Brakes and related components

Braking is a key safety feature and any failures in this area require immediate repair. During the vehicle inspection the following features and components are checked on your vehicle:
  • Brake circuit
  • Brake control system
  • Discs, drums, calipers and pads
  • Brake assist, anti-blocking or regulation system
  • Service brake
  • Parking brake

Brake Fluid Reservoirs

ROLE: to store and protect the brake fluid. When the brake pedal is pushed, the brake fluid pushes force to the braking mechanisms and ensures the hydraulic braking system works properly.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • A low level of brake fluid will lead to longer braking distances, reduced braking performance or even complete braking failure.
  • If the tank or its cap are in bad condition, moisture or air can contaminate the brake fluid. The water evaporates when braking leading to more air bubbles and this air compromises or completely eliminates the braking effect.
  • If the brake fluid is excessively old, the same effect can occur.

Master Cylinder

ROLE: to distribute the fluid pressure generated by the brake pedal to the braking mechanisms on the vehicle’s wheels.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • The braking capacity will be reduced or compromised in the event of a leakage.

Brake Pipe Hose

ROLE: to distribute the fluid pressure in the brake system when the brake pedal is pushed, by delivering brake fluid from your vehicle's master cylinder to the wheel cylinder (in drum brakes) or brake caliper (in disc brakes).
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Braking capacity may be severely compromised if there is a leakage (it could result in an imbalance or lack of brake power).
  • Brake failure may occur, as well as a sudden loss of braking capacity, if there are signs of oxidation, wearing or cracking.
  • A brake imbalance may occur if the pipe is pinched or damaged.

Brake Cable

ROLE: to link the connecting rods and cables running from the parking/emergency brake control to the rear wheels.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • It may be difficult to stop the vehicle on slopes if the cable is seized or if there is excessive command free play.
  • There is a risk of sudden cable rupture and a loss of efficiency if these components are in a very bad state.

Service Brake Pedal

ROLE: to control the main brake by foot.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Pedal movement may be affected leading to a decrease in control precision (delay, hard pedal) and longer braking distances if the pedal isn’t securely fitted or there is excessive pedal play.
  • A heightened risk of foot slippage and loss of control if the condition of the support surface is below standard.

Parking Brake Control

ROLE: a lever or semi-automatic system that operates the parking brake.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Inability to lock the parking brake resulting in an inability to immobilize the vehicle.
  • It takes longer to engage, signifying a problem of cable adjustment or the wearing down of the brakes.

Brake Discs and Drums

ROLE: these components are attached to the wheels. Pads exert friction on the disc to slow the wheels down. Brake drums are sometimes used on the rear wheels.
Risks if non-compliant:
• Breakage and sudden loss of efficiency on the wheel may occur if the discs are in bad condition.
• The general braking efficiency may be compromised leading to extended braking distances. A braking imbalance may occur if there is excessive wear and there is also a heightened risk of spinning.

Wheel Caliper / Cylinder

ROLE: to transform the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid into a force on the pads or linings.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Loss of efficiency and longer braking distances if there is a leakage.
  • Lack of efficiency on a wheel or risk of a wheel locking (risk of spinning or longer braking distance) if it is damaged or not securely fitted.

Brake Pads/ Linings

ROLE: these components exert friction on the disc to ensure braking occurs.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Reduced braking efficiency and longer braking distances may occur where there is excessive wear.
  • There is a heightened risk of spinning and longer braking distances if pads are damaged on one of the wheels.

Brake Assist System

ROLE: to increase braking pressure in an emergency situation, bringing your vehicle to a stop quicker.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • The braking capacity will be compromised if there is leakage leading to an imbalance or lack of braking power.
  • Reduced braking performance and longer braking distances if it malfunctions.

Anti-Lock Braking System

ROLE: the ABS is a safety anti-skid braking component that regulates the braking pressure on each wheel to prevent the wheels from locking up during emergency braking by preventing a loss of grip.
The ESP system corrects trajectory errors, particularly when braking on curves.
The EBA helps to obtain a maximum braking power in the event of an emergency.
The AEBS activates the vehicle braking system to avoid or mitigate a collision.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • There is a heightened risk of spinning and longer braking distances in emergency situations if any of the assistance systems do not work well.

Service Brake

ROLE: to slow down or stop the vehicle by pressing down on the brake pedal which acts on the braking circuit and on all the vehicle’s wheels. Both efficiency and imbalance are checked during the vehicle inspection.
Risks if non-compliant:
  • Braking distances will be increased if efficiency is excessively low (when traveling at 90 km/h a vehicle that operates below the recommended threshold value will need 30 extra meters to stop).
  • A loss of control might occur if the right and left brakes are imbalanced.

Parking Brake

ROLE: to hold the vehicle in place when the brake pedal cannot be pressed or the driver exits the vehicle. The control can be mechanical (handbrake lever) or automatic (with the engine switched off). The efficiency is checked during the vehicle inspection
Risks if non-compliant:
  • If the efficiency is excessively low, the vehicle could accidentally roll away when left unattended.
  • Hill starts may be difficult.