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Parts of the Vehicle Brake System- Houston's Premier Auto Repair Facility

Brake System OverviewVehicle Disc BrakesCar Drum Brakes | Car BrakesVideo | Vehicle Brake System Parts

What parts make up a vehicle brake system?                    - Click the links to find out more information -


  • Master cylinder: System component that pumps brake fluid from the reservoir through the brake lines activating the piston

  • Brake reservoir: Contains the system's hydraulic brake fluid

  • Brake lines: Metal tubing that carries the brake fluid from the master cylinder to other brake system components

  • Brake caliper: A steel housing that mounts in a fixed position on the brake rotor that contains the piston and brake pads​

  • Brake piston: A round rod that extends to push the brake pad against the rotor as hydraulic fluid is fed from the master cylinder

  • Brake pads: A metal plate with a semi-metallic overlay that grips the steel rotor

  • Brake rotors: A steel disc mounted to the wheel hub that the pads grip to stop the wheels from rotating

  • Parking brake: A system that applies the brakes mechanically through a series of linkages and cables. Depending on the vehicle, the parking brake system will either be actuated using a foot petal or a hand-operated lever

  • Power booster: A device that uses a diaphragm, engine vacuum and atmospheric pressure to assist the driver with brake application. Also known as a vacuum booster​.

  • Brake hoses: Flexible hoses that connect the brake lines on the chassis with the calipers or wheel cylinders, or the junction block on a solid axle

  • Brake drums: A round cast iron housing attached to an axle shaft or spindle, on which the brake shoes press to stop its rotation

  • Brake shoes: The brake lining in a drum brake system, when the brakes are applied the brake shoes press against the brake drum causing friction to stop or slow the vehicle down

  • Brake fluid: The hydraulic fluid used to transmit hydraulic pressure through the brake lines in a brake system

  • Anti-lock brake system [ABS]: A computer controlled system that allows the vehicle to be controlled under heavy braking by releasing hydraulic pressure to wheels that are about to lock up and skid. Sensors located at the wheels monitor rotating wheel speed in relation to other wheels and send the information to a control module that in turn controls a hydraulic modulator, which regulates hydraulic fluid pressure to each brake assembly

  • Wheel bearings: An anti-friction bearing that uses a series of steel balls that rotate between inner and outer bearing races

  • Wheel cylinder: A component in a drum brake, the wheel cylinder exerts force onto the brake shoes so they make contact with the brake drum causing friction which then stops the vehicle