How do Brakes Work?

Brake systems
come in two forms: disc and drum, and they both work using friction and resistance.

Drum brakes:
  • The brake system is in a round drum that rotates with the wheel.
  • Inside the drum are a set of shoes.
  • The shoes forced against the drum when the brake pedal is pressed.
  • The shoes are made of a heat resistant friction material.

Disc brakes:
  • The brakes are setup with a rotor connected to the wheel.
  • Brake pads squeeze the rotor and cause friction, which stops the wheel from spinning.

In the course of time the friction will wear down the brake pad, which is why they must be checked or replaced on a regular basis.
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Calipers apply pressure to the brake and are powered by a hydraulic system:
  • The hydraulic system consists of a master cylinder, hoses filled with brake fluid, and calipers a.k.a wheel cylinders. 
Brake systems require regular maintenance to ensure safety on the road.
  • Brake pads can be 8, 10 or 12 mm thick. 
  • When the pad wears down to 3 mm it needs to be replaced.
Failing to do so can cause damage to your rotors.
  • Rotors will also wear down over time, and when the thickness is too low to consume the heat, they will have to be replaced.

Keep you and your passengers safe by keeping your brakes in a healthy condition.

How long will your auto brakes last? Consider how you drive and where you drive. By listening to your car when it is braking can help you save money. With routine maintenance and a quick response to warning signs will ensure that your car will stop every time you hit the brakes. Also changing your worn out brakes on time will prevent further damage to your vehicle.
Watch to learn about 6 warning signs of brakes in need of replacement.
Stop in for a free Brake Evaluation!

At Larry H. Miller Chrysler Dodge Ram FIAT Denver, serving Aurora, Centennial, Parker, Littleton and Castle Rock, we will give you a free brake inspection.
Whether it's time for your annual brake inspection or you have experienced any of adverse braking symptoms, it is time for a thorough inspection of your brake system.

An auto mechanic will examine the following components during the inspection:
  • Brake pads and shoes
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Rotor and drum wear
  • Calipers / Wheel cylinders
  • All brake hardware
  • All hoses and lines
  • Master cylinder
  • Anti-lock system

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After the inspection, the auto mechanic will provide a detailed report describing the source and cause of a brake issue, and cost of the necessary repairs.

How important is a brake service?

  • Safe vehicle operation requires properly functioning brakes.
If you suspect an issue with your braking system, do not drive the car and request an inspection as soon as possible.


Larry H. Miller Chrysler Dodge Ram FIAT Denver

2727 S Havana St
Directions Aurora, CO 80014-2803

  • Sales: 8559741652
  • Service: 877-830-1727
  • Parts: 877-652-9511


  • Monday 07:00AM - 06:00PM
  • Tuesday 07:00AM - 06:00PM
  • Wednesday 07:00AM - 06:00PM
  • Thursday 07:00AM - 06:00PM
  • Friday 07:00AM - 06:00PM
  • Saturday 08:00AM - 05:00PM
  • Sunday Closed
In most cases your car will warn you that it is time to have an auto mechanic inspect your brakes. It might be a dashboard light, a screeching noise, or a number of other indicators.

These are the most common warning signs and causes of brake trouble.

Worn or Uneven Brake Pads
  • Brake pads will make contact with the rotor and make a squealing noise when the pads are too thin.
  • You will hear screeching, clicking or grinding noise when you apply the brakes.
  • If the squealing turns into a grinding sound, you have worn through your brake pads and the backing plate is grinding against your rotors.
  • This may severely damage your rotors and substantially raise the cost of the repair.
  • Uneven brake pads can cause a car to pull in one direction when the brakes are
Brake Line Issues
  • Damaged brake lines, or air in the brake lines is a serious issue that should be immediately addressed.
  • A symptom of this would be your brake pedal can be pushed close to the floor before the car will stops.
  • To check for a leak put some cardboard under the car for a period of time, and look for a clear fluid leak.
Worn Parts
  • Worn wheel cylinders, worn disc calipers, a worn master cylinder or worn brake booster can all cause serious safety issues.
  • Soft or spongy brakes can mean one or more of these parts is failing or malfunctioning.
  • You should call your mechanic immediately if the brake pedal goes almost to the floor before engaging.
Dirty Brake Fluid
  • Brake fluid contaminated by moisture or is dirty will also cause your brakes to pull to one side.
  • Having the fluid changed should clear up this problem.

Worn Brake Shoes
  • The drum brake version of worn brake pads.
  • If your brake shoes wear too thin you will hear a squealing noise when you apply the brakes.
  • If the noise turns into a grinding, the shoes are completely worn out and you are grinding on the drum and most likely the drums will need to be resurfaced.
  • It is possible the squealing noise may be caused by brake dust.
  • It is still better to have your brakes checked to make sure worn brake shoes is not the problem.
Engaged Emergency Brake
  • If your emergency brake is on, your dashboard light should warn you. Depending on the vehicle the word "brake" or a circle with an exclamation point in it will light up and/or flash.
Loss of Hydraulic Pressure
  • Losing hydraulic pressure in the brake system may be an indication of a leak. Your dashboard warning system should light up if this happens.
Stuck Caliper or Slide Pin
  • If a caliper or slide pin is sticking, you will notice your vehicle is pulling to one side when you brake. This is a collapsed brake hose that may  cause an acceleration problem.
  • You may feel like your car is dragging along.
Collapsed Brake Hose
  • This can result in calipers moving unevenly, which causes the car to pull one side, and is indicative of an issue with the pads on one side are thinner than the other.
Bent Backing Plate
  • If the brakes are improperly serviced the drum brake's backing plate on a can be bent. 
  • Symptoms you will notice are grabbing brakes, noise and your brakes may even lockup.
  • If it happens on the front brakes you will hear a high pitched squeal when the wheel is turning but not braking.
Malfunctioning Brake Booster
  • This is the opposite of the soft pedal, if you have to put a lot of pressure on the pedal before the brakes engages, your brake booster is failing.
  • If you hear a rushing sound when you apply the brakes this may be caused by the brake booster.

Warped Rotors
  • When exposed to extreme stress for an extended period of time a rotor may warp.
  • Towing, mountain driving or any other situation that would put abnormal stress on the brakes may cause a rotor to warp.
  • Warped rotors will cause your brakes to vibrate.
  • Don't park your car next to spraying sprinklers after driving because the cold water hitting the hot rotor could also cause warping.
Sticking Shoe Adjusters
  • Common to drum brakes will cause the brake pedal to go close to the floor before engaging.
  • Caused by sticking or rusting shoe adjusters on a drum brake.
  • Adjusting drum brakes can be a short term fix, but the problem will return unless the adjusters are replaced.

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Broken Retracting Springs
  • If the retracting springs on a drum brake are broken you will experience a pull to one side.
  • This condition can quickly accelerate the wear on the brake shoes and cause the brakes to run hot.
  • This can also cause your vehicle to not accelerate as it normally would.