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Adjusting the brakes

A typical braking system uses disc brakes at the front of the car and drum brakes at the rear. Read more

Bleeding the brakes

Most car manufacturers recommend renewing the hydraulic brake fluid every 18 to 24 months. Read more

Renewing disc-brake pads

It is vital to know when disc-brake pads need replacing. Some makers state a minimum safe thickness of 1.6mm, others 3.2mm. Read more

Checking and renewing brake cables

Handbrake cable layouts vary from car to car, but have only a limited range of types of component. Read more

Replacing a master cylinder and servo unit

If a master cylinder is leaking replace it. The cylinder is usually mounted on the bulkhead separating the engine and car interior. It may be fitted with a vacuum servo unit. Read more

Checking the brake light circuit

As well as being a legal requirement, it is also an essential safety measure that your brake lights work correctly. Any faults in the brake lights are usually easily traced. The circuit itself is a simple one, controlled by a switch operated either directly by the brake pedal or hydraulically by the increase in pressure in the brake pipes. Read more

Adjusting a disc handbrake

Most cars are still fitted with drums on the back wheels with the handbrake operating directly on the brake shoes by a simple mechanical linkage. Read more

Replacing a handbrake cable

The handbrake on most cars is a mechanical linkage of rods and cables, operated by a lever on the car's floor or dash. Over a period of time, the linkage wears - the cables become slack, or the pivot points and linkage pins become badly grooved, allowing slack to build up. You can compensate for wear until the handbrake adjuster won't take up any more slack, then you need to fit new parts. Read more

Fitting new metal brake pipes

Checking the condition of your car's brake pipes is a job that is all too easy to forget because the pipes are mostly hidden underneath the car. However, these pipes can deteriorate to the point where they start to leak, causing a dangerous loss of brake fluid and eventually partial or even complete failure of the braking system. Read more

Fitting new flexible brake hoses

The fluid in the car's braking system runs from the master cylinder to the brakes themselves mainly via rigid metal pipes. But there needs to be some flexibility in the system to allow the wheels to move in relation to the car body, whether for the purposes of steering or suspension. This is provided by fitting flexible brake hoses. Read more

How ABS works

One of the most unnerving things that can happen in motoring is that you brake and one or more of the wheels locks up. This has two possible effects. It can make the car slew to one side or, if the car happens to skid in a straight line, the steering becomes useless and you lose all directional control. Read more

Looking for leaks in the brake system

A spongy feel or increased pedal travel as you apply the footbrake could indicate a leak or air bubbles in the hydraulic brake system. Read more

Fitting a brake light warning system

Brake lights are a vital warning signal to other road-users and a legal requirement, so you need to make sure they are always in working order. You should check them every day but, because this is awkward to do on your own, they are often checked only rarely if at all. Read more

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