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How do brakes work?

All drivers know that to stop a vehicle, you press the brake pedal.  But how does the pedal make the vehicle stop?  Brake systems slow and stop the vehicle by applying pressure to rotating brake discs and/or brake drums, which are attached to each wheel.

Vehicles with disc brakes.

On vehicles with disc brakes (which is the majority), there is a metal disc called a rotor.  When the brakes are applied, the brake pads are forced against the brake rotor, which will slow or stop your vehicle.

Vehicles with brake drums.

The brake drum fits over the brake shoes.  When the brakes are applied, the brake shoes are forced against the inside of the brake drum.  This causes the brake drum to top rotating, which will slow or stop your vehicle.

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