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How Do Disc Brakes Slow You Down?

When you press your brake pedal, it moves a hydraulic piston inside a cylinder. This piston is typically narrow and it covers a long stroke, pushing fluid out to the four corners of the car. At each wheel, there is a wide but shallow piston or several pistons squeezing the brake pads against a spinning disc that is mounted to the wheel axle. The friction from the contact of brake pads against the brake disc slows the disc down, generating heat in the process.

How Can A Person Pushing A Brake Pedal Have Enough Strength To Stop The Car

Originally, this was done with leverage. The different diameters of the brake master cylinder and the four brake pistons decrease the amount of distance that the brake pads travel while increasing the force. You push the brake pedal three or four inches; the brake pads move maybe a quarter of an inch or less, but with much greater force.

Modern cars have power brakes. Older systems used the vacuum from the running engine to help “boost” the driver’s foot force. Many newer systems have a separate electrical pump that can generate its own brake pressure with or without your help.

How Do Anti-Lock Braking System Works?

A computer compares the speed of all four wheels as the brakes are being applied. If anyone wheel is slowing down faster than the rest, the computer operates an electro-hydraulic valve to “pump” the brakes on that individual wheels.

What is Threshold Braking?

It’s when you use the maximum brake pressure that will slow the car without locking the wheels in a car without ABS or be engaging the ABS in an equipped car.

What Stop You Faster: Threshold Braking OR ABS

If you are absolutely perfect at threshold braking, it works better than ABS. The vast majority of track rats and club racers are not perfect, so don’t be too self-critical if ABS kicks in for you. In race classes where ABS is permitted, it is a major advantage.

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