How Disc Brakes Work:

Most modern cars have disc brakes on the front wheels, and some have disc brakes on all four wheels. This is the part of the brake system that does the actual work of stopping the car.

The most common type of disc brake on modern cars is the single-piston floating caliper, which is what you’re looking at here.

The main components of a disc brake are:

  • The brake pads
  • The caliper, which contains a piston
  • The rotor, which is mounted to the hub

The disc brake is a lot like the brakes on a bicycle. Bicycle brakes have a caliper, which squeezes the brake pads against the wheel. In a disc brake, the brake pads squeeze the rotor instead of the wheel, and the force is transmitted hydraulically instead of through a cable. Friction between the pads and the disc slows the disc down.

A moving car has a certain amount of kinetic energy, and the brakes have to remove this energy from the car in order to stop it. How do the brakes do this? Each time you stop your car, your brakes convert the kinetic energy to heat generated by the friction between the pads and the disc. Most car disc brakes are vented.

Keep reading…