The Brake System: Three Main Components
Removing the Wheels
A brake system inspection usually includes analyzing or inspecting the brake pedal, brake fluid, brake lines, brake assemblies which can be disc or drum brakes, and the parking brake to ensure operational safety and compliance with state laws. When the brake pedal is inspected, three components are checked. Brake pedal height, free play within the brake pedal, and reserve distance in the brake pedal. The brake pedal height is a measurement from the brake pedal to the floor when the brake pedal is at rest. Brake pedal free play refers to dead space (therapeutic terminology). When you put pressure on the brake pedal and the brakes aren’t applied, that gap of dead space your foot feels. This area of dead space prevents the brakes from engaging the rotors. Think of tapping the brake pedal, and it moves without applying the brakes. Brake pedal reserve distance is a measurement of the brakes to the vehicle’s floor when applied. Free play is measured when the brakes are at rest and physically applied. Potential problems are brake pedal bushings and return springs.
Brake fluid, brake lines, and hoses are checked to ensure brake fluid travels to the brake shoes and engages the brake pads to compress the rotors. An old trick to check for a brake leak is putting a cloth or cardboard under your vehicle and repeatedly stepping on the brakes. This step ensures no leaks are in the system and the master cylinder is in working condition. The inspector will remove the wheels and view the disc brakes and drums. This step includes checking the brake pads, rotor, and caliper. The pads are checked for wear and tear and to notice if any metal is showing. Pads and rotors have matching wear patterns. If the pads are too worn, the rotors may have to be machined. The caliper is checked because it contains the brake pads. Floating calipers compress themselves and have a single piston. Fixed calipers don’t move and have two pistons. Calipers control how the brake pads engage the rotors. The inspector also looks at the drums, which include brake shoes, backing plate, drum, brake cylinder, and return springs. Lastly, the parking or emergency brake assembly is inspected.
When your vehicle needs brake repair, an inspection, preventative maintenance, or immediate service, call Rush Automotive or visit us in Round Rock, TX.