Q: What are Car Brakes?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this article

Car brakes are used to either reduce the speed of a car or keep it from moving. Car brakes are auto parts that are just as important as a car engine. Without brakes, a car will not stop unless it hits something. Brake failure rarely happens on cars but is very dangerous.

Cars usually use what are called "friction" brakes. These brakes use the contact between two types of material to bring the car to a halt. A friction brake may be either a disc brake or a drum brake. In a disc brake, two pads are placed on both sides of a rotating metal disc called a rotor. To create a braking action, these two pads push against the rotor.

The pads of a disc brake are made from high-friction materials, and the discs are often made from gray iron. However, in high-performance applications, brake pads may also be made of ceramic or carbon fiber. A car brake using these materials are often found in a sports car. These two materials are very good at dissipating heat, which is generated when the brakes are used. If heat is not dissipated properly, the wheels of a car may catch fire. Before ceramic and carbon fiber were used in disc brakes, this was a common problem in race cars and sports cars. This is not an issue in ordinary cars, because they travel at slower speeds.

In drum brakes, brake shoes are inside a rotating metal drum. When the brakes are activated, the shoes push outward against the drum. The friction between the brake shoes and the inner surface of the drum creates a braking action. The drum of a drum brake is usually made of cast iron or aluminum, while the brake shoes are often made of steel-lined friction material.

There are a lot of factors that affect the performance of a car brake. One of the factors that you need to look for in a car brake is the peak force. This refers to the maximum force a brake can apply. It determines how fast a brake can slow down a car. Another important factor is fade. When car brakes heat up, they lose friction and result in weaker braking force. This is known as brake fade.

How you use your car determines what kind of car brakes you need. If you drive fast and use your brakes often, you need car brakes with superior heat dissipation. Because car brakes also wear out, you need to check them occasionally. A worn-out car brake can be the cause of an accident. If you plan to get a new set of car brakes, check their specifications to determine what kind of brake best suits your car.

Share this article
New Car Spotlight


Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.