Your Quick Guide to How Brakes Work

Whether you purchased your vehicle from us or not, Elgin Toyota, President's Award Winner for 19 consecutive years, is your #1 choice for automotive service and repair.

We all know that pressing down on the brake pedal brings a vehicle to a stop, but what is going on behind the scenes? Once the brake pedal is engaged, you are pushing against a plunger in the master cylinder. This, in turn, sends brake fluid through a network of hoses and tubes that connect the master cylinder and the brakes found at each wheel. 



Brake Inspection Benefits

Brakes are one of the most critical safety features in your vehicle but are often overlooked, so it is important to ensure that the entire system is in proper working order. Our highly skilled technicians have been trained to detect any problem with your brake system and repair it quickly and correctly. These items are thoroughly evaluated as part of our brake inspection checklist: 

  • pads (and/or shoes)
  • rotors (and/or drums)
  • fluid condition
  • calipers
  • hoses
  • wheel cylinders
  • wheel bearings and grease seals
  • hardware (springs and adjusters)
  • parking brake cables
  • master cylinder fluid exchange
How often should I bring my vehicle in for a brake inspection? It is ideal to have your brakes inspected at least once a year to ensure everything is running smoothly and to catch any issues before they turn into a major problem. This can prevent a quick fix from turning into a extensive and expensive repair. If you notice warning signs with how your brakes are operating, an inspection is needed right away.  Consult your owner's manual for specific brake inspection intervals for your particular make and model.


Brake Basics

What components make up your brake system, and how do they work together and individually? Below is a brief overview of each component and why they are so important.  

  • Brake pads: In disc brakes, brake pads are the thin blocks that grip the disc. Every time your slow down your vehicle or bring it to a complete stop, its brake pads undergo extreme stress. 
  • Rotors: This important part of the brake system is just as critical as brake pads. Brake pads clamp down on the rotor to stop the wheels from spinning. There are several different types of brake rotors on the market today. 
  • Calipers: The purpose of a caliper is to create friction with the rotors, which helps to slow down the wheels. The caliper fits over the rotor. Inside each caliper, brake pads are bonded with metal plates. 
  • Brake hoses: A vehicle can have as many as four brake hoses. Each hose is connected to a different braking component. The hoses allow for the transfer of brake fluid to the calipers or wheel cylinders from the master cylinder. They are made from rubber, so it is possible for them to leak or become dry and cracked. 
  • Brake fluid: Brake fluid is the medium through which pressure from the driver's foot pedals is transferred through the master cylinder to the calipers to allow the brake pads to clamp the discs. 


Set Up a Brake Inspection Today!
If you are unsure whether your vehicle's brakes are operating at peak performance, schedule a brake inspection today. Catching any issues early could save you money and hassles in the long run. 




*Trucks and SUV's slightly higher. Toyota models only. Must present coupon when order is written. May not be used on previous purchases or combined with any other specials. All specials exclude tax, shop supplies and hazardous waste disposal fees. Some Toyota models may be slightly higher. For more information on this special or any other service special here at Elgin Toyota, please contact our Service Department at 847-628-2800. All prices plus fees and taxes. Picture may not represent actual product/service
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