car brakes

Automobile brake

Stop the car!

Step on the brake pedal and the car comes to a stop. But there is more to it than that.

  • depress the brake pedal
  • hydraulic
  • transfer energy
  • calipers on the brake pad on the wheel
  • wheels on road surface
  • friction

The typical brake system consists of disk brakes in front and either disk or drum brakes in the rear connected by a system of tubes and hoses that link the brake at each wheel to the master cylinder.

But what if it is icy or slick with rain?

  • no traction
  • anti-lock braking system (ABS) – a four-wheel drive system that prevents the wheel from locking through the monitoring of brake pressure. This gives the driver the ability to manage and control steering and stop within in a short distance. The goal of anti-lock braking is maximize braking power while simultaneously preventing the wheel from locking and skidding.
  • limited slip differential

Suspension – the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels.

  • leaf spring – used on cars up to about 1985 and almost all heavy duty vehicles. They look like layers of metal connected to the axle. The layers are called leaves, hence leaf-spring.
  • coil springs
  • torsion bars
  • shock absorbers
  • linkages


  • crumple zone

Engineering ideas

  • disk, drum, master cylinder, hydraulic, actuator

Learn more…