What Are the Functions of the Brake System?

by Steve Johnson
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Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from Fotolia.com

A brake system is one of the most important parts of a vehicle. No matter what kind of vehicle people use, an efficient braking system will always be of utmost concern to ensure safety.


The main function of the brake system is to decelerate or decrease the speed of a vehicle. By stepping on the brake pedal, the brake pads compress against the rotor attached to the wheel, which then forces the vehicle to slow down due to friction.


A brake system absorbs the kinetic energy of the vehicle mechanically or electrically in order to decrease its speed. In mechanical brakes, friction converts the kinetic energy into heat. In electric brakes, an electric current forces a magnet to apply the brakes.

Brake Booster

Vehicles have power brake boosters in order to boost or enhance the pressure applied in the brake pedal. They minimize the pressure needed from the driver to decelerate or stop the vehicle.

Antilock Brake System (ABS)

The anti-lock brake system modulates the brake pressure along the wheels, allowing the driver to control and maintain speed, as well as to stop the vehicle in the shortest possible distance.

Hand Brake

Also known as the parking brake, the hand brake is a mechanical lever that allows the driver to put the vehicle into an emergency stop in case of a brake failure. It is totally separate from the vehicle's hydraulic brake system.

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