5 Types and Functions of Vehicle, Car and Motorcycle Brakes – Nitoba

Brakes have several types and functions that vary depending on the type of vehicle used.

In this article, we will discuss the 5 types and functions of vehicle brakes, both cars and motorbikes, so that we can understand more deeply about how the braking system in a vehicle works.

By understanding the types and functions of a vehicle’s brakes, it is hoped that it can increase awareness and safety of driving on the highway.

Types and Functions of Vehicle Brakes

Disc Brake Illustration (Photo: Ride Time)

In discussing a vehicle, the braking sector sometimes escapes attention. The majority of users often focus too much on engine power, comfort or features.

Even though the brakes play a key role for safety aspects. Just imagine what would happen if a car with large horse power was not equipped with adequate brakes.

Surely a car becomes very dangerous to drive. Car manufacturers are aware of this and are always improving the braking capabilities of their products.

Development is carried out by providing additional features, for example Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) or Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

In this article, maybe we won’t go too deep into discussing such active safety features. Rather, it is more directed to the type and function of vehicle brakes that are commonly found on cars and motorbikes.

But before that, let’s first understand the definition of the braking system.

Definition of Braking System

Many definitions have developed regarding the braking system itself. But one that is easy enough to understand without neglecting the technical aspects is written by the Learn Mechanical website.

Braking is a vehicle system whose job is to absorb motion energy from the wheels which aims to reduce speed with the help of friction or friction.

Emphasized, the braking system is a very important part of the vehicle. In its working process, this system involves many components, for example brake pads, disc rotors, drums, brake fluid, to the control lever on the driver’s side.

Brake pedal illustration

Rem Pedal Illustration (Photo: Brake & Front End)

Vehicle Brake Function

In detail, the function of the braking system is to stop the vehicle with the smallest possible distance. To do this, the braking system will convert kinetic energy into heat energy which is then discharged into the atmosphere.

Along with the times, in practice at this time the wasted kinetic energy can be accommodated again and converted into electrical energy. As can be found in hybrid cars or electric cars.

Vehicle Brake Type

As already mentioned, there are various types of braking systems, including:

Mechanical or drum brakes Disc brakes Hydraulic brakes Air brakes Hand brakes

There are many aspects that are considered by vehicle manufacturers to choose the right type of brake. For example, motorbikes with small engine capacities will usually use mechanical or drum brakes on the front and rear wheels.

Then affordable cars usually combine discs for the front tires and mechanics for the rear wheels.

Meanwhile, for cars that are more expensive or with above average performance, both will be equipped with discs.

Production costs are a consideration. In addition, the selection of the type of brake also looks at the weight and performance of the vehicle’s engine.

Carmudian can see a detailed explanation for each type of brake below.

1. Mechanical or Drum brakes

Car drum brakes

Drum type brakes on a car (Photo: Your Mechanic)

This kind of brake is most often found on vehicles. Until now there are still many motorcycles or cars that use it.

Its main components include the drum itself, the brake pads and a cam. How it works, when you step on the brake pedal, the cam will push the brake pads outward.

Then the outer side of the brake lining will press the drum causing friction to stop the vehicle. The vehicle can stop because the drum rotates with the wheels.

Then when the brake pedal is released, the brake pads will be pulled inwards by the springs to return to their original position.

2. Disc Brakes

Types and Functions of Vehicle Brakes

Disc Brake Illustration (Photo: Ride Time)

The next type that is also quite common is disc brakes. The main component that characterizes this type of brake is the rotor or disc attached to the wheel. In addition, there are calipers with pistons inside which work with the help of hydraulic oil pressure.

When the brakes are operated — either via the pedal or lever — the hydraulic lubricant will push the pistons located in the calipers to clamp the discs. Friction that occurs between them will automatically slow down the vehicle.

Disc brakes have a number of advantages over drum brakes. One of them is the ability to maintain a working temperature that is not too high. That way braking can be more stable.

3. Hydraulic Brake

How hydraulic brakes work

How hydraulic brakes work (Photo: Google)

This point is more about the type of brake based on how it works. As is known, disc brakes used on motorcycles or cars use a hydraulic system to operate them.

The working principle, hydraulic brakes refer to Pascal’s law which states that the pressure of a liquid in a closed space will be transmitted in all directions with the same force.

The hydraulic braking system does use channels that must always be tight and cannot even be contaminated with air. If there is a leak, the brakes might lose pressure and eventually fail.

Inside the system there is a section called the master cylinder which contains the reservoir and compression chamber. This component is connected to the caliper via a hose.

4. Wind Brake

Air brake tube

Illustration of air brake tube (Photo: Brake Experts)

In contrast to drum or disc brakes, which are often found, air brakes are rare. These brakes are used on large vehicles such as buses or trucks.

As the name implies, this type of brake utilizes the wind to operate it. The process consists of several stages, starting from the air entering through the filter then going to the compressor and being temporarily stored in the reservoir.

The reservoir is connected to the brake chamber on each wheel. But before that, the wind must pass through the air valve, which has the task of regulating how strong the braking level is.

It’s not without reason that large vehicles use air brakes. Compared to drum or disc brakes, this kind of brake has a much stronger braking power.

In other words, disc or drum brakes will not be able to stop a bus or truck, which weighs much more than an ordinary car.

5. Parking Brake

Parking brake lever

Parking brake lever (Photo: Grimmer Motors)

The parking brake or hand brake has a different function. Its existence is not designed to stop or slow down the vehicle, but to hold it in a stationary position.

As the name implies, the parking brake is used to keep the car from moving while parking. In certain cases, the parking brake is also required for a car with a manual transmission when stopping and going on uphill roads.

The majority of the parking brake operation uses a mechanical system. When the lever is pulled, there is a cable that operates the rear brake. On the lever there are serrations that serve as a locking mechanism.

As already mentioned, the parking brake is not designed to stop the vehicle. Even so, its existence can be considered as a backup brake when the main braking really doesn’t work.

Conclusion Types and Functions of Vehicle Brakes

From the information on the types and functions of vehicle brakes above, it is known that there are many models of brakes. Starting from drum or mechanical brakes, disc brakes, hydraulic brakes, air brakes and parking brakes. Each has its own way of working which basically functions to stop the vehicle. Except for the parking brake, which is used to hold the car in position.

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Author: Mada Prastya
Editor: Dimas

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