Functions of the Braking System

Nowadays, all modern cars have brakes on all four wheels. The brakes may be disc type or drum type and is operated

Close-up of a disc brake on a car
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by a hydraulic system. When braking, the car throws its weight forward on the front wheels, making front brakes play a greater part than the rear ones as far as stopping the car is concerned.

Generally, almost all cars have disc brakes at the front that is more efficient and drum brakes at the rear. Some expensive and high-performance cars used all-disc braking system, on the other hand, all-drum braking system are used by older or smaller cars.

What is a disc brake?

A DISC BRAKE turns with the wheel because of its disc. This disc is connected by a caliper that has small hydraulic pistons worked by pressure from the master cylinder. The pistons press on friction pads which clamps against the disc from each side making the car’s speed slow or stop. These pads cover a broad section of the disc. In dual-circuit brakes, pistons may come in single or more pairs.

There may be more than a single pair of pistons, especially in dual-circuit brakes. Rubber sealing rings around the pistons are designed for the tiny gap to remain constant and that the brakes need not to be adjusted as it let the pistons gradually slips forward. Most cars have wear sensors leads rooted in the brake pads. The leads are short-circuited by the metal disc and are exposed by a warning light on the instrument panel every time the pads are nearly worn out.

What is a drum brake?

A DRUM BRAKE turns with the wheel by a hollow drum. There are two curved shoes carrying friction linings in the stationary backplate covering drum brake’s open back. These shoes are forced by hydraulic pressure outwardly moving pistons in the cylinders of brake wheels, and then pressing the linings against the inside of the drum to slow or stop.

A pivot at one end and a piston on the other made up each brake shoe. When the rotation of the drum made contact, it tends to pull firmly the leading shoe resulting to good braking effect. Some drums have one leading and one trailing shoe, with pivot at the front while others have twin leading shoes where each has its own hydraulic cylinder.

What is hydraulic brake?

A HYDRAULIC BRAKE circuit has a slave cylinders connected by pipes and a fluid-filled master. When brake is applied, it dampens a piston in the master cylinder, which forces the fluid along the pipe. The fluid then travels to slave cylinders going to each wheel and fills them, forcing pistons out to apply brakes. The pressure in the fluid is distributed evenly around the system. The pushing area of all the slave pistons is much greater than the piston in the master cylinder.

This allows the brakes to exert great force. Consequently, many modern cars have twin hydraulic circuits together with two master cylinders in case the other fails to function. Furthermore, almost all cars now have load-sensitive pressure-limiting valve. This valve closes whenever hydraulic pressure rises to a certain level due to heavy braking which may cause the rear brakes to lock preventing any fluid movements.

Some cars may even have anti-lock systems that can sense in different ways like, if the car is slowing its speed or if any wheels are locking. This system make the brakes apply and release in rapid succession to stop them from locking.

If your car needs to be checked Dave Smith Motors can help you.

How to Calculate And Improve Gas Mileage

English: Drawing showing gas mileage between 2...
Drawing showing gas mileage between 25 and 32 mpg for 10 gal of gas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Whether you’re commuting to work or driving the kids around to soccer practice, knowing what you’re spending on gas is important. Even if you don’t like doing math, checking the real-world gas mileage of your vehicle is easier than you think. Don’t worry, there are no complex equations, and even an elementary school kid can do it. This way, you’ll no longer be assuming that your car is getting 30 mpg on the highway. With accurate mileage calculating, you’ll know whether or not your car is really performing well versus what it could achieve.


  • Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to crunch those numbers:
  • Fill up your car’s gas tank.
  • To get on the gas mileage clock, reset the car’s trip meter to zero.
  • For an accurate test, burn at least half the tank and then refill.
  • Copy down the amount of gallons it took to fill the tank along with the number of miles on the trip meter. For convenience, write it down on the payment receipt. The payment receipt will likely already have the amount of gallons on it.
  • Divide the trip meter miles by the gallons of gas, and you’ve just calculated the gas mileage.
  • Reset the trip meter back to zero, so you can calculate the mpg on the next tank of gas.


You can check the mpg after every fill up or just once a month to get real-world data that can help you identify trends and save money on gas. Keep a small notebook in the car or if you’re tech savvy, use an app on your smartphone.


Tips for Increasing Gas Mileage


There are a number of things that you can due to improve gas mileage. Drive sensibly. Constant braking, rapid acceleration and speeding lower mpg by five percent around town and up to 33 percent on the highways. Removing excess weight from your car is another way to improve mpg. Just an extra 100 pounds can reduce mpg by two percent. Always avoid excessive idling. Depending on the engine size and air conditioner use, idling uses a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. Using cruise control on the highways will also help you maintain constant speed and save gas.


A well-maintained car will also reduce the amount of gas that your car uses and increase your miles per gallon. Make sure your car gets a regular tune up for maximum performance. If your car is out of tune or has failed an emissions test, get it serviced. Both conditions can increase fuel consumption by four percent. Properly inflated tires are not just safer, they also improve mpg by 3.3 percent. Increasing your mpg is good for your wallet and good for the environment. Be financially and environmentally responsible by making sure your car is getting the best possible gas mileage.



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