If you’re like most Dodge Grand Caravan drivers, you have a fairly good sense of how its internal systems work. You do your best to care for your van by performing routine maintenance and staying aware of potential problems. Your braking system is one of the most critical in your vehicle, so knowing its basic components and how they function can help you spot issues sooner. From explaining the master cylinder to answering burning question such as “When do you need brakes?”, this brief guide should help you learn more about your Grand Caravan’s brakes.
Your Vehicle’s Brakes: Physics in Motion
If you remember high school science classes, you may remember some basic principles of physics. What your Grand Caravan’s braking system does is convert motion energy into heat when stopping the vehicle. It starts when you press the brake pedal, activating a lever that pushes onto the master cylinder. This is where hydraulics play an important part: By sending fluid down a network of pipes, the master cylinder helps multiply force from the pedal and transmits it to the brakes themselves.
After this fluid leaves the master cylinder, it ends up in smaller cylinders that terminate near your brakes inside eash wheel hub assembly. Thanks to this pressure, your vehicle’s brake pads can stop the vehicle. With drum brakes, they push against the inside of the drums. Most vehicles have disc brakes, so the brake pads are connected to calipers. When the brake pads clamp on both sides of each spinning metal rotor, the vehicle comes to a stop. A few vehicle models use disc brakes in the front and drum brakes on the rear.
Common Signs of Brake Failure
Your Grand Caravan’s braking system is expertly engineered, but even it can’t withstand wear and tear indefinitely. Depending on your owner’s manual recommendations and your driving habits, it’s wise to inspect your brakes and consider replacement every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. To answer the question “When do you need new brakes?”, you should also pay attention to other important signs:
• Squeaking, grinding or scraping sounds
• A spongy or mushy sensation when pressing the brake pedal
• Bouncing, pulsing or vibrating when applying the brakes
• Vehicle pulls to one side while stopping
You should also visually inspect your brakes at regular intervals. You can do this when you change your oil or performing other types of routine maintenance on your Grand Caravan. If you miss all these other signs, your dashboard will also tell you when it’s time to check or change the brakes. When that happens, you must act quickly.
Choosing High-Quality Brake Parts
It goes without saying that you need to purchase the best quality brake components you can find. The key is finding a trustworthy retail parts store. Look for a supplier with a proven track record of quality, service, convenience and value. Finally, select a dealer with experts on staff. Whether you’re looking for brake pads and fluid or Dodge Grand Caravan oil filters, their advice can provide useful and ensure your Grand Caravan delivers the performance and safety you need.