed of the wheel and release the pressure is the wheel locks up. As soon as the wheel is freed up it again applies pressure to the system so that the vehicle can come to a halt.

More and more cars nowadays are equipped with braking assist. These come with various sensors to monitor objects around your vehicle. It is a very complicated system that must be handled by a certified professional. Legacy Automotive has the properly trained mechanics to handle all of your braking system repairs.


1900 55th Street
Boulder, CO 80301