Stopping Your Vehicle Brief Information About Brakes

It doesn’t matter what your vehicle is equipped with, our brake services in Lakewood can help ensure your braking system is performing it’s best.

Brake systems on most modern vehicles include three main components. The rotors which are the round metal discs, calipers which straddle the rotors and squeeze the final part – brake pads. The calipers squeeze pads onto the rotors which creates friction, slowing the vehicle down. The bigger the rotors and pads the more friction. Some sports cars and high-performance vehicles have calipers with multiple pistons. The thinking here is more pistons equals more pressure, which realizes more friction and faster stopping. In addition to the number of pistons on the caliper the rotor design can vary. Some rotors are slotted, some drilled. Occasionally rotors are both drilled and slotted. These holes and groves in the rotor help move and dissipate heat. The faster a rotor and overall braking system can cool after spirited use the quicker it can regain full operational integrity.

Cool brakes are good. Hot brakes are bad, and they smell terrible. – Contact Merrill Auto’s Lakewood Brake Repair (hyper linked to

When descending a steep mountain pass like we have in Colorado you may smell a foul odor from the roadway. Typically, that is someone not downshifting with the transmission, braking heavy and for far too long. This can warp the rotors or drums causing a very unpleasant driving experience. In extreme circumstances the brakes can fail completely, this is bad. Colorado and other states have runaway truck ramps to help those vehicles stop after complete brake failure on steep descents.

Some older systems that are still in use have a brake drum, inside of the drum are the shoes these are pressed out and into the drum which creates friction and slows the vehicle down. Brake drums are used less and less, if still in use they are typically found on the rear axle. The brake drum style doesn’t cool off as quickly as a rotor and caliper setup. When driving in the mountains, especially downhill during extended periods of braking they tend to get warm and stay warm. Brake drums have been very useful and still find their way into our transportation system. One of the main uses for these systems are on trailers. Camping Trailers, Boat Trailers, Recreational Vehicles, Horse Trailers and Cargo Trailers among other miscellaneous vehicles. Drum systems are reliable, recognizable and fairly user friendly. These are good attributes when out on the road, especially if something goes wrong. We work on all these RVs and have years of experience with chassis and brake systems. Should you be a Lakewood resident or traveling through we are happy to help get your brakes inspected, tested and back in operation.

If there is ever any concern or doubt about the braking system, let’s get it checked out as quickly as possible. Brakes stop the car or truck. Stopping is very important, for yourself and other motorists. A brake inspection can be performed quickly but can save a lot of damage to components if left alone. Should the brakes make a squeak or grinding sound there is most likely a problem. At times it can be dirt or grime built up but not always. The importance of stopping and overall brake safety is paramount.

In addition to the mechanical side of brakes noted above there is brake fluid. Step on the brake pedal and fluid is squeezed to the caliper to grab the rotor and slow the vehicle. This fluid should be replaced based on the service recommendations of the manufacturer and the condition of the brake system. This is normal maintenance and will help with the service life of your vehicle. We can perform a brake fluid exchange on all cars, trucks and SUVs. We use BG Products and equipment to keep your car stopping.

Some newer technology is creeping into the brake systems. ABS or anti-lock brakes are standard on all late model vehicles. This helps keep maximum traction to the tires that are gripping. Making stopping faster and more controlled, especially in less than ideal conditions. If you are sliding on ice with ABS brakes, you don’t need to pump the pedal. Your vehicle knows it’s slippery and is doing everything much faster than you can to stop. It is also keeping the vehicle straight. When traction is low a vehicle might tend to spin or swerve, this complicates an already bad situation, but ABS can help. Another and much more complicated feature is Automatic Braking. This is being added to very new vehicles, it can detect a problem ahead and slow or stop the vehicle. In conjunction with other safety systems like automatic cruise control, lane departure warnings and driver alert technology we are headed to autonomous vehicles, cars that drive themselves.

Regardless of your Vehicle type or Brake System needs Merrill Automotive can help. Call or schedule an appointment now!