These key brake components could need replacing to make sure your vehicle can safely stop

If your car’s brakes make loud screeching noises, feel soft when pressing the pedal or shake when applied, it’s probably time to replace them. But there’s more to replacing your brakes than changing out the shoes or pads.

Vehicle brakes have various components that could be causing the problem you’re experiencing. They may need to be replaced along with or instead of the shoes and pads. 

But before a more detailed look at these brake components, professional and home mechanics need to remember that they must be careful with brakes. For decades, automobile part manufacturers used asbestos in some brake components, like shoes and pads. The material can expose mechanics to fine dust that, if inhaled, can lead to the deadly and rare cancer mesothelioma.

Automobile parts are just some of the many items over the past century that manufacturers made with asbestos, which has injured and killed millions, according to So take precautions when working on brakes.

Here are some brake components that need maintenance or replacement throughout the life of your vehicle.

Brake pads and shoes

These are the most common parts of the brake assembly that require the most attention. The pads are used along a disc to stop wheels and the shoes are used in drums to stop wheels. Your vehicle might have both or only one. The cost of getting the brake shoes replaced by a mechanic could cost between $250 and $300, and the pads could cost about the same, according to estimates published by Yahoo Finance.

Brake discs and drums

Pads and shoes need discs and drums to effectively stop a car. So it’s important to regularly maintain and replace the drums and discs, also known as rotors. Signs of warped discs or worn down drums are evidence that replacements are needed. While the mechanic’s price of as much as $600 to do the job may seem high, these parts aren’t likely to need replacing often.

Brake master cylinder

One clear sign that your brake master cylinder is bad is when your brakes no longer work. It’s a crucial part of your brake system that pressurizes hydraulic fluid to be sent to your vehicle’s calipers and wheel cylinders. Other signs the master cylinder is going bad include leaks and poorly responding brakes. A mechanic likely would charge more than $500 for the repair.

Brake calipers

Signs of bad brake calipers are a lot like the signs of brake pads. That’s because they work closely together. The calipers are the housing for the pads. The calipers are engaged after the brake pedal is depressed and brake fluid drives a piston in the caliber to force the pads against the discs. Some signs of bad calipers are a squealing noise when brakes are applied, a pull to one side when braking, and uneven wear of pads. The calipers can cost as much as $130 each to replace.


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