How Do Car Brakes Work? The Science of Braking and Reducing Friction

Braking is something that many people know very little about. If you are like them, this guide will teach you everything there is to know about braking and how it works.

How do car brakes work to stop a car?


The first thing you need to understand is what happens when you brake. When you press the brake pedal, the brake pads come in contact with the rotor (the wheel). This causes friction between the two surfaces, slowing the wheel's rotation.

When the wheels slow down, they no longer move forward. Instead, they begin to rotate backward at an angle relative to their original direction of motion. This is called "brake torque."

When the wheels start rotating backward, the force of gravity pulls them toward the ground. As the wheels get closer to the ground, more friction occurs between the wheel's surface and the road. This increases the amount of braking power applied to the wheel.

Different types of brakes.

Three main types of brakes are used in cars today: drum brakes, disc brakes, and vented disk brakes. Drum brakes were invented in 1892 and have been around ever since. They consist of a series of metal drums attached to the wheel hub. Each drum has a pair of shoes that slide along the outside edge of the drum.

Disc brakes were invented in the 1930s. They consist of a set of discs mounted directly onto the wheel hub. A caliper assembly holds each disc in place. The caliper contains a pair of brake pads that squeeze together when pressed by the brake pedal.

Vented disk brakes were developed in the 1970s. They are similar to disc brakes, but instead of having a solid disc, they have a venting system. The venting system allows air to escape from the area between the pad and the disc. This prevents overheating and improves performance.

How do different types of brakes work?

Three main brakes are used on cars today: drum brakes, disc brakes, and vented disk brakes. Drum brakes were invented in 1892 and have been around ever since. They consist of a metal cylinder attached to the axle of the wheel. Inside the cylinder is a piston that pushes against the inside wall of the cylinder as it moves back and forth.

As the piston moves back and forth, it creates friction between the cylinder's an outside wall and the tire's inner wall. This friction slows the wheel and brings it to a complete stop.

Disc brakes were invented in 1938 and are still widely used today. Discs are made out of steel and aluminum. They are mounted directly onto the wheel hub. There are two discs, one for each side of the wheel. These discs are connected via a caliper.

A caliper consists of two parallel arms that connect to the brake pads. One arm holds the pad while the other arm presses the pad against the rotor. As the brake pads slide across the rotor, friction slows the wheel.

Ventilated disk brakes were invented in the 1970s and are now commonly found in luxury vehicles. Ventilated disks use air pressure instead of hydraulic fluid to push the brake pads against the rotor.

How do car brakes work when they fail?


If the brakes don't work properly, the wheel may not slow down enough for the engine to pull it away from the ground. In this case, the wheel continues to spin until it reaches a certain point. At this point, the tire bursts, and the rim breaks off. This is known as a "lock-up" event.

It's every driver's worst nightmare: you're cruising down the highway, and suddenly your brakes fail. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stay safe in this situation. First, try to stay calm and avoid panicking. 

Second, gently ease your foot off the gas pedal and onto the brake pedal. If your car has an automatic transmission, shift into low gear. This will help to slow the car down without overworking the engine.

Finally, use your emergency brake to stop the car gradually. Although it's not ideal, it's better than slamming on the brakes and risk losing control of the vehicle. With a cool head and a little bit of know-how, you can safely navigate your way through this stressful situation.

How Do Car Brakes Work? FAQS:

1. Which brake is the best?

There isn't just one type of brake that works better than another. It depends on how you want your vehicle to perform. Choose a drum or vented disk brake if you're looking for maximum stopping power. If you want to minimize tires wear, you should choose disc brakes.

2. How much does brake dust affect my car?

Brake dust can cause problems if it gets into the oil. However, most modern vehicles have filters that keep the dust out of the oil. Also, there are many ways to clean the filter without removing the oil.

3. Why do I need new brake pads when replacing my rotors?

When you change your brake pads, you remove all the old material and put fresh material on the rotor. Over time, the brake pads will become worn and need replacing. You'll also notice that the braking force decreases over time. This is because the brake pads get smaller and are less effective at slowing the wheel.

4. What is the difference between a drum brake and a disc brake?

Drum brakes are mechanical devices that clamp the wheel to the axle. A drum brake has two shoes that squeeze together to create friction. When these shoes move, they make contact with the inside walls of the drum.

Disc brakes are hydraulically operated. Instead of squeezing them together, they press the brake pads against the rotating rotor.

5. Is it safe to drive after changing my brake pads?

Yes! Changing your brake pads doesn't mean you can no longer safely operate your vehicle. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance.

6. Can I replace my brake pads myself?

Yes! All you need is some basic tools, including:

• A Phillips screwdriver

• A wrench

• Some lubricant (like motor oil)


Understanding how your car brakes work is critical to keeping you and your passengers safe on the road. Regularly inspecting your brakes and ensuring that they are in good working order can help avoid accidents and keep yourself and others safe.

Rahat Hossain