Most Important Qualities of Brakes
We do some of the best brake repair in Chico so we get a lot of questions about what precisely makes for good brakes. You probably saw this coming, but that’s a complex question with different answers for every different vehicle. We like to fix brakes on a case-by-case basis, but today we’ll go over some of the fundamental qualities of brakes that you should consider before buying new brake parts or getting brake repair service.
These essential statistics will help you find the right brakes for the job whether you need car brakes or truck brakes. If you know of any other pro-tips that might help people find auto brakes to suit their need, please let us know in the comments below and we may share them in featured article later (we’ll even give you a shout out, if you’d like!)
Essential Brake Part Performance Stats
When you talk about how much stopping power a brake is capable of, that’s “peak force”. Higher peak stopping force means a smaller vehicle will stop easier, or a larger vehicle is more capable of stopping. Keeping in mind however that tire traction is a big part of stopping. (If you have bald tires or need new tire replacement, let us know, we’ll handle that for ya)
Note that external factors like damaged brake lines or a broken master cylinders can cause false-positive reduction of brake force. Be sure to have proper brake diagnostics if you’re having unidentifiable issues with loss of peak brake force.
Most drivers recognize the tell-tale squeal of worn or damaged brakes. This is most often due to the brake pads being worn down or even the metal part of the pad (the wrong part) contacting the rotor itself, which is especially bad and can cause expensive damage. Better brake pad materials mean not just better stopping power and safety, but less noise too. Although, again, one might choose noisier breaks in exchange for better stopping power, durability, or just general feel.
Brake fade is a loss of stopping power after repeatedly pressing the brakes. If it’s not worn or damaged brake parts then it’s usually a consequence of heavier load or higher speed conditions than the brakes are meant for. Again other factors besides worn brake pads contribute to brake fade, like loss of brake fluid pressure.
If the vehicle shakes when using the brakes, that’s poor smoothness. Might seem like a luxury, but smoothness is relevant to safety too. The “chatter” that’s caused by coarse braking actually reduces traction and reduces stopping power. Without friction, you skid more, and no one wants to skid more… well, unless they’re on a race track.
This can be a bit subjective, but essentially it’s how quickly pressing the brake pedal transfers to stopping the vehicle. People have different preferences so different pedal feels feel better to different people. Nonetheless, people generally prefer tight responsiveness and a proportionate translation of pedal pressure into stopping power.
Time wears away even the best of brakes. Durability is self-explanatory of course, and at times you make a trade off between durability and stopping power. That is, more stopping power, less durability, unless you use better materials of course.
Hot brakes are more prone to failure; power (or heat) dissipation is how easily the brakes diffuse the heat that comes from friction from using the brakes. If the brake gets too hot, the surface contact won’t maintain friction and the brakes will fail.
This is effected by environmental factors like air temperature and construction of the other parts of the brake system, but usually those are hard to exceed under normal use. Working vehicles though should be careful to choose brakes, rotors, and brake pads suited for the job at hand.
The closed-system nature of braking necessitates some physical contact even when not using the brakes, so naturally a minute amount of friction exists during the off-brake position. Drag is a measurement of that friction when the brake is not in use.
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Hopefully this will give you some insight into what you need to focus on when choosing new brakes and brake parts. We put the most essential qualities at the top too so you can focus on them in order rather than trying to prioritize them all.
If you’re looking for the best brake mechanics in Chico then you’re looking for Tedious Repairs. We offer brake diagnostics down to specific services including rotor replacement, brake pad replacement, caliper adjustments, brake fluid refills, and more.