As the modern-day car is quite powerful and may often be fitted with a turbocharger or other performance parts, vehicle manufacturers need to make sure it's equally capable of stopping safely in the hands of the average motorist. This is why braking systems have been developed over the years, and most vehicles are now fitted with disc braking systems all around. Yet while they are very efficient, they are also open to the elements, and this can sometimes cause a problem. What type of issues should you be on the lookout for to make sure that your braking system is always working correctly?
Drums to Discs
In years gone by, many vehicles would have drum brakes. The braking apparatus would be enclosed within a protective drum and less likely to malfunction when exposed to the elements. Today, the brake discs sit immediately behind the road wheel and get little protection from moisture and dirt.
Discs in Action
When a driver puts their foot on the pedal, hydraulic fluid will push a pair of friction pads out of the housing caliper and onto the surface of the revolving disc. This will, in turn, slow the wheel and therefore the car, and most of the time, the system will function perfectly well.
However, the friction pads are designed to deteriorate each time they touch the disc, and the residue can sometimes stick to the surface. As you can imagine, there is a tremendous amount of heat involved in this operation, and this can sometimes cause the dust from the friction pads to glaze onto the disc's surface. Dirt from the road surface can also mix with moisture and adhere to the disc.
It doesn't take a tremendous amount of accumulated residue to cause issues with the braking system. This dirt can cause tiny "high" points on the surface of the disc. Then, when the driver presses the brake pedal, the pads may run over these high points, and this will cause vibration. The driver may feel the vibration through the steering wheel and the brake pedal, which can be quite concerning.
The problem may become even worse as the discs begin to deteriorate. When rainwater mixes with high temperatures, it can actually cause the discs to warp, even if only slightly. Again, this can cause inconsistencies in the way that the vehicle handles and may call for further action.
Machining Usually Works
If you suspect such issues with your braking system, you need to take it to a mechanic who offers brake repairs. The good news is that they can usually remove the discs and machine them to return them to their original efficiency.