Complete guide to disc brakes in your car

Brake Parts

The braking system in your car is important for your safety. When on the road, you need to change the speed of your vehicle as per the traffic. A robust braking system allows you to slow down or stop your car and avoid accidents.

As your safety on the road depends on the braking system, you may want to take out some time and know this system in and out. 

A disc braking system cannot function without brake discs. These discs are fastened to your car’s wheels and work together with the brake pads to create friction causing your car to slow down or stop. 

Most cars have disc brakes including pads, rotor and caliper. Faulty brake discs can put your life as well as your fellow drivers in danger. Making sure your disc brake is good is essential for road safety.

How do disc brakes work?

The brakes on a car function the same way as the brakes on a bicycle. The two calipers are squeezed together when pressure is applied to the lever, which causes friction between the rubber pads and the metal rim of the tyre.

Similarly, when the brake pedal is pressed in a car, liquids are forced via pistons and tubes, compressing the brake pads.

In case of a disc brake, the brake pads squeeze the rotor rather than the wheel and the force is communicated hydraulically rather than through a cable. The disc becomes extremely hot from friction between the pads and the brakes, which slows down the car.

The front wheels of the majority of modern cars have disc brakes, and some high-performance cars even have disc brakes on all four wheels.

The disc brake comes in two varieties – the “opposed piston type disc brake,” which has pistons on both sides of the disc rotor, and the “floating type disc brake,” which has a piston on just one side. Disc brakes are found in passenger automobiles, but they are progressively making their way into the commercial vehicle market due to their consistent performance.

Common symptoms of a failing brake discs

While there are signs that hint towards a failing brake disc, these are not always easy to spot. Being aware of the following signs can help you identify the problem early and save accidents on the road.

Squeaky brakes

When you apply the brakes, your car will likely make a squeaking or scraping noise. And if the wear is really bad, you will hear a rather scratching sound.

If the screeching starts, you should take your car to a skilled mechanic to rule out the problem and get it fixed.

It takes longer to stop

Your brake discs can become less effective at their job and vibrate the brake pedal due to wear and tear. It might also show jerks when you try brakes. If you let this problem slip, the car won’t be able to stop at all. This can be a dangerous situation. 

Make sure to take your car for a quick garage run if this is the case.

Visible harm

If possible, make it a habit to check your brake discs for damage, especially before long trips. Look for any deep grooves or score markings on the discs and if you find any, you should take a professional’s help.

How to take care of disc brakes in your car?

You can’t stop disc brakes from eventually wearing out. But you can take a few actions to maintain (Please read our blog on car brake maintenance) the safety of the car while extending the lifespan of the brakes.

  • Avoid cutting corners and invest in good-quality disc brakes. It’s a wise idea to spend a little more money to acquire ones that last longer.
  • Make sure to clean the disc brake rotors, especially in wet weather. Your rotors may collect dirt from the road and trails which may then spread to your brake pads, causing them to become glazed. Consider using a disc brake cleaner to extend the life of our brake pads and rotors.
  • Make sure you take car of car brake fluid and change it when required. Here’s a blog on how to change car brake fluid.
  • Never ever spray oil or any lubricant on your disc brake calliper or rotor as it will reduce the braking power.
  • Change your driving habits. People using brakes forcefully will wear out the brakes faster. Give yourself plenty of room to stop the car and this will be less of a problem.

It’s always best to change your brake pads and discs at the same time as they function together to stop the car. It will also increase the life of your brake system.