Different Brake Types and How You Can Tell That They’re Going Bad

Today’s automobiles are equipped with disc brakes or a combination of disc and drum brakes. Most vehicles also utilize an antilock braking system (ABS) to improve safety on wet roads. Premier Auto Repair services, repairs, and replaces all vehicle braking systems. Let’s talk about the difference between disc and drum brakes, what the ABS does, and signs your vehicle has braking problems.

Disc Brakes

If your automobile has a combination of disc and drum brakes, the disc brakes will be on the front wheels. Basically, disc brakes use hydraulic brake fluid to push the caliper pistons into the brake pads so they will press against the rotors. This action causes friction and kinetic energy that your vehicle needs to slow down and stop. Some newer vehicles are equipped with disc brakes on all four wheels.

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes are primarily a thing of the past. If your vehicle is older, you might have drum brakes on the back wheels. These brakes work differently from disc brakes. Instead of having brake pads, drum brakes have brake shoes. Drum brakes don’t have calipers, either. Rather, they use wheel cylinder pistons to press the brake shoes against a spinning drum and this slows and stops your vehicle.

Anti-Lock Systems

When you slam on your brakes to avoid an emergency, your wheels lock up and send you into a skid. Anti-lock systems are designed to unlock the wheels. Depending on the ABS type on your automobile, you one, three, or four sensors. Once the sensor(s) detect the wheels are locking, they engage and disengage your brakes rapidly so you can maintain control of your automobile.

Signs of Brake Problems

Signs of a problem with your vehicle’s ABS are indicated by an ABS dashboard warning light. Signs you have problems with either your disc or drum brakes include

  • Longer stopping distances/having to press harder on your brake pedal
  • Grinding or squealing noises when stopping or when you’re in motion
  • Vibrations in the brake pedal or shaking in the steering wheel while stopping
  • Scraping sensations and sounds when you apply the brakes
  • Burning carpet or chemical smells and smoke coming from the wheels
  • Leaking fluid near the wheels that is light or dark brown and very oily
  • Changes in how your brake pedal feels or the sinking distance to the floor

Don’t take chances with one of the most important safety systems on your automobile. Premier Auto Repair is a full-service auto repair shop in Tyler, TX, so give us a call today to schedule a braking system inspection.


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