A vehicle's brakes are a complex system of levers, hydraulics, and frictional force that can quickly stop the momentum and force of the car when used correctly. Brake repair that addresses the whole braking system is complicated, and requires the experience and expertise of a licensed professional, who can ensure that the brakes have been properly repaired, and ready for safe operation of the vehicle.
When a vehicle operator presses down on the brake pedal, the master cylinder compresses fluid sending hydraulic pressure to the brake pads. When the pads come into contact with the rotors, they create enough friction to slow down, and eventually stop the vehicle. Most cars have a disc system connected to the wheel or axle, which is connected to the hydraulic system. The disc is typically made of cast iron and works with the rotor and the pads to create the friction that will slow the car's wheels; the most common brake repair service is a brake pad replacement. The pads are made of hard organic material, and come with a mechanism that will make a squealing sound when they have worn too thin; when the pads make contact with the rotors, it will make a squealing sound that indicates the pads need replacement. The worn-out brake pads can become a serious issue, and require rotor replacement if they are used to long, allowing extended contact with the metal parts without the buffer from the pads.
The force used to actually stop a car is far greater than the force applied by simply pressing a foot on the brake pedal. The hydraulic system is a part of the brake system: the hydraulics creates enough pressure to apply force to the brake disc that will create the friction to actually slow the car. Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that transfers the hydraulic force through the hydraulic lines, and into the braking mechanism. Typically, when the brake pedal pushes all the way to the floor, it is an indicator of low brake fluid or a leak in the hydraulic system that will require immediate attention through brake repair service. If it is determined that there is a leak, the part should be replaced before operation of the vehicle. If there is low brake fluid, it will need a refill.
Warning lights are the first indication that there may be an issue with the braking system, but paying attention to how the car feels during vehicle operation can also help to determine if the car should be serviced. A "soft" pedal that requires more pressure applied to stop the vehicle is an indicator of a brake system issue. There may also be an issue with the brake system if the car appears to pull or steer toward one side while braking.
A properly operating brake system is a crucially important factor in safe operation of a car. The average vehicle weighs over 3,500 pounds, and the braking system is the only equipment on a car that can quickly and efficiently stop a vehicle in the event of an emergency or any time that the vehicle needs to stop.