The braking system is the most important system in cars. If the brakes fail, the result can be disastrous. Brakes are actually energy conversion devices, which convert the kinetic energy (momentum) of the vehicle into thermal energy (heat).When stepping on the brakes, the driver commands a stopping force ten times as powerful as the force that puts the car in motion. The braking system can exert thousands of pounds of pressure on each of the four brakes.
Two complete independent braking systems are used on the car. They are the service brake and the parking brake.
The service brake acts to slow, stop, or hold the vehicle during normal driving. They are foot-operated by the driver depressing and releasing the brake pedal. The primary purpose of the brake is to hold the vehicle stationary while it is unattended. The parking brake is mechanically operated by when a separate parking brake foot pedal or hand lever is set.
The brake system is composed of the following basic components: the “master cylinder” which is located under the hood, and is directly connected to the brake pedal, converts driver foot’s mechanical pressure into hydraulic pressure. Steel “brake lines” and flexible “brake hoses” connect the master cylinder to the “slave cylinders” located at each wheel. Brake fluid, specially designed to work in extreme conditions, fills the system.“Shoes” and “pads” are pushed by the slave cylinders to contact the “drums” and “rotors” thus causing drag, which (hopefully) slows the car.
The typical brake system consists of disk brakes in front and either disk or drum brakes in the rear connected by a system of tubes and hoses that link the brake at each wheel to the master cylinder (Figure).
Basically, all car brakes are friction brakes. When the driver applies the brake, the control device forces brake shoes, or pads, against the rotating brake drum or disks at wheel. Friction between the shoes or pads and the drums or disks then slows or stops the wheel so that the car is braked. In most modern brake systems (see Figure 15.1), there is a fluid-filled cylinder, called master cylinder, which contains two separate sections, there is a piston in each section and both pistons are connected to a brake pedal in the driver’s compartment. When the brake is pushed down, brake fluid is sent from the master cylinder to the wheels. At the wheels, the fluid pushes shoes, or pads, against revolving drums or disks. The friction between the stationary shoes, or pads, and the revolving drums or disks slows and stops them. This slows or stops the revolving wheels, which, in turn, slow or stop the car.
The brake fluid reservoir is on top of the master cylinder. Most cars today have a transparent r reservoir so that you can see the level without opening the cover. The brake fluid level will drop slightly as the brake pads wear. This is a normal condition and no cause for concern. If the level drops noticeably over a short period of time or goes down to about two thirds full, have your brakes checked as soon as possible. Keep the reservoir covered except for the amount of time you need to fill it and never leave a cam of brake fluid uncovered. Brake fluid must maintain a very high boiling point. Exposure to air will cause the fluid to absorb moisture which will lower that boiling point.
The brake fluid travels from the master cylinder to the wheels through a series of steel tubes and reinforced rubber hoses. Rubber hoses are only used in places that require flexibility, such as at the front wheels, which move up and down as well as steer. The rest of the system uses non-corrosive seamless steel tubing with special fittings at all attachment points. If a steel line requires a repair, the best procedure is to replace the compete line. If this is not practical, a line can be repaired using special splice fittings that are made for brake system repair. You must never use copper tubing to repair a brake system. They are dangerous and illegal.
December 28th, 2017
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