Vehicle Brake Basics

SKU: C-580Duration: 17 Minutes

Pay-per-view (PPV) format perfect for individual users.

Get immediate access to this interactive eLearning course online. Must be used within 30 days, expires 48 hours after launch.

Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 17 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

Brakes are mechanical devices that are used to slow or stop a moving object, or to prevent the movement of a stationary object. This course discusses the hydraulic braking systems typically installed in modern automobiles and light duty trucks. Similar systems can be used on rotating equipment and machinery. Brake pedal design, vacuum-assisted brake boosters, "master" and "slave" cylinders, emergency brakes, anti-lock brake systems, and the importance of regular inspections and maintenance are all covered.

Learning Objectives

  • Define "friction," "force," "hydraulics" and "pressure"
  • Discuss how "leverage" and the "pedal ratio" increase braking force
  • Discuss how "brake assist" or "power brakes" increase braking force
  • Identify and describe disc brakes and drum brakes in vehicle brake systems
  • List important characteristics for brake fluids
  • List the brake system components which should be regularly inspected
  • Describe the functions of emergency brakes, anti-lock brake systems, and wear indicators on brake linings

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

How does the brake pedal design affect a vehicle's braking system performance?
The lever design of the brake pedal multiplies the force applied by the driver. The multiplying factor ranges from 3 to 5; the value depends on the location of the brake pedal linkage.

Why does the "master cylinder" have two separate pistons?
For safety reasons. Each piston is associated with a circuit that supplies braking power to two wheels. So, if there is a leak in one circuit, power will still be applied to the other two wheels.

What is a "brake booster"?
In vehicles with "power brakes," the pedal linkage first reaches a "brake booster" that uses vacuum to further amplify the braking force.

What is a "slave cylinder"?
"Slave cylinders" are hydraulic cylinders at the wheels that are used to press the brake shoes or pads against the drum or disc rotors.

How do ABS brake systems determine that a wheel is slipping?
ABS systems use speed sensors at all four wheels to determine when one or more wheels is stopped or turning much slower than the other wheels.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

The most common disc brake design consists of a disc rotor that is attached to the wheel, a U-shaped caliper with a single piston, and two replaceable brake pads. This "single-piston floating caliper" disc brake functions much like the brakes on a bicycle, except the brake pads press against a rotor instead of a wheel. As the brake fluid is pressurized by the piston movement in the master cylinder, the piston in the caliper moves the brake pads toward the rotor. Friction between the brake pads and the rotor slows the wheel from turning. Because friction generates heat, most car disc brakes are "vented" by a set of vanes that pump cooling air through the brake. Virtually all modern cars have disc brakes on the two front wheels because disc brakes tend to be more efficient and braking throws a car's weight forward on to the front wheels. It is increasingly common to have disc brakes on all four wheels.
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