There are two types of brakes – drum and disc. The disc brakes are the newer type. Many cars have front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. Even some of the newer trucks come with drum brakes. Drum brakes use brake shoes and drums; disc brakes use brake pads and rotors.
Some common first signs of a brake problem include a squeal or a pull on the car to the right or left when you press the brake, a vibration in the brake when you depress it or having to press the brake pedal further to the floor to get the vehicle to stop. There are a variety of reasons for these malfunctions ranging from worn, dusty or dirty brake pads or shoes and rotors and drums to low brake fluid. If worn brake pads and shoes are left to deteriorate, additional damage can occur to the brake rotors and drums. Rotors and drums become damaged when they are worn too thin or become warped. Dirt can cause scratch marks (also called scoring) in the rotors and drums which also affects their effectiveness.
Brake pads and shoes are the first elements used in stopping your car. Keep them in good repair so your car is able to stop. When the brake pads or shoes are thin and worn, they damage the rotors or drums.
Rotors and drums become worn when thin brake pads and shoes press against them. Rotors can also become overheated causing them to become glazed or they can become dirty or dusty.
Your brake fluid may occasionally need to be replaced. Brake fluid is actually a moisture magnet. When brake fluid becomes contaminated with moisture (such as water from rain and snow), it affects the ABS (anti-lock braking system) solenoids that are immersed in the fluid. These solenoids do not react well with moisture. One of the properties of brake fluid is that it has a very high boiling point. If there is moisture in the brake fluid and the boiling point is lowered, the brakes more easily overheat. This may cause the rotors and drums to warp and results in a soft, unresponsive brake feel. Replacing the brake fluid keeps the brake tight and responsive.