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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.
How can you save money (and the environment) while you drive?
As every garage owner will tell you, there are some tried and tested ways to cut down on your petrol costs (and consumption) while you’re out and about in Newcastle upon Tyne or beyond. One is to shut your windows. If you can hear that wind noise in your car it’s costing you more to drive. This is because the car becomes less aerodynamic and has to work harder to motor along. Removing a roof rack will improve your fuel efficiency for the same reason. Another useful tip is to combine short trips into one; each time you drive after your car has been parked for a while the engine will be cold and need to use a lot more fuel for the first 5 miles or so. If you do one trip from school drop-off to supermarket to office you’ll use far less fuel than if you do all those trips individually.
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