The Many Parts of the Braking System On Your Car

The Many Parts of the Braking System On Your Car

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If you suspect that your car has a braking problem your first instinct might be simply that you need new brake pads.  That would make sense, actually, because you really only need to replace your brake pads every couple of years—maybe annually if you do a lot of driving.  Or maybe you are just hopeful that the issue is not your brakes but some other unknown problem.

Well, the latter might be true, though it is probably that you need to replace some component of your braking system with one or more new brake parts.  For example, it might be your brakes or your calipers, a drum brake shoe or even the parking brake shoe.

Disc Brakes

Your car probably has disc brakes. This type of braking system squeezes two calipers on either side of the brakes, which are set within the wheels (hence the “discs”).  The pressure from these calipers use pressure to apply friction to the brake pads to slow the rotation of the wheels.  The pads, of course, can wear down (and you need to check them about once a year). If you do not replace them when they wear down, the calipers can start to apply the pressure to your rotors instead, and that means you will eventually have to replace them (which is far more expensive).

Disc Brake Calipers

Some braking issues can be the result of broken or misaligned brake calipers.  The good news is that a braking problem related to the calipers does not always require a full repair. Still, you need to have it investigated by a professional to know for sure.

Drum Brake Shoe

If your vehicle has a drum-style braking system then your wheels rely on a set of “shoes” to slow their rotation.  Instead of two calipers that clamp on either side of your brakes, drum brake shoes impact pressure outward towards the rotating brake cylinder. Similar to brake pads and calipers, the drum brake shoe can wear down as well, and you simply need to replace it.

Parking Brake Shoe

The parking brake—which you might know as the emergency brake—is not as important on an automatic transmission as a manual transmission but it can still cause the same issues. If your parking brake is engaged, or stuck, it can make it hard to drive and similarly can prematurely your rear rotor with added pressure even while driving.

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