Braking systems have evolved over time. This has made them able to have better performance. Without a doubt, one of the most important systems in your car is the brakes. Over the years, manufacturers have experimented with many different styles of brakes. Today we’re talking about the development of brakes from their earliest form, all the way up to the modern systems we have today. Let’s dive in.
Wooden block brakes
The earliest automotive brakes were wooden block brakes. This rudimentary system consisted of a lever and wooden blocks. The lever moved the wooden blocks against the steel rim of the wheels. When this happened, it created friction. This caused the wheels to stop spinning and the car came to a stop. Wooden block brakes were first used in horse-drawn carriages, and later in steam-powered cars. This braking system had limitations. The main issue was that they only worked on steel-rimmed vehicles. Additionally, they were only effective on vehicles moving slower than 20 miles per hour. As soon as manufacturers switched over to rubber tires in the 1890s, wooden block brakes became obsolete.
Mechanical drum brakes
Since automakers were using rubber tires, they needed to find a new braking systems. This came about in 1899 with an idea from Gottlieb Daimler. He supposed that if a cable-wrapped drum was attached to the vehicle’s base frame, it would be able to bring the car to a stop. Louis Renault built on this idea in 1902 when he created the first mechanical drum brake. This became the foundation for today’s modern braking systems.
Expanding internal shoe brakes
Even though mechanical drum brakes were a step in the right direction, they had one major problem. They were external, which meant they were exposed to extreme temperatures, dirt, and precipitation. Because of this, they needed frequent maintenance. Eventually, a system of internal brakes were developed, called expanding internal shoe brakes. They were stored in a metal drum, which was attached to the wheel. Inside the drum, brake shoes were expanded by pistons. This caused the brake shoe to brush against the metal drum, creating friction. This friction slowed the vehicle down and eventually stopped it.
Hydraulic braking systems
In 1918, Malcolm Loughead invented a new braking system. This four-wheel system used brake fluid to transport hydraulic force from the pedal to the brake shoes. Hydraulic brakes were a significant breakthrough. Before, a lot of force was needed to apply the brakes. Hydraulic brakes made it a lot less strenuous. By the late 1920s, many major automakers installed hydraulic braking systems in their vehicles.
Unfortunately, hydraulic brakes often needed repairs. Because of all the brake fluid, they often leaked. One small leak could cause all the brakes to malfunction. To address this issue, automakers installed disc brakes that had hydraulic functions. Disc brakes had been around since the early 1900s, but they really took off in the 1950s.
Anti-lock braking systems
These days, anti-lock brakes come as a standard safety feature in most vehicles. They were invented back in the 1920s and were originally intended for use on airplanes. By the 1950s and ‘60s, some automakers started using them as well. By the 1970s, they were a popular and affordable safety feature.
Does your car need brake repair? Our experienced technicians at Kremer Services are here to help. Give us a call at (651) 455-1604, or request your appointment online today. We look forward to seeing you soon.
What Every Car Owner Needs to Know About Brake Replacement
Lots of auto maintenance is straightforward enough, as long as you have the right tools. Brake replacement, however, is not. Your brakes are complex. Replacing the brakes can point to any number of underlying brake issues that need troubleshooting. Unless you have a lot of experience with brake repair, this can get quite overwhelming. Today we’re discussing what you need to know about brake replacement. Understanding the process can help you figure out how to move forward with replacing your brake system.
Steps to replacing the brake system
Experienced auto technicians typically follow these general steps when replacing the brakes:
- Loosen the lugs: After activating the emergency brake, use a lug wrench to loosen the lugs without disconnecting them.
- Raise the vehicle: Position the car jack underneath your car’s frame rail. Place the jack stands under your car so it can rest here. After ensuring your car is stable, take off the wheels.
- Slide out the caliper: Remove the bolts and take out the caliper. If your caliper is stuck, pry it out with a flat head screwdriver. Place the caliper on the suspension so your brake lines don’t get strained.
- Remove the caliper carrier: Remove the bolts and take off the caliper carrier.
- Remove the rotor: Check your rotor for a rotating screw. If you have one, take this out first and then remove the rotor. If your rotor is old or rusty, this step might be difficult.
- Install new rotor: Brush rust off the surface of the hub with a wire brush. Wipe off your new rotor with a degreaser to remove any oily residue. Then, install the new rotor.
- Assemble caliper carrier: Use new bolts to attach the caliper carrier.
- Compress the caliper: Before compressing, check your brake reservoir and make sure its cap is removed. This is to make sure you don’t blow a line. Then, using a c-clamp and an old brake pad, line up the piston inside the caliper with the caliper’s housing.
- Install caliper and brake pads: Install the brake pads in the caliper carrier and fasten the bolts. Make sure the caliper can move without seizing up, and then secure the caliper bolts.
- Reattach the wheels: Reattach the lugs. When your car is back on the ground, use a torque wrench to tighten them all the way.
- Repeat, pump, and break in: Repeat the above steps for all your wheels. Next, pump the brake pedal to get pressure in your system. Once you feel the pressure with your brake pedal, you can break in your brakes. Go for a ride and complete a few cycles of acceleration and gradual deceleration. It’s normal for your car to be noisy at first, but this should gradually die down.
Should I replace my own brakes?
Replacing your brakes is one of those jobs that’s often more involved than anticipated. Unless you know your way around brake issues and repairs, it’s best to trust a professional with replacing your system. That way, you can rest easy knowing that your system is installed properly.
Do you need your brakes replaced? Let our experienced technicians at Kremer Services lend you a hand. Give us a call at (651) 455-1604, or request your appointment online today. We look forward to serving you.