1. Master Cylinder
The master cylinder, heart of the brake system, contains a reservoir for brake fluid. It is located on the firewall and should be checked periodically to ensure the proper fluid level.
2. Brake Lines
Attached to the master cylinder, steel brake tubing runs to all four wheels. Brake lines should be inspected for rust, which can lead to leaks. If the lines are damaged, they should be replaced.
3. Brake Hoses
Rubber brake hoses run from the brake lines to the brake calipers and wheel cylinders. Constant exposure to road grime, dirt, salt and other elements can cause the rubber to become brittle and crack, leading to brake failure.
4. Linings and Pads
The pads and brake shoe linings should be checked periodically for uneven or excess wear, glazing, or saturation from brake fluid or grease.
5. Calipers and Wheel Cylinders
Brakes are activated by brake fluid pressure from the master cylinder pushing a piston located in the caliper or wheel cylinder against the pad or shoe. A leak can cause erratic braking or brake failure.
6. Bearings and Seals
Wheel bearings should be inspected and lubricated periodically. Worn wheel bearings, which can cause faulty steering as well as erratic braking, should be replaced.
7. Parking Brake
The parking brake should be adjusted periodically.