Brakes Car Components 

Bleeding the brakes

The front and rear brakes of a dual-brake system have separate hydraulic circuits. The configuration can vary depending on the manufacturer. The brake pipes also pass through a balance unit which limits pressure to the rear brakes to prevent the back wheels locking when the weight of the car is thrown forwards during braking. On some cars, the rear brakes cannot be bled if the weight is taken off the wheels, and the job must be carried out with the car on the ground. The fluid is hygroscopic, which means…

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Car Components Brakes 

Renewing disc-brake pads

A piston-opposed caliper-type disc brake is fitted to many small and medium cars. It is vital to know when disc-brake pads need replacing. Some makers state a minimum safe thickness of 1.6mm, others 3.2mm. In any case it is better to replace them at the larger figure. There is very little wearing time between 1 in. and nothing. Once the pad wears down to its metal backing, the brakes could fail to work properly – and the disc can be badly scored by the backing and possibly ruined. You may…

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Car Components Brakes 

Adjusting the brakes

Turning the square peg clockwise drives a wedge between two pistons and forces the shoes apart. A typical braking system uses disc brakes at the front of the car and drum brakes at the rear. Usually the handbrake operates on the rear shoes by means of a mechanical linkage — a cable and some levers and pivots. Wheels are always raised — and in many cases removed — to make brake adjustments. Raise the car at the jacking point nearest to the wheel you are working on, and support it…

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Car Components Brakes 

Replacing a drum-brake wheel cylinder

This is a leading-and-trailing-shoe brake: a two-leading-shoe brake has two cylinders. Brake fluid is generally renewed when a leaking or sticking wheel cylinder on a drum brake is replaced with a new one. However, if the fluid has been renewed recently, or it is not convenient to replace it, you can take steps to keep fluid loss to a minimum while replacing the cylinder. Such precautions also make the system easier to bleed after it has been reassembled. Detaching the cylinder Screw down the reservoir cap over a sheet of…

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Car Components Brakes 

Renewing drum-brake shoes

A rear brake with an integral hub and brake drum. The riveted lining on the leading (rear) shoe is positioned off centre in the direction of wheel rotation. Check drum brakes at least every six months, 6,000 miles or 10,000 km, or as recommended in the car’s normal service schedule. Look for worn brake linings. Later cars often have a plugged inspection hole in the backplate. On other cars you need to remove the drum. Linings may be riveted or bonded to the brake shoes. With riveted linings, replace the…

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Brakes Car Components 

Checking and renewing brake cables

The most straightforward type of handbrake layout, with one cable leading to a Y-shaped equaliser and a secondary cable. Handbrake cable layouts vary from car to car, but have only a limited range of types of component. Although you may, for example, find an adjuster screw almost anywhere between the brake lever and the wheels, it can be treated in much the same way. Alternative handbrake layout Adjuster Brake lever Compensatingbracket Pulley A handbrake layout, with a primary cable running to a compensating bracket which works the brakes via a…

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handbrake-layout Car Components Brakes 

How to Check and replace brake cables

Hand brake cable layout The car varies from vehicle to vehicle, but only a limited range of types of components. For example, although you may find an adjustment screw between the brake lever and the wheel almost anywhere, it can be treated almost in the same way. Even in front of a number of car handle the front wheel working system is similar. Cable extension. They need to be checked regularly and lubricated, and adjusted if necessary. Check every six months, 6000 miles, or 10,000 kilometers – or if you…

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