The brakes, shock absorbers and tyres make up what is known as the safety triangle: their efficiency guarantees the optimum braking time, distance and trajectory.
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An instant and precise response by the braking system is an essential pre-requisite in ensuring your vehicle stops safely. That’s why checking wear and tear and servicing your brakes regularly is fundamental for the safety of both driver and passengers, but also for pedestrians and other road users.
It is important to ensure that the main components of the braking system are always operating efficiently.
Never underestimate the importance of checking:
The braking system plays an essential role in the vehicle’s active safety. The term active safety refers to all equipment and structural elements on the vehicle involved in preventing accidents from occurring, while passive safety refers to any system or instrument used to protect vehicle occupants during a collision with another vehicle or an obstacle. The aim of the passive safety features is to reduce the negative consequences of an accident once it has occurred.
The entire process begins with applying pressure to the brake pedal: this action allows us to regulate the braking progressively, so that we can reduce driving speed, maintain a constant speed when travelling downhill, or stop the vehicle completely.The force exerted on the pedal is transmitted to the brake pump piston to create friction, thereby ensuring:
For safety reasons, the braking system is split into two separate circuits, but action on the brake pedal is directed on to all four wheels.Respecting ergonomic standards is essential to ensure brakes work safely and comfortably.
Nowadays, electronic systems are available to assist the driver in the case of emergency braking: if the driver presses the brake pedal quickly, the BAS (Brake Assist System) understands that this is an emergency situation and, via the ASR pump, instantly increases braking power, maintaining constant pressure on the system until the vehicle has completely stopped. The immediate result is a reduced braking distance, and the emergency braking is indicated on the outside of the vehicle, with the automatic activation of the direction indicators.
The brake pump slows us down too!
All vehicles fitted with hydraulic braking systems are equipped with a brake pump, technically known as the master cylinder, which converts the physical pressure applied to the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure. When the brake pedal is pressed, the brake servo amplifies the energy exerted, so that the force produced is around 100 times greater than that generated by the pressure we apply.
Brake pads and discs are the main elements of the braking system. An essential pair of components, tried and tested on every vehicle, for optimum response during both ordinary and emergency braking.The technology used to construct the friction material is the true heart of the brake pad. During the design phase, the brake pad components are designed and optimised to ensure maximum performance. A single material, used for multiple applications, cannot guarantee the same quality standards as the complex mixtures developed during the original brake pad design phase: the mixture of braking materials must have a friction coefficient which is suitable for the specific type of braking system and must ensure efficient braking, guaranteeing the same results at every operating temperature.To create a product which meets all applicable safety requirements, it is crucial that the following elements, which make up the mixture, are combined in a balanced manner: resins, rubber, talc, metals, carbon fibres, glass and ceramics.The number of ingredients in an original mix, linked together with thermosetting resins, may be more than twenty.
The brake pads (one pair per disc) are part of a calliper system which, during braking, exerts pressure on the disc, creating the friction required to slow down or stop the vehicle.Brake pads and discs are the main elements of the braking system. An essential pair of components tried and tested on every vehicle, for optimum response during both ordinary and emergency braking.
Original brake discs are comprehensively checked and balanced with maximum precision, ensuring the complete absence of troublesome vibrations, decreasing braking distances and guaranteeing long-lasting safety and reliability. Each individual component is marked with a code to ensure the total traceability of the product.
A drum brake is made up of a rotating cylinder integral to the braking system (known as the "drum") and one or more blocks made from friction material which exert force on the cylinder: these are known as shoes. The brake holder plate has a cylinder which, when under pressure, presses the shoes against the drums.
Contrary to what you might think, drum brakes achieve deceleration levels which are fairly high compared to those of a calliper and disc system. Drum brakes, once de-energised, do not generate friction, which may occur in disc systems. This is because brake pumps do not have the capacity to recall the pistons from the calliper to their housing, therefore resistance occurs, although minimal and for a very short period of time, caused by the pads which remain pressed on the disc.
The flexible brake pipes transmit the pressure applied to the brake pedal, distributing it into the system via the brake fluid in the form of hydraulic pressure, required to slow down or stop the vehicle. The pipes connect the brake pump with the calipers or the drums, in order to transmit the hydraulic pressure to the pads or shoes. These are subjected to strong dynamic stresses, but even in the most extreme conditions, they ensure the correct transmission of the hydraulic pressure, thanks to different types of resistance:
The brake pipes influence your car's braking performance: a brake pipe which is too old may require a braking distance which is dangerously higher than that required to stop your vehicle safely and avoid a collision. For this reason, it is a good habit to get into to have your brake pipes checked once every 2 years.
To protect the braking system components, it is especially important to use the correct brake fluid, a crucial element in the correct operation of the braking system and which allows the braking assembly itself to be activated. To ensure maximum vehicle safety and maintain efficient braking, it is important not to underestimate some of the important parameters of this fluid, which must remain constant over time.A brake fluid must offer a range of characteristics, all of which are crucial to driver and vehicle safety:
The brake fluid must have sufficient lubricating power to ensure the smooth functioning of the mechanical components without causing wear or corrosion of the metal parts leading to the formation of rust in the system.
Petronas Tutela Brake Fluid TOP4 is a brake fluid with a synthetic base for hydraulic disc and drum braking systems and servo-controls in cars, commercial vehicles, industrial vehicles, scooters and motorcycles (where an NHTSA 116 DOT 4 control fluid is required), with specific characteristics:
Petronas Tutela Brake Fluid TOP4 holds the following international technical specifications: DOT4, FIAT 9.55597, CONTRACTUAL TECHNICAL REF.No.F001.A93.
Fiat Group servicing plans set out the replacement of the brake fluid once every 2 years.
Petronas Tutela Brake Fluid TOP4 and all other PETRONAS brake fluids have been designed and manufactured to meet the strictest safety standards, and exceed the minimum permissible thresholds set out by international legislation for a range of parameters.
Petronas products is demonstrated by their C.T.R. (Contractual Technical Reference); a type approval, unique to each product, which is issued on the basis of tests carried out directly by Fiat Group Automobiles. The Contractual Technical Reference certifies the exclusive type approval of each one of our products on behalf of the Fiat Group.
To ensure you choose the products recommended for your vehicle, simply follow the guidelines in your owner handbook. Respecting the servicing plans and using the correct lubricants, fluids and original spare parts will extend the reliability and safety of your vehicle over time.
To stop your vehicle, you must first of all react and then brake.
The stopping distance, or total stopping space, is the distance travelled from when you register the danger to when you stop: this distance includes the total reaction space plus the braking space. Driving speed, of course, plays a key role: the higher your speed, the greater the space travelled during your normal reaction time. In addition to this, another element which has an intrinsic effect on stopping space is the road surface conditions: on a wet surface, braking distance increases by up to 25-30%. Finally, we must always consider the efficiency of our braking system: if the system is not operating in perfect condition, we run higher risks in any circumstances.
For each model of car and its relative brake disc, the manufacturers establish a minimum thickness, below which the component must be replaced. This MinTh, or Minimum Thickness, is an important warning sign and is printed on the side of the disc. If its thickness reaches the minimum indicated level, the brake disc will no longer be capable of dissipating the heat produced by the friction with the brake pads, and therefore of ensuring braking within the same stopping distances as when the system is operating efficiently.
To stop your own body at a speed of 20 mph requires around the same force as it would take to lift your own body weight, multiplied by twenty: not even the strongest athletes could cushion a similar quantity of energy. But your seat belt can! When fastened, your seat belt increases your probability of survival in the case of an accident by ten times.
To ensure perfectly efficient brakes and safe driving conditions, it is recommended that you have the wear and tear of your brake pads and discs checked regularly, to verify the efficiency of the entire braking system. Make the most of your seasonal Check Ups and set off with peace of mind. The wear times for brakes can vary, depending on several factors:
To maintain the durability of your brake discs, you should have the pads regularly checked. This is also important because if the pads wear out, there is a risk that the disc may be scratched, causing irreparable damage.
When travelling downhill, use engine braking as far as possible, to avoid the system overheating.
Should you need to replace your rear brake pads, it is recommended that you replace the front ones too, to ensure your braking is always optimal.
Check the efficiency and the level of wear of your brakes once a year at an Authorised Service Centre and ask for Mopar® original spare parts: only original spare parts maintain the same efficiency as components on a new vehicle.
For comprehensive servicing, Mopar® Vehicle Protection offers you the pre-paid service packs available late summer 2014, for scheduled servicing as well as the replacement of the parts most subject to wear.The Mopar® Vehicle Protection servicing plans protect you against unexpected maintenance costs and possible price increases, as every plan includes a fixed discount for the duration of the plan on original used spare parts.
The brake system wears out slowly and progressively.
With the exception of accidental brake pipe damage, it is impossible for the braking system to stop working suddenly. Very often, without realising, we get used to driving with worn brakes, adapting our driving style to compensate for braking system defects.
We brake earlier or press harder on the brake pedal, correcting side movements with small corrections on the steering wheel, we get used to vibrations and whistling.
If your vehicle is not fitted with a wear indicator, pay attention to the following important warning signs:
Don't wait until you find yourself in an emergency: as soon as you spot the first symptom, visit an Authorised Service Centre where you will be guaranteed the use of original spare parts designed especially for your car.