4 Types of Car Brakes & How They Work

disc brake

Brakes are perhaps the most important safety feature of any vehicle. Knowing how they work and what type is needed for your car can help you feel better informed when caring for or repairing them. 

Every car has service brakes, which enable you to stop while driving. There are two types of service brakes: disc brakes and drum brakes. 

And most vehicles, especially modern ones, come equipped with emergency brakes and anti-lock brakes. 

But before we learn the different types of brakes, we must first understand how they work.

How Brakes Work

For service brakes, or those used when driving the vehicle, there are a few things that must occur between the time in which the driver steps on the brake pedal and the car begins to decelerate or stop.

When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the power is amplified by the brake booster, which is part of the servo system. The servo system is an automatic closed-loop control system with negative feedback, which is used to control the rotational displacement of the object being controlled. 

The brake booster amplifies the power and changes it into hydraulic pressure (oil-pressure) via the master cylinder. 

This pressure is then delivered to the brakes via brake fluid. Once it reaches the brake pistons, the pistons exert pressure on the brake, forcing the car to decelerate or stop. 

Service Brakes

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes have a fairly simple construction, consisting of just a disc rotor, piston, and a brake pad. 

In simplest terms, when you step on the brake pedal, the brake pad clamps the rotor disc (which rotates with the wheel) via pressure from the piston. As the piston exerts more pressure, the brake pad clamps with more force, causing the car to brake more.  

Drum Brakes

Similar to disc brakes, drum brakes work via pressure from a piston. Brake drums rotate with the wheels and are lined with a friction material known as brake linings. When the driver applies the brakes, a piston presses the brake linings against the drums, causing the car to decelerate.

Emergency Brakes

Emergency brakes are a secondary system that work independently of the service brakes. There are many different kinds, but almost all of them are powered by cables that mechanically apply pressure on wheels. 

Emergency brakes are most often used to keep a vehicle stationary while at park. If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you should use the emergency brake every time you park.

If you drive an automatic transmission vehicle, it is recommended that you use the emergency brake when parked on an incline. They may also be used in emergency situations. 

Depending on the type of vehicle you own, your emergency brake is likely located in one of the following locations:

  • Stick lever between the drivers’ & passengers’ seat

  • A third, smaller pedal

  • Push-button near the steering wheel

Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are common on newer vehicles. If the brakes are applied suddenly, ABS will prevent your brakes from locking up in emergency situations. 

By preventing them from locking up, ABS helps to steer in wet or slippery conditions, like rain or snow.

Whether you own a ChryslerDodge, or Jeep, you can rely on HiTech Auto Parts World to have the necessary parts to repair or replace your brake system. We're the brake parts specialist, catering for most models up to 2014. 

We stock a broad range of OEM, new replacement & tested used parts. As well as dismantling local models, we import parts daily from the USA.


All Rights Reserved - Hi Tech Auto Parts