Car Braking System: How does it work?

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A braking system is a vital component of any vehicle. It is responsible for slowing down or stopping a moving vehicle. The braking system is composed of several parts that work together to create the necessary force to stop the vehicle.

This article will shed light on the braking system, define its functions, and how it works.


Functions of a Braking System

The brake system is the most important part of the car in terms of active safety. The main function of a braking system is to stop or slow down a moving vehicle. However, it also serves other functions, such as maintaining vehicle stability, improving driver control, and reducing vehicle tires' wear and tear.

How a Braking System Works

When a driver applies pressure to the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is sent from the master cylinder to the calipers by the brake lines, causing the brake pads to press against the brake rotor. The friction created by this process generates heat and slows down the vehicle.

Braking System and its main components

  • Control device - controls the operation of the entire braking system and includes, for example, a pedal, a lever, a rod, and the like.

  • Brakes - the necessary braking force is created by them.

  • Brake transmission - transfers the effect of the energy source to the brakes, which subsequently creates braking force.

Types of Braking Systems

Modern cars may be equipped with one or more of the following braking systems.

  • Hydraulic braking system - It uses brake fluid, which forces the brake pads to stop the wheels. Hydraulic braking has a bigger force than mechanical braking, and the chance of failure is minimal.

  • Electromagnetic braking system - This system uses electromagnetism to achieve braking without friction. Thanks to frictionless braking, the lifespan of brakes is greatly increased.

  • Servo braking system - Known as vacuum-assisted braking, this system uses a vacuum to increase braking force.

  • Mechanical braking system - This system powers an emergency and hand brake.

Single-circuit and double-circuit Braking Systems

Nowadays, the single-circuit brake system is no longer used. It was replaced by a two-circuit one, which significantly eliminates the risk of a complete failure of the braking effect in the event of a failure of one brake circuit.

We can divide the two-circuit brake systems according to the connection of the circuits into:

  • Normal - one circuit for front and one for rear brakes

  • Normal double - one circuit for both front and rear brakes, the other only for the front

  • Diagonal - one circuit, for example, for the right front and left rear wheel and the other for the left front and right rear wheel

Types of brakes

Disc brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc brakes and drum brakes. Disc brakes are more common in modern vehicles because they offer better stopping power and are less prone to overheating. They consist of a brake rotor and caliper, with the brake pads pressing against the rotor to create friction.

Drum brakes are an older technology and are less common in modern vehicles. They consist of a brake drum and shoes, with the shoes pressing against the drum to create friction. Drum brakes are less effective than disc brakes and are more prone to overheating.

Brake types according to the purpose

  • Service brake - serves to slow down or stop the vehicle, and the driver must be able to regulate its effect smoothly.

  • Emergency brake - allows you to slow down or stop the vehicle in the event of a failure of the service brake system. The emergency brake system is usually an intact circuit of a two-circuit brake system, or it can be a parking brake and, therefore, a handbrake.

  • Parking brake - secures a stationary vehicle against movement (parking/handbrake).


In conclusion, the car braking system is essential to every car. Its primary function is to stop or slow down a moving vehicle. It also serves other functions, such as maintaining vehicle stability, improving driver control, and reducing vehicle tires' wear and tear.