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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 to be a better driver
Whether you’re driving in South Croydon or further afield, think about road user etiquette. Showing respect for other road users makes driving more pleasant for you and safer for everyone. For example, if you have to make a last minute change of lane, make your request to change clear to the driver who will need to let you in - and signal your thanks if they do. Be ready to abandon the change of lane if they won’t play ball - your safety (and that of other drivers and pedestrians) is more important than getting to your destination in the shortest time possible. When the position is reversed and a driver asks your permission to change lanes, allow them to as long as it is safe. If you get frustrated, avoid using your horn - it won’t improve matters and might make them considerably worse.
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