Learn more about Brakes
There are two primary types of brake systems: disc and drum. Both designs serve the same purpose – they create the friction needed to stop your car. Most modern cars either have four-wheel disc brakes or front discs and rear drums.
In a disc-style system, when the driver presses the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is sent to a caliper at each wheel. Inside the caliper are a set of pads that squeeze against a disc-shaped rotor when applied. Pressing the pads and rotor together creates the friction needed to bring your car to a halt.
Drum brakes, which are becoming less common nowadays, operate a little differently. When the driver presses the brake pedal in a drum-style system, hydraulic fluid is sent to a wheel cylinder located at each wheel. The wheel cylinder forces a pair of brake shoes outwards against a circular drum, creating the friction needed to stop your car.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the brake system than just discs and drums. Both designs are controlled by a hydraulic system that uses pressurized brake fluid to exert force. Components such as the master cylinder, brake lines, and various valves make up the hydraulic portion of your brakes. There’s also a brake booster that reduces brake pedal effort.
And modern vehicles also have an anti-lock braking system that modulates brake pressure to avoid wheel lockup. Plus, purely electronic brake-by-wire systems are beginning to enter the market.