Brake Service & Repair
When considering the importance of certain parts of your vehicle, it’s hard not to think brakes are one of the most essential, especially when it comes to safety. In modern cars or trucks, the system that puts brakes into motion consists of more components than you might realize. Aside from brake pads and rotors, two of our most common brake replacement services, braking systems are also made up of:
- Power Brakes and boosters
- Anti-lock brakes
Depending on driving habits 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 Transmission 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, this guide from Kennedy Transmission has important information about 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. This may sound simple, however, 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 at work 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.
Is there a difference between front and rear 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.
What are the warning signs of worn pads and rotors?
When it comes to warning signs that your pads or rotors needs to be replaced, there are a few things to look out for while driving:
- Brake warning light on the dashboard
- Brake fluid is low or dirty
- Grinding or high-pitched noises when 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. This system of hydraulics is used to slow down or stop motor vehicles using a combination of mechanical components to take the force applied to the brake pedal and multiply it into enough force to stop your car.
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. If you experience difficulty when pressing down on your brake pedal, this is typically an indication that your booster is failing. You might also notice that it takes longer from the time you start applying pressure to the brake until the vehicle comes to a stop.
There are a few quick steps you can take to test if your booster is failing:
- Get in your car, but don’t turn the ignition yet
- Pump your brakes several times
- Turn the ignition while holding your foot lightly on the brake
If the pedal doesn’t fall slightly away and then quickly become resistant, you likely have a booster problem. There’s no need to worry, simply find your nearest Kennedy Transmission and stop in for an inspection today.
Most vehicles today are equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) that helps improve steering control and prevents wheels from locking up while braking. Anti-lock brakes help you come to a stop faster and keep your wheels grounded on dry or wet roads. On gravel or bumpy roads, they provide more stability but don’t necessarily help you stop faster.
So how are these brakes different from what was used in the past? In certain situations such as skidding, sliding or coming to a sudden stop, the anti-lock system kicks in, automatically pumping the brakes so you can focus on steering.
Before these systems were put into place, drivers were taught to pump the brakes when they felt their vehicle begin to skid while also maintaining control of the car and steering to safety.
When problems with your anti-lock braking system arise, you may experience issues including:
- An ABS warning light on your dashboard
- Difficulty pressing the brake pedal
- Brake inefficiency or failure
- Inaccurate speedometer measure
Paying attention to your car’s warning signs and bringing it in for service in a timely manner are critical in preventing brake failure.
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 of vehicles. No matter your braking system symptoms, we can fix it! Just bring your vehicle in, tell us what’s going on, and we’ll run a few tests to properly diagnose your issues. Our tests include a computer diagnostic test and test driving your vehicle to get an understanding of exactly what you’re experiencing.