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7. Vehicle Components

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142
The Braking System

There are two independent braking systems in your vehicle, the service brakes and the parking brake (also referred to as the emergency brake ). The service brakes are used to slow your vehicle while you are driving. The parking brake can also be used to slow your vehicle in an emergency , but is mainly used to hold your vehicle in one place while stopped or parked.

When you press your brake pedal, a piston in your master cylinder forces brake fluid through hydraulic lines to pistons in the wheel cylinders at the wheels where additional pistons provide the force to apply your brakes. Hydraulic fluid is stored in a brake fluid reservoir normally located in the engine compartment.

There are two types of brakes:

  • drum brakes
  • disk brakes
  • Drum brakes slow your vehicle by the friction of a brake shoe pushing outward against the drum which is rotating with the wheel.

    Disc brakes slow your car by the friction of a caliper pressing inward against a disc which is rotating with the wheel.

    Both drum and disk brakes convert friction force to heat and if the brakes get too hot, they cease to work because they cannot dissipate enough heat. For both types of brakes, your stopping distance time is roughly proportional to the square of your speed, so if you double your speed you quadruple the distance to stop your car.

    When you are stopped and apply your brakes, they lock. It is the friction force between the tires and the road that keeps you from moving. Your parking brake uses a cable rather than a hydraulic system to engage your brakes or clamp down on your drive shaft and will therefore function even if your service brakes have failed.


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    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 7 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. The ALTERNATOR:


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    2. The engine in your car is sometimes called:


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    3. This oil warning light means that:


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    4. The minimum tread thickness for passenger car tires is:


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    5. Disc brakes work by:


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