- Master Cylinder
The master cylinder is a holding tank for brake fluid until needed. As the brake pedal is pushed down, the cylinder forces fluid to each of the wheels.
A worn master cylinder can become leaky causing dangerously unreliable brakes.
It is a good idea to periodically check brake fluids and the master cylinder for leakage.
- Brake Pedal
The only visible part of a vehicle's braking system, the brake pedal, is connected directly to the master cylinder.
The pedal can be an indicator of brake problems if it travels too far, feels "hard" or "soft" or pulses. This can mean low or leaking fluids or unevenly worn shoes or pads.
- Combination Valve
The combination valve is comprised of a metering valve, proportioning valve, and brake warning light. It helps regulate the amount of pressure on each set of wheels to insure the front and rear brakes are applied simultaneously.
Problems with the combination valve can cause a vehicle's wheels to lock up.
- Drum Brake Assembly
A drum brake assembly is the most common method of stopping a vehicle's rear wheels. The master cylinder's fluid pressure forces the wheel cylinder to push brake shoes against the brake drums attached to the rear wheels. The resulting friction caused by the stationery shoes against the revolving drum is what makes the rear wheels slow to stop.
When brake shoes or drums become worn, stopping becomes unreliable and requires excessive pressure on the brake pedal.
- Wheel Cylinder
The wheel cylinder is a very important part of the drum brake assembly. It is made up of fluid©activated pistons that push brake shoes against the wheel drums to slow the vehicle.
Leaking wheel cylinders are the cause of many brake problems such as unreliable stopping, brake shoe damage and even partial brake system failure.
- Disc Brake Assembly
Most cars use disc brakes for their front brakes because of their ability to withstand more heat than drum brakes. Disc brakes work when fluid from the master cylinder compresses brake pads against rotors attached to the front wheels. The friction caused by the stationary pads meeting the revolving rotors results in the rotors and the attached wheels to slow and stop.
Disc brake rotors and pads are subjected to much abuse and should be checked for wear on a regular basis.
Faulty disc brakes will vibrate during braking and can fail completely if not repaired. Note: Regular checking and maintenance of all brake system components is recommended on all vehicles.