Brakes: Braking Systems: Disc brakes & components
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Disc brake system

Summary
The primary components of disc brakes are: the rotor, caliper and brake pads.
Locations of Caliper, Brake pads, Rotor on disc brakes

Modern passenger vehicles are usually equipped with disc brakes on at least two wheels.

The primary components of the disc brakes are:

The rotor is the main rotating part of this brake system. It is hard wearing and resists the high temperatures that occur during braking. Its manufacturer will specify the minimum thickness for the rotor. Rotors can be of a solid construction or slotted. The slotted rotor is referred to as a "ventilated disc".

Rotor  
Rotor Disc brakes have rotors to dissipate heat so the brakes work efficiently. In high performance vehicles, the rotors are made from composite materials, ceramics, or carbon fiber; otherwise, they're made of iron.
Rotor close up

Some of these rotors have directional vanes, which means the disc can only be fitted to one side of the vehicle.
Caliper  
Caliper shown in place

The caliper straddles the rotor, and houses the disc brake pads and activating pistons. The caliper is usually bolted to the steering knuckle or, in the case of a non-steer axle, to a suspension component.
Brake pads  
Brake pads The disc pads are located inside the caliper. The pads clamp onto the rotor to slow or stop the vehicle. The disc pad consists of a friction material bonded to a steel backing plate.