COMMON BRAKE SYSTEM
to help keep you trouble-free
Braking is a crucial function of every vehicle, here's some tips to help you stay trouble-free
Comprising of 4 main functions (Brake Pedal to Master Cylinder, Fluid Lines to Brake Calipers, Caliper Pistons to Brake Pads and Brake Pads to Brake Rotors) your braking system uses the fundamental basics of friction to regulate speed or come to a full stop.
Here's how your Braking System works:
- Depression of the Brake pedal activates the Master cylinder.
- The Master cylinder sends balanced brake fluid pressure through the lines to the Calipers.
- The Caliper pistons push the Brake pads onto the spinning Rotor.
- The contact of the Pads with the Rotor creates the desired level of friction to either slow or fully stop the rotation of the wheel(s).
Handy Brake system maintenance tips for Cars & 4X4s
Check your Brake Fluid levels
- The quality and level of your fluid is crucial to your braking system.
Handy brake fluid maintenance tips:
1. If your fluid level appears quite low, inspect your brake system for leaks and repair as required. Top up prior to driving.
2. If your brake fluid appears milky then it has been contaminated with moisture and should be changed to avoid damage to your Master Cylinder and Wheel Cylinders.
Inspect your Brake fluid regularly not just at service time or get it checked by a braking professional.
Bleed your Brake fluid
- Brake bleeding is generally required every 2 to 3 years to eliminate accrued air in the braking system.
Best times to Bleed your brakes:
1. Bleed your Brakes according to manufactures service schedule.
2. Bleed your Brakes every time you perform a Part replacement to the braking system.
3. Bleed your Brakes if you experience a change in Pedal feel such as the Pedal becomes Spongy or Soft.
Bleed your Brakes during service time, or after performing any Braking Part replacement. If in doubt always get your braking system checked by a professional.
Inspect your Brake System regularly
- Perform regular visual inspections of your Brake pads especially prior to long trips to ensure your Pads are at their operational thickness.
Useful brake inspection tips:
1. Your Disc pads should have approx 5mm of operational thickness, any less and it's time to change them.
2. Your Rotors should have a smooth and even surface, if see or feel any scoring or grooving then it's time to start planning for Machining or replacement.
3. Cast your eyes over as much of the Braking system as possible to identify any minor Fluid leaks prior to them becoming urgent or dangerous.
One of the easiest things you can do to help maintain your Braking system is to use your eyes and identify issues before they become critical or dangerous. If in doubt always get your braking system checked by a professional.
Don't be Hard on your Brakes
- How often and how hard you use your Brakes dramatically effects the overall integrity and reliability of your Braking system.
Driving habits that shorten the lifespan of your brakes:
1. Riding your Brakes when travelling downhill. It is best to use a lower gear or reduce your speed enough to apply light braking pressure intermittently which allows the Brakes to cool between application.
2. Leave enough distance in heavy traffic to avoid sudden and heavy Braking. Regular sudden breaking causes unnecessary Pad and Rotor wear as well as placing strain on your Driveshaft and Suspension
3. Unless you're a professional rally driver don't use your hand brake (park brake) to simply slow down momentum. Hand brakes are best reserved to assist in hill starts, general parking and emergencies should your main Braking system fail. In the case of brake failure, hand brakes act independently of your main braking system and should then be used to slow and stop your vehicle with the aid of your transmission.
Inspect your Brake system regularly not just at service time or get it checked by a braking professional.
Don't let Hot Brakes get too Wet
- All metals including Brake Rotors expand and contract when subjected to heat and cold. When you brake frequently or hard your Rotors can become very hot, immediately subjecting them to rapid cooling (such as water) can permanently warp your Rotors.
Rapid cooling situations to avoid:
1. When you're four wheel driving, ensure your Brakes get some cool down time before entering a creek or exposing them to water.
2. If you've been in heavy stop-start traffic or mountain driving, let your Brakes cool down before entering a car wash or hand washing.
If in doubt, avoid getting your Brake Rotors wet immediately after any frequent or heavy braking.
Don't Park in rising or laying Water
- Excessive water isn't ideal for any part of your vehicle, especially your Braking system. Even minor surface rust is an enemy to the correct function of your Braking system.
Wet weather parking situations to avoid:
1. During heavy rains try not to park directly in the gutter to avoid your Brakes becoming water logged or submerged.
2. If your Yard or Driveway is subject to laying water try to park your vehicle where only the tyres may be in or below the waterline.
3. Avoid prolonged exposure to rising waters or deep puddles and always dry out your brakes by applying gentle pedal pressure as required.
If in doubt always get your braking system checked by a professional.
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Brakes are a vital component of a vehicle. We recommend a qualified technician always perform brake component repairs and upgrades. If you choose to DIY please be sure to check your work carefully before taking a sensible test drive.