Brakes are very essential components of any vehicle and are as important as any other part of the drive system. Most people usually never take note of maintaining the functionality of brakes. People tend to ignore the brakes in terms of servicing yet they are among the main determinants of safety during vehicle operation and when driving. A large number of accidents are caused by human error and negligence; which usually lead to mechanical failure of the vehicle component. The most dominant one being brake failure. A lot of people do not fully appreciate the critical role played by brakes in both the safety and mechanical efficiency of their vehicles. In this section, we will explain the importance of brakes and why they need to be serviced regularly to maintain their absolute efficiency.
How do brakes function in a car?
The majority of cars have either two or three types of braking systems. Those that use a metal disc for braking are known as disc brakes. These types of brakes employ the use of a hard-wearing material that clamps onto the metal disc when the driver steps on the brake pedal. The material then rubs on it to slow down the car. This type of braking is only applied on the front wheel of the vehicle.
Another type of brakes is the drum brakes. Their operation is slightly different from that of disc brakes. These drum brakes are situated only on the rear/back wheels although all the four wheels of the car have disc brakes. Unlike the disc brakes that employ the use of a brake block against a metal disc; they have shoes that are installed in a hollow wheel hub that press in an outward direction onto the wheel slowing down the car.
When you step on the brake pedal, it pushes against a class two lever multiplying the force which is transferred to a piston. The piston is pushed into a narrow cylinder with hydraulic fluid which is forced out on the opposite end of the cylinder.
The fluid is then forced into another cylinder, which is wider through a thin hose or pipe, pushing a piston with a much greater force. This piston in turn pushes the brake pad onto the brake disc generating heat, the friction developed slows down the car.
Why should brakes be checked regularly?
Brakes deserve to be taken care of and checked on a regular basis. You do not have to wait for a mechanical problem to develop before you take your car to the service centre.
Brakes should be checked frequently to ensure that they function properly.
Impending failures can be detected early enough as this will be cheaper than replacing an already damaged system.
Good brakes assure safety on the roads not only of the driver and his passengers but also all the others on the road.
Checking brakes regularly will increase the overall mechanical and fuel efficiency of your car making it more economical to maintain and run.
What happens if car brakes are ignored?
As stated earlier, a good percentage of road accidents are directly or indirectly caused by human error and negligence. If brakes are ignored and not serviced regularly as stipulated by the manufacturer, then there will be a serious safety hazard on the road; failure will only be a matter of time.
Neglected brakes can fail and lead to huge losses in terms of goods on transit, obliteration of the vehicle or in the worst-case scenario, human lives.
A lot of money can be spent on repairs and replacements because of constantly malfunctioning braking systems which, in most cases, have a history of being neglected.
Efficient vehicle output in terms of transport will also be compromised because of increased downtimes during repairs. This greatly degrades the value of the vehicle as compared to the money spent on it.