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Types of Brakes in Cars

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 28/05/2024

From mere mechanical devices to technologically advanced systems, car brakes have come a long way. Most cars today have different types of brakes with different features and advantages. They are designed to make your journey safer and smoother by allowing you to stop or slow down your car effectively when needed.

As a car owner, it is essential to understand each type of car brake system and its working mechanism.

Keep reading to explore the various types of braking systems in cars, their functioning, and unique advantages and disadvantages.

Types of Braking Systems in Cars

The two main types of braking systems in cars are mechanical and hydraulic. Let’s discuss each in brief:

Mechanical braking system

As the name suggests, a mechanical braking system comprises mechanical parts that help transmit the force applied on the brake pedal to the brake drum/disc rotor. The primary components involved in a mechanical braking system include the brake pedal, drum/disc brakes, and mechanical linkages such as fulcrums, cylindrical rods, springs, etc.

It was widely used in automobiles. However, this system has now become obsolete since it is less effective. While most types of brakes in cars have evolved into regenerative or hydraulic, emergency or parking brake still works mechanically.

Hydraulic braking system

Modern vehicles use hydraulic braking system as it is more reliable and effective. This system uses hydraulic pressure to transmit the force applied on the brake pedal to the car wheels.

The hydraulic braking system comprises several parts working together, such as the master cylinder, brake callipers, brake lines, and brake pads. It generates a higher force than a mechanical system. Brake failure chances are also low in this system, which makes them more reliable.

Types of Automobile Brakes

Following are the types of automobile brakes:

Disc brakes

The disc brake system is widely used in modern cars. It comprises a calliper, rotor, and brake pads. In this system, the brake rotor is directly attached to the wheel and rotates with it. When you apply force on the brake pedal, the calliper squeezes the brake pads against the rotor. The friction slows down or stops the car.

The pros and cons of disc brakes are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
More reliable and effective in stopping your car during an emergency A bit complex to repair 
Their design allows for heat dissipation preventing brake fade  Their cost is higher than conventional drum brakes 
Easier to maintain or replace Involve high maintenance costs 
Work efficiently in wet conditions since the pads and rotor shed water  May produce a squeaking noise during the operation

Drum brakes

A drum braking system consists of a hollow drum, wheel cylinders, and brake shoes attached to the wheel. When you apply force on the brake pedal, wheel cylinders push the brake shoes against the drum’s inner surface. The friction generated makes the wheel slow down or stop.

The pros and cons of drum brakes are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
Less expensive than disc brakes  Less efficient in heat dissipation. This causes the drum to distort in heavy braking 
They have a longer lifecycle  Maintaining or replacing drum brakes requires more time and effort than disc brakes 
Wheel cylinders in drum brakes are easier to repair than callipers in disc brakes  Water accumulation in the drum can reduce the effectiveness of drum brakes during wet conditions 
Provide additional functionality by serving the purpose of a parking brake  The drum braking system can get jammed if not used for long periods 

Emergency brake

Emergency brake is also known as handbrake or parking brake. It is independent of the mechanical or hydraulic braking system. Emergency brake acts as a secondary braking system in your car to ensure safety during parking or an emergency situation where the main brakes fail. It is usually applied manually through a pedal, switch or a lever.

The pros and cons of emergency brake systems are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
Allows you to park your car on slopes  Their stopping power is less than the primary brakes 
Serves as an emergency braking system when the main brakes fail Emergency brakes tend to apply uneven braking force on the wheels 
Allows you to park your car securely on flat surfaces Adjusting or repairing the emergency brake system requires more time and effort than the primary braking system 
Regular use of emergency brakes helps preserve the primary brake system  Less effective when you are driving at high speeds 

Modern Brakes Features

As automotive technology continues to evolve, car manufacturers are adding new features to the braking systems to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers in critical situations. The following are the features that help enhance road safety:

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

The car may go skidding and drag down the road when you apply brakes suddenly. ABS is a safety feature in modern braking systems that prevents wheels from locking up when brakes are applied suddenly in critical situations. It uses sensors to modulate brake pressure and allows you to maintain steering control. ABS is especially useful on slippery and wet surfaces. It is a mandatory feature on all production vehicles in the country.

The pros and cons of ABS are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
Provides stability and control during emergency braking or on slippery slopes Maintaining ABS is costly  
Reduces the stopping distance by preventing wheel lock-up Repairing ABS is complex requiring professional know-how 
Allows you to control the steering wheel Upgrading your car to include ABS depends on its make and model and system compatibility 

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)

AEB is an advanced braking technology that helps prevent collisions through automatic braking in an emergency situation. It consists of sensor technologies like lidar, radar and cameras to detect collisions using real-time data. In case of a forthcoming collision where you did not take any action, the system activates your car brakes.

The pros and cons of the AEB system are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
Helps prevent collision or minimise losses  False activations 
Can be integrated with other safety systems like the Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system May not work effectively during bad weather conditions or high-speed situations 
Ensures the safety of all road users  Installation and maintenance are costly

Regenerative Braking

With more electric and hybrid cars hitting the road, a new technology known as regenerative braking has evolved. In this system, the car’s electric motor restricts the spinning of the wheels. It captures the car’s kinetic energy and uses it to recharge the batteries that power the motor. While most electric vehicles have hydraulic brakes, regenerative brakes perform most of the function of slowing down the car. You can simply push the brake pedal or remove your foot from the accelerator to allow your car to coast.

The pros and cons of a regenerative system are as follows:

Pros  Cons 
Enhance energy efficiency in electric vehicles  Less effective at high speeds or heavy braking 
Helps preserve the conventional braking system  High initial cost 

Wrapping Up

Now you know the different types of braking systems and how they work. Make sure you properly maintain your car’s braking system for you and your loved ones’ safety.

Also, don’t forget to get suitable four-wheeler insurance to protect your car from multiple risks. A car insurance policy comes in handy in tackling financial liabilities arising due to third-party damages or injuries or own damages.

At Tata AIG, you can avail yourself of the best car insurance plan that provides the protection your dream car deserves.

So, go get a suitable policy today and enjoy our seamless car insurance claim process.


Do cars have 2 or 4 brakes?

Every car has two front brakes and two rear brakes. Older cars usually have drum brakes at the front and rear. On the other hand, modern cars may have disc brakes on all four wheels or on the front wheels.

**What type of car brakes are best? **

Hydraulic brakes are the most efficient brakes when it comes to completely stopping your car.

**Which type of brake is commonly used in cars? **

The hydraulic braking system is the most commonly used braking system in modern cars.

**What are the 2 most common types of brakes? **

Disc and drum brakes are the two most common types of brakes. In addition to these, anti-lock brakes and emergency brakes also play a crucial role in cars.

What are the disc brake components?

Brake callipers, brake shoes, disc plates, master cylinder, brake fluid, brake pedals, etc., are a few disc brake components.

What are the types of mechanical brakes?

A mechanical braking system is used in the emergency brake and handbrake. It uses several components like fulcrums, springs, cylindrical rods, etc., to bring a car to a halt. Two types of brakes under the mechanical braking system include disc and drum brakes.

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