Most people know about the brake discs, as that's the most wearable part that needs replacing, but most aren't aware of the massive job those discs do, or the fact that they're the first part in a larger brake system. To understand what goes into a brake service, you need to understand the brake system first
What really goes on when you push the brake pedal
- Disc brakes, callipers and rotors
Most people are aware of their brake discs (pads) working to bring the vehicle to a stop. What isn't so obvious is that the discs are only part of a larger braking system. The discs do not contact the wheel directly. Instead, they push against brake callipers, which in turn create friction on the brake rotor. The friction to the rotor is what stops your car. The discs are only the first part of a larger system, but for your brakes to work, all parts in that system need to function, including the discs, callipers, and rotors. A problem with any component should and will be rectified by an auto brake service repair.
- Hydraulics and pistons
Brake fluid is needed to operate the callipers. When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid operates the pistons to push the disc to the callipers, and the callipers onto the rotor. Hydraulic brake systems are closed, so no air should be in the brake system. However, air does get into the brake system though and it needs releasing.
About emergency brakes
Asides from your vehicles hydraulic brake system, you also have your emergency brake. Mostly, it's used for parking as it ensures your car doesn't roll down a hill. That works as your emergency brake too, because it is purely mechanical and doesn't rely on all the components of your hydraulics for it to work. This minimises the risk of a complete brake failure.
As this is cable based and mostly used for parking, the cabling can become loose. At worst, the cable can snap, which is usually caused by pulling the parking brake with too much force.
Keeping all your brakes in good working order
Each vehicle has two braking systems. Usually the main brake system will be hydraulics with a number of components working together. A fail-safe brake is the mechanical based emergency brake, which is there should the worst happen and the hydraulics fail for some reason.
To ensure your brakes stay in good working order, an auto brake service can run a diagnostics on each component and perform any servicing to get the brakes back into good working order.