The process of stopping your car begins with you, the driver. Whether it’s a red light, a stop sign or a felled tree crossing the road, when you need to stop, you press the brake pedal—and that’s when the magic happens.
How Brake Pads Work
The brake pedal pushes a plunger in your vehicle’s master cylinder, displacing the brake fluid inside. This displaced volume forces the brake fluid into the brake lines and down to the brake calipers. Lined on the inside with the brake pads, the brake caliper covers, or surrounds the top portion of your brake rotors. The brake fluid causes the caliper to squeeze the brake pads to the rotor surface, which slows and ultimately stops the wheel from turning, bringing your car to a safe halt. Here’s the “brake” down.
- Driver’s foot
- Master cylinder
- Brake fluid
- Brake line
- Brake caliper
- Brake pad
- Brake rotors
The Benefits of Brakes & Brake Pads
Now that we have the basics, let’s talk replacement parts. All the parts mentioned above are easily replaced. Of course Honda Accord brakes are going to be much easier to replace than BMW 7-Series brakes, but for the most part, a brake job can be done by anyone who’s even halfway handy.
When replacing these parts, you also have the opportunity to upgrade to some performance-grade components. Ceramic brake pads and slotted rotors, for instance, put instant performance into your pedal. Or if you have the cash, get a complete performance brake system from a brand like Brembo, EBC or Power Stop. According to one EBC rotors review in fact, the complete performance kit is the “most profound bolt-on upgrade you can buy.”
Choosing the Right Brakes for Your Vehicle
So, the next time you hit the pedal, take some time to ponder the wonderful mechanisms of your vehicle’s braking system, and show it some love. It’s sure to love you back! Also, don't forget to check out the brakes reviews on our site.