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The brakes on your car utilise fluid pressure.
When the brake pedal is depressed, it activates a plunger in the master cylinder,
which pressurises the brake fluid in the pipes and hoses causing the brake components to move.
Brake repairs are one of the most common reasons to visit a garage; all cars need their brake discs and pads replaced at regular intervals. Some of the warning signs for brake failure are squealing or grinding noises when depressing the brakes, or the brake feeling 'spongy' when the pedals is pressed. And of course if you need to brake increasingly hard to effectively slow or stop your car, then you could well be looking at brake replacement.
There are two main types of brake systems: disc brakes and drum brakes.
Disc brake systems are comprised of two pads per wheel, which clamp down on the brake disc when the brake pedal is depressed. When the fluid becomes pressurised, it sends a plunger in the calliper forward, forcing the brake pads on either side of the brake disc to squeeze it, which results in the slowing and stopping of the car.
Drum brakes operate in the same way as disc brakes, but with a different design. They both use friction to slow and stop the car, but drum brakes use shoes, instead of pads. The shoes are inside the steel brake drum itself, which spins with the wheel. When brake pressure is applied, a component called the wheel cylinder expands, forcing the brake shoes apart and towards the inside edge of the drum. Drum brakes are usually found on older vehicles, or just on the rear brake system.
Smart Automobile is a company headquartered in Böblingen, Germany, that has marketed a range of microcar and subcompact vehicles. Marketed in 46 countries across Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Europe, the design concept for the company's automobiles was first developed at Mercedes in the early 1970s and in the late 1980s. It was quite a lengthy gestation period, and the first model was finally launched by Daimler-Benz in 1998. Several variants on the original design have been introduced, with the original two-seater (called the Fortwo) now in its third generation and the Smart now being available as a fully electric offering.
The brand name Smart derives from its early cooperative studies with Swatch and Mercedes: Swatch Mercedes ART - although we have to say, it does make it a bit difficult to search online with a name like that! Overall, it is a very specialised company that builds ultra-compact cars, designed to carry up to four passengers through congested city streets with ease.
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