Brake Service and Repair

In modern cars or trucks, the braking system consists of more components than you might think. Aside from brake pads and rotors—the two most common brake replacement services we do—standard braking systems are made up of:

  • Pads
  • Rotors
  • Calipers
  • Power brakes and boosters
  • Anti-lock brakes

Depending on the way you drive and the age of your brakes, many of these components—all of which are dependent upon the integrity of one another—can wear out from daily use.

Because of different driving styles and the life cycle of braking components, it’s important to have your braking system inspected at Kennedy regularly. With quick diagnoses and repair times, our certified technicians will ensure your brakes are safe and reliable for months to come.

To gain a better understanding of how your vehicle’s braking system works and why you might be experiencing brake issues, our team has put together this guide on the main components of standard braking systems.

Brake Pads and Rotors

When you press the brake pedal in a basic braking system, the brake pads housed on either side of the caliper clamp onto the rotors, decelerating the car. While this may sound simple, the functionality of your braking system operates beyond what we can see or feel. Behind the scenes, there’s a whole circuit and fluid system working harmoniously to ensure your vehicle stops safely.

What’s Going On Behind the Scenes

As you press on your brake pedal, pressure stored by brake fluid pushes a piston against the caliper, causing it to squeeze the brake pads against the brake rotor. The caliper assembly is connected to a master cylinder through hoses, tubes, and valves that pass brake fluid through the system.

Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes

You have a set of brakes on both the front and back wheels. When you get them serviced, you may notice that the bill is higher to replace the front. That’s because the weight of the car is thrown onto the front brakes whenever you come to a stop, so they are heavier duty. We typically refer to the front as “disc” brakes and the back as “drum” brakes.

Warning Signs of Worn Pads and Rotors

When it comes to warning signs that your pads or rotors need serviced, your very own senses of hearing, touch, and sight can be of a substantial help to you. Here are some to look out for:

  • Brake warning light on the dashboard
  • Brake fluid is low or dirty
  • Grinding or high-pitched noises while braking
  • A “spongy” feeling when depressing your brake pedal

Power Brakes and Booster

Power brakes are designed to help you brake the car more effectively than standard brakes. Without them, trying to get your vehicle to come to a stop would take a lot more work.

The brake booster is the main component of the power brake system. It works by creating a vacuum that helps clamp your calipers down onto your rotors. When you experience difficulty pressing down your brake pedal, this is usually an indication that your booster is failing. You may also notice that it takes a lot longer for your car to stop from the time you started applying the brakes.

To test if your booster is failing, follow these quick steps:

  1. Get in your car, but don’t turn the ignition on yet.
  2. Pump your brakes several times.
  3. Turn the ignition while holding your foot lightly on the brake pedal.

If the pedal doesn’t fall slightly away then quickly become resilient, you most likely have a booster problem. Kennedy can fix it! Just bring it by your local shop for diagnosis.

Anti-lock Brakes

Anti-lock braking systems are known by many names depending on their design, including:

  • Traction Control
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control

No matter the name of the anti-lock braking system, they are all designed for two purposes: improved stoppage time and vehicle stability. Anti-lock brakes help you come to a stop faster and keep your wheels grounded on dry or wet roads. On gravel and bumpy roads, they are designed to provide more stability, but they do not necessarily help you stop faster.

The idea behind anti-lock brakes is that when a certain situation arises—such as skidding or sliding—the anti-lock system will kick in and quickly pump the brakes in a rhythm that helps your vehicle regain control.

When there are problems with your anti-lock braking system, you’ll experience issues including:

  • An ABS warning light on your dashboard
  • Difficulty pressing the brake pedal
  • Brake inefficiency or failure

Because of the severity of symptoms of anti-lock brake failure, it’s critical to pay attention to your car’s warning light and bring it in for service immediately.

Call Kennedy Transmission Today for Brake Services and Repairs 

Kennedy Transmission provides a wide range of repair services for braking systems on all makes and models. No matter your braking system symptoms, we can fix it! Just bring it in, tell us what’s going on, and we’ll run a few tests to diagnose it properly. Our tests include a computer diagnostic test, along with test-driving your vehicle to get an understanding of what you’re experiencing. Use our store locator to find a Kennedy Transmission near you today!

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