Disc brakes slow down and stop your vehicle by using calipers to squeeze the brake pads against the wheel rotors. Although disc-type brakes were in development since the late 1890s, they have only recently replaced drum brakes as the standard for most vehicles. Most contemporary vehicles use disc brakes for at least the front wheels, and some cars and trucks utilize disc brakes on all four wheels.
Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes
Drum brakes, as their name implies, are shaped like drums. When a driver administers the brakes in a vehicle with drum brakes, curved shoes are pressed outward to create friction with the interior of the drums to slow the wheels.
Compared with disc brakes, drum brakes have a few drawbacks. Drum brakes do not use up the heat as quickly, and with repeated stop-and-go driving or repeated hard stops, drum brakes can quickly lose power.
In addition to offering extended longevity, disc brakes also perform better in wet conditions than drum brakes. Drum brakes can allow moisture to collect within the brakes, where the shoes touch the drums. Disc brakes feature rotors that spin with the vehicle’s wheels and are slowed by the compression of the brake pads; in wet weather, this rotation and method of contact help prevent water from accumulating within the brakes and keeps the brake discs dry.
How Disc Brakes Work
Most motor vehicle disc brakes are single-piston, floating-caliper brakes that feature three primary components:
- Brake pads, which contact the discs to slow wheel rotation
- Calipers, which contain pistons to clamp the discs and push the pads
- Rotors, which are mounted to the wheel hubs and rotate with the wheels
Disc brakes are similar to common bicycle brakes, which also use calipers to squeeze brake pads against the wheels. In motor vehicle disc brakes, however, the brake pads press against the rotor instead of the wheel itself and transmit the force hydraulically instead of through a cable. The friction between the pads and the disc is what slows and stops the vehicle.
Servicing Disc Brakes
Although disc brakes last longer and offer more effective stopping than drum brakes, disc brakes still require regular maintenance. The most common service for disc brakes is the changing of the brake pads.
Disc brake pads usually feature a small piece of metal called a wear indicator. As the pads deteriorate, the wear indicator will eventually come in contact with the disc and produce a squealing sound that indicates it’s time for brake service. Most disc brake calipers also feature an opening that allows you to see how much material is left on your brake pads.
If worn brake pads are left on too long, they can progressively grind scores into the brake rotors, which can cause the brakes to shudder or vibrate as you slow and stop. Brake rotors sometimes need to be refinished (sometimes referred to as being “turned” or “machined”) in order to restore a smooth, flat, contact surface.
Refinishing the rotors is only necessary if they are warped or scored, and it is not required every time the brake pads are replaced.
Since Brakecore’s inception in 1983, the Company has developed into one of South Africa’s premier suppliers to the Agriculture, Transport, Industrial, Marine, Underground Mining, Opencast Mining. Earth-moving and OEM Sectors. Mobility is a vital part of both modern life and the Brakecore success story. Irrespective of whether on the road, rail, sea, on the highway or off the highway. If you’re experiencing brake problems or your vehicle is in need of routine maintenance, please contact Brakecore Supply online or call us.
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