How Brake Calipers Work

Brake Calipers are critical to your car’s ability to stop.Most cars are equipped with disc brakes. This is at least for the front wheels.However, trucks and cars are increasingly using disc brakes in both the front and back.A disc-braking system has wheels attached to metal discs. The rotors are attached to the wheels and spin along with them.The caliper helps to slow the car’s wheels by creating friction between the discs and the rotors.

The brake pedal fits over the rotor as a clamp.Each caliper is a.

A pair of plates made from metal and friction material.The outboard brake pads are found on the outside of the brake rotors (inwards the curb), and the inner brake pads are on its inside (inwards the vehicle).The master cylinder’s brake fluid creates hydraulic pressure that pushes the brake pads against the rotor.The brake pads feature high-friction surface and are used to slow the rotor to a crawl or to stop it completely.Because they’re connected to one another, the wheel will also slow or stop when the rotor slows.

Older vehicles and trucks had drum brakes. In these brakes, the wheels are slowed down by friction between a rotating drum with brake shoes and the drum.This friction caused heat buildup and gases to accumulate inside the drum. This led to braking fade.Because disc brake pads are outside of the drum, and not within the drum, heat is less likely to build up.Modern cars are equipped with disc brakes, which have replaced drum brakes. However some less-expensive cars still have drum brakes for the rear wheels. This is because they require less stopping power.

There are two main types – fixed calipers, and floating (or sliding!) calipers.Floating or sliding calipers move along the rotor, and only have one or two of their pistons.This piston pushes a caliper around when the brakes are applied. The friction created by the brake pads on both ends of the rotor is caused by the piston.Fixed Calipers have pistons located on opposite sides of rotor.While fixed calipers are better for performance, they tend to be more expensive than the floating.Some fixed calipers, which are more powerful than others, have several pairs of pistons (“pots”) placed on either side. Others may have six.

Special tools can be useful for working with brake pedals, particularly when changing brake pads.This is what we’ll be discussing in the next section. Then, we’ll go over the different types for different types vehicles.

Performance Brake Calipers

Disc Brakes were originally created for race cars.Race cars move at high speeds but need to accelerate rapidly.In the early days for racing, many cars were equipped drum brake systems. Breathing fade was a problem that caused many accidents on-track.Disc brakes had better ventilation, which reduced some of stress caused by racing and excessive heat.

Build-up can result in brake fade.These powerful brakes slowly dwindled to be less effective on vehicles with lower performance.These brakes are even now available on most economy cars.High-performance vehicles still require powerful brakes. There are many variations on the brake caliper design that can be used to improve stopping power.

There are limitations to the ability of brakes or calipers to stop a vehicle. While they might be able to bring it to a standstill, it is up to the gripping strength of the tires to make the stop. Also, improved brake parts won’t help beyond certain limits.There are many things that can be done to improve brake calipers.You will find the following features on performance brake calipers:

  • Larger pistonsThe bigger the pistons and the greater their contact area with the brake pads, then the greater the clamping force that they exert on your rotor.
  • More pistons Low volume floating brake calipers use one piston on their inboard side.Low-end fixed hydraulic calipers have only one pair of pistons that flank the rotor disk.High-performance high-performance calipers have multiple pins and/or pairs of pins on opposite sides.Six-piston models seem to be more common than 12-piston models.The clamping strength of the caliper will also increase by increasing the number pistons.
  • Less thermal retention — In this sense, the brakes can also be thought of a device which converts movement into heat.As the vehicle slows down and generates kinetic energy, most of this heat ends up as heat.To put it another way, friction between the brake pads (and the rotor) generates heat the same way as striking a match creates heat.The brakes lose effectiveness if too much heat builds-up.The better the brake calipers are ventilated, the more effective they will be.The heat spreads better the larger the brake drum.
  • Differential Bore Calipers — As friction heats up, brake fade can be prevented by increasing the clamping force.Multiple pistons (or multiple sets of pistons) can heat the brake brake rotor surfaces. They push against the brake pad near the leading edge of caliper. The friction makes the rotor hotter as it rotates back toward the pistons close to the trailing edge.It is a good idea to have larger pistons close to the rear edge.Differential-bore hydraulic calipers use smaller pistons on the front and larger pistons on the back.

All of these technologies increase the brake power provided by a hydraulic caliper.This extra braking power is not needed for small cars.High-performance high-performance brakes are beneficial to vehicles with greater power and speed.

Truck Brake Calipers

It’s not hard to see that SUVs and trucks are massive.The increased size of trucks and SUVs means that they have more momentum.Trucks and SUVs are more reliant on stopping power than cars.So how can they get that stopping power?Truck brakes.The clamping forces are what determine a vehicle’s stopping force. They measure the force the caliper can apply against a rotating rotor.This is determined primarily by the number, size and surface area of the rotor brake pad.A caliper which has a higher clamping pressure is more capable of stopping or slowing down a vehicle than one with a lower clamping effort.

Many trucks come equipped with basic floating disc brakes that provide sufficient power for the vehicle when it arrives at its destination.These calipers are not powerful enough for heavy loads or when the truck has larger tires and accessories.Truck calipers are easily re-sold.A truck might have calipers measuring approximately 5,000 sq. m (7.8 sq. in) between the pistons.A custom caliper, which can be more than twice as large, will provide the clamping power required to customize a vehicle.

Truck brake calipers, more than other parts of the brake system, have to contend with high heat.Heat can cause brake fade and decrease in stopping distances.Proper ventilation is critical for consistent brake performance.The heat can be spread over a wider area by using a larger brake wheel (or brake disc).

There are many vehicles that need special brake equipment. Trucks and SUVs, however, are not the only ones.Some even suggest that truck brake brake calipers be considered high performing brake calipers.In the next section, we will look at some features that high performance brake calipers may offer other vehicles.

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