Most drivers know that braking means slowing or stopping a vehicle. The mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake system and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.
Let’s step back. A car or truck rolls brand new off the showroom floor at a dealer. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and the power assist are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the vehicle tires are brand new, with full tread. Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance.
Now, as your drive, the miles/kilometers start to add up. Most car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the Largo automotive service community, the pads and shoes on drum brakes are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life. It’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of spec that they lose stopping effectiveness.
The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while stopping the vehicle. Over many miles/kilometers, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail. That’s why a regular brake inspection is important. At West Coast Auto Centers, we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.
That leads us to brake fluid service. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the vehicle fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system deteriorate the performance of the brake fluid. Brake fluid replacement includes flushing the brake system to clean out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.
The tires are what connect the vehicle to the road. The stopping force is ultimately dependent on the traction provided by the tires. The better they grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop as you drive.
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