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Car Brake Maintenance: Step by Step

Educational  ·  October 30, 2019

Car Brake Maintenance: Step by Step

Your car’s braking system is the most critical system when it comes to safety. If you start noticing any of the signs translating to brake pad wear or any other brake-related issue, it’s best to get the brake system checked.

Routine brake maintenance is therefore crucial and should always be done in time to avoid causing damage to the rest of the brake system. Car brake maintenance is not as difficult as it sounds. Once you understand the mechanics of the brake system, you’ll see how easy maintenance is.

How the brake system works

To know how the brake system works, we first have to understand the various components of the system. The brake system comprises of:

The brake system operation is simple. Pressing the brake pedal while driving results in the master cylinder pushing the brake fluid into the brake lines. From there, the pressurised fluid flows into the wheel cylinder and activates the brake pad. The brake friction pad, in turn, presses against the rotor and slows the car down.

The hydraulic system multiplies the force that your foot applies on the pedal. If any of the components fail to do its role, the brake system will not be able to stop your car on time. So is the case if any of the parts get damaged. Worst-case scenarios can happen with brake failure. To prevent this from happening routine brake maintenance is necessary. 

Here is the breakdown of a complete brake system maintenance routine.

Before doing anything else, you have to inspect the whole system, including the advanced anti-lock brake components. Once done, you can go ahead and analyse the parts individually. The importance of this inspection is that it will tell you the exact area that is affected and which component to replace or repair.

Car brake maintenance


Before starting the routine brake maintenance procedure, let your car rest for about an hour and a half if you've just come from driving. This rest time will ensure that the brake components, such as the calliper, have cooled down. 


1. Servicing the disc brakes

If there are any glazes on the disc, remove them by rubbing it with sandpaper in a whirling motion.

When doing this step, use the brake pad grease to lubricate the back of the pads.

2. Servicing the drum brakes

The next part is the drum brake, which is visible once you remove the wheel. Disassemble the drum to access the hidden parts of the drum mounted on the backing plate. 

Check your car’s manual to determine the specified thickness of the brake shoe liners. Replace them with new ones if any of the front or back brake shoe liners become thinner than recommended.

3. Inspecting the Hydraulic Brake System

Unlike other brake system components that you find close to the wheel, the hydraulic part is located under the bonnet.

Look up your manual to determine how regularly you need to replace the brake fluid.


Routine brake maintenance is not a complicated task; still, you need to be careful doing it. Be alert and cautious in both the assembling and disassembling procedures to ensure that you don't cause any damage. Read more about brake systems, including our main article on the different types of braking systems and how to detect worn brake pads. If you need to replace any parts, save time and money by using our auto part finder.

Author: Sam O.

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