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Brakes on Used Cars

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 205

When purchasing a used car it is important to make sure everything is up to date, safe, and running correctly. One area in particular where cars can see a lot of wear and tear in is the brakes. Having a mechanic professionally examine the brakes before purchasing the automobile would be ideal, but not everyone buying a used car will have that kind of money or an opportunity to do so. That is why it is important to understand the basics of the braking system and to be able to do some on site troubleshooting on your own. First, let's examine how a braking system works.

The foot pedal uses two different kinds of forces, those of leverage and hydraulics. The leverage force is simple; the side of the lever that we push our foot down on is twice as long as the other side, therefore, the force that transfers to the hydraulics system in twice that force we applied, or 2F. That force applies the brake fluid into two cylinders which uses a hydraulic system to convert and multiple the forces to the master cylinder. The master cylinder is designed to deal with the majority of the problems that the braking system may face. This is why a leak is especially dangerous, because if the force isn't properly transferred the whole system can malfunction.

Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, here are some simple steps you can take in examining the brakes of the used car you wish to purchase:

Press down on the pedal Spongy brakes are a strong indicator that there is air in the brake lines, so see how they feel against your foot. How do they sound? A squeak is a bad noise and a grinding sound is even worse. Both indicate the brake linings are very worn and will need replaced. How far before hitting the ground do the brakes stop? If the car has power brakes it should not require excessive force and the pedal should stop a few inches before hitting the floor.

What happens when you brake? If the car turns to one side while braking there is likely a problem with the front disc brakes. Another problem with the disc brakes could be indicated if the steering wheel shakes when coming to a stop. If the whole vehicle gyrates when you stop then you will likely need to replace the shock absorbers if you decide to purchase this used car.

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Source: EzineArticles
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