How Car Brakes work? [A Detailed Look at the Components and the Functioning]

I know that some of you are wondering how car brakes work. Car enthusiast or not, most people have a curiosity about their vehicle because it's their way to get around in our crazy world.

In this article, I will break down the components and functions of the braking system from start to finish.

Braking System Basics

basic brake

Car brakes work by using pressure to stop your vehicle. Braking systems use brake friction material to slow or stop your car. The Disc Brake Assembly safely stops your car. Drum Brake Assembly also does so when other points in the system are active (i.e., during cornering, accelerating, braking).

What are the components of car brakes?

The brake assembly consists of three major components: the disc brake assembly, drum brake assembly, and caliper.

  • Disc Brake Assembly

The disc brake assembly includes the following components:

1) Rotor - A rotor is a circular plate attached to the wheel hub. It has slots cut into it for mounting pads.

2) Pads - These pieces grab the rotors and stop them from spinning. There are usually four pads per set of wheels.

3) Calipers - Calipers are used to hold the pad in place. They are held in place by a bracket called a caliper mount.

4) Mounting Bracket - This holds the caliper in place.

5) Wheel Hub - This is where the brake rotors attach to the wheel.

  • Drum Brake Assembly

The drum brake assembly includes the following component:

1) Rod-Rods are long cylinders that connect the brake shoes to the brake pedal.

2) Shoe - Shoes are the part of the brake that stops the wheel.

3) Cable - Cables connect the brake pedal and the shoes.

  • Caliper

The caliper is the brake assembly part that holds the brake pads in place. The caliper mounts to the wheel hub and attaches to the brake shoes.

What are the functions of car brakes?

There are many different functions of car brakes. Some of these include:

1) Stopping the car - When you press the brake pedal, the brake shoes come down and contact the brake drums/rotors. This causes friction between the brake shoes and the brake drums/rotor, which slows the rotation of the wheels.

2) Cornering - When you accelerate or decelerate quickly, the brake pads push against the rotating discs causing friction. This creates heat and increases the temperature of the brake fluid. As the fluid heats up, it expands and pushes outwards. This forces the piston inside the master cylinder to move upwards. This movement is what activates the brake booster.

3) Anti-Lock Braking Systems - If you're driving on an icy surface, anti-lock brakes can help prevent skidding.

4) Emergency Braking - In case of emergency, such as if you hit something, the brakes will automatically activate without any input from you.

5) Parking Brakes - Parking brakes keep the car stationary even when not being driven.

6) ABS - Anti-lock brakes are a safety feature that helps prevent skidding.

7) Brake Assist - Brake assist is a technology that uses sensors to detect whether or not you're about to lose control of the car. If this happens, the brakes will be applied before you have time to react.

8) Electronic Stability Control - Electronic stability control is another safety feature that prevents the loss of control of the car.

9) Traction Control - Traction control is a safety feature that keeps the tires from slipping during acceleration.

10) Hill Start Assist - Hill start assist is a safety feature that allows your car to roll backwards while you're still pressing the gas pedal.

How do car brakes work?

Car brakes work by using friction between the pad and the wheel. When you pedal, the brake pads push against the wheel and stop it from moving. The brake system uses heat to slow the wheel below its speed limit.

Car brakes are one of the most important safety features on a vehicle. They work by using friction to slow down and stop the car. When the brake pedal is pressed, the brakes apply pressure to the wheels, which causes them to slow down. The faster the car goes, the more pressure is needed to stop it.

There are two types of brakes most commonly used on cars: disc brakes and drum brakes. Disc brakes have a disc that sits in front of the wheel. When the brakes are applied, the disc is forced against a brake pad, which slows down the wheel. Drum brakes have a drum that surrounds the wheel. When the brakes are applied, the drum is forced against the brake shoes, which slows down the wheel.

Both disc brakes and drum brakes are effective at slowing down and stopping a car. However, disc brakes tend to be more efficient and have less wear and tear. For this reason, they are often used on newer cars.

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes use the shoes on the drum to push against the friction linings. This causes the vehicle to slow or stop. Drum brakes have many advantages over other braking systems, including better braking effects and a longer lifespan. However, they fade quickly if Applied Repeatedly Within A Short Time and must be cooled down before reuse.

Disc Brakes

There are many braking systems, but the basic principle is the same - a mechanism presses against the wheel to stop it. The most common type of brake is a disc brake, which uses a rotating disc to stop or slow the vehicle. In some cases, more than one pair of pistons may operate through different types of calipers (a swinging or sliding caliper), like a scissor mechanism, to provide additional stopping power.

Drum vs. Disc Brakes

There are two types of brakes used on vehicles: drum and disc. Drum brakes are found on the front axle and disc brakes on the rear axle.

Disc brake systems offer better performance than drum brake systems in terms of stopping distance, heat management, and durability. Open-disc systems can be more prone to water infiltration, but they also tend to be more reliable than closed-disc systems.

How do car brakes work together?

Car brakes work together to stop your car. The engine activates brakes in order to create the friction needed to halt your vehicle. The sequence of parts that make up a brake system is connected in a way that allows for safe and precise stopping power.

The brake system consists of three main components: the master cylinder, the brake lines, and the brake discs/drums.

  • Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is located under the hood and contains hydraulic fluid. It connects to the brake line and controls how much force is applied to each brake.

  • Brake Lines

Brake lines connect the master cylinder to the individual brake drums/discs. Each brake line has a reservoir inside the master cylinder where the brake fluid is stored until needed.

  • Brakes Discs/Drums

Brakes discs/drums are attached to the wheel hubs. There are usually four discs/drums per wheel. These discs/drums contain friction material that creates friction when the brakes are applied.

How do car brakes work with other systems?

Car brakes work with other systems, such as the steering, suspension, and engine. When you press down on the brake pedal, a hydraulic system sends brake fluid to the calipers and engages your brake pads. The calipers ensure that the brake fluid is delivered to the pads, which in turn apply pressure to the rotors.

When you release the brake pedal, the hydraulic system releases the pressure from the calipers, and the pads return to their original position.

What does the brake pedal feel like?

The brake pedal feels like a spring. As you step on the brake pedal, the springs compress and then expand again. If you don't put any weight on the pedal, the springs will keep the pedal depressed.

How do car brakes work with drivers?

Car brakes work by using hydraulic fluid to compress the brake pads or shoes on a disc or drum. The friction material on the pad or shoe stops the car. Car brakes' braking power is delivered through hydraulics, anti-lock braking, and boosting.

The ABS uses wheel-speed sensors to detect when a wheel is locking up and reduce pressure on that wheel for you to safely stop your car.

How do car brakes work with safety?

Car brakes work with safety by activating the cylinder that delivers brake fluid to the calipers that then engage your brake pads. Brakes also activate the rotors, creating the friction needed to stop your car. Interconnected brake parts provide safe and precise stopping. In case of warning symptoms, an immediate inspection is necessary. Consult your owner's manual for specific brake inspection intervals for your particular make and model.

Watch How Car Brakes work

How Car Brakes Work (FAQs)

1. What is a hydraulic brake?

Hydraulic brake systems pressurize and transfer brake fluid to the wheel brake assemblies.

2. What is a parking brake?

It is Independent of regenerative braking systems, use rear brake assemblies to stop.

3. What is a Brake Booster?

Brake boosters assist drivers by multiplying the force they apply to the brake pedal.

4. What are the different types of brakes in passenger vehicles?

Braking systems in passenger vehicles use two primary types: disc brakes and drum brakes.

5. What are the Advantages of Disc Brakes?

Manufacturers have come to prefer the disc braking system because of its many advantages, which include: Cleaning: Unlike drum brakes, which need periodic cleaning due to brake dust collecting on the shoes, disc brakes are self-cleaning.

6. What are the advantages of a drum?

The rotation of the drum tends to pull the leading shoe firmly against it when it makes contact, improving the braking effect.

7. What is dual-circuit braking?

Dual-circuit braking system Most modern cars have brakes on all four wheels, operated by a hydraulic system.

8. What is a hydraulic brake circuit?

A hydraulic brake circuit has fluid-filled master and slave cylinders connected by pipes.

9. What is the difference between a master and a slave piston?

The combined surface 'pushing' area of all the slave pistons is much greater than that of the piston in the master cylinder.

10. What is a tandem brake?

There are two master cylinders in tandem on most modern cars in case one fails.

11. What are the brake problems?

Under heavy braking, so much weight may come off the rear wheels that they lock, possibly causing a dangerous skid.

12. What if the vacuum fails?

If the vacuum fails, the brakes will not work. So the only way to stop your car safely is to release the accelerator completely.

13. What is the handbrake mechanism?

Mechanical handbrake Most cars have a mechanical handbrake that operates on two wheels, usually the rear wheels.

14. What is a brake shoe?

There are two curved shoes with friction linings on its open backplate.


Car brakes are the most important safety feature of a car. The braking system has been designed to stop vehicles quickly and safely in emergencies. This article explains how it works from start to finish. Thank you.


John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.