Become an expert on all things motoring! This dictionary of terms and phrases will help you understand exactly what things are, what gets done and why.

Definitions starting with B

  • Brakes

    Brakes stop or slow down your car when you push the brake pedal. A rotor is squeezed by a brake pad and friction does the work. Brake pads wear down and need replacing from every day use, and worn brake pads cause damage to the rotors if you wait too long to replace them. It is important to get your brakes checked on a regular basis.

  • Balance Shaft Belt

    The balance shaft belt moves the balance shaft, which minimises vibration in the motor. It is most often found in four-cylinder engines and attaches to the crank shaft and the balance shaft. The balance shaft belt can wear out and need replacement, like any kind of engine belt.

  • Ball Joint

    A ball joint connect the wheel hub to the rest of the suspension, and help steer your car. It’s a flexible ball and socket joint that allows for the wide range of angular motions necessary to safely maneuver your car. Over time it wears out and develops unsafe play and noise.

  • Battery

    The battery allows you to use the electrical parts in your car, such as the starter motor, radio or lights. The battery powers them when the car is not running, but the alternator takes over when the engine is on while the battery recharges. Batteries may fail because of broken terminals, low electrolyte levels, or corrosion. All batteries need replacing when they eventually lose their charge.

  • Brake Booster

    The brake booster increases the force on the brake master cylinder using engine vacuum and pressure. If you struggle to push the brake pedal or you hear a hissing noise when operating the pedal, you may have a bad brake booster.

  • Brake Drum

    The brake drum provides a surface for the brake shoes to press against. This will stop or slow the car. These drums rotate with the wheels and axle and are usually made from wear-resistant cast iron.

  • Brake fluid

    Brake fluid transfers pressure to the braking system from the brake pedal to make the force to slow down or stop your car. This fluid is designed to operate in the extreme temperatures and protect your brake system. Over time it breaks down and becomes contaminated, so the system needs to be flushed every two years.

  • Brake Hardware

    Brake hardware is a set of springs, screws, bolts, and caliper brackets that hold your brake system together. Each system needs a unique hardware set to work properly.

  • Brake Lines, Hoses, and Connections

    The brake line transfers power from your foot to the brakes using hydraulic fluid. When you apply the brakes, master cylinder fluid is transferred to the brake calipers, which then clamp down on the rotors. Brake lines will often last as long as your car, but the hoses and connections can perish or become damaged causing hydraulic fluid leaks.

  • Brake Rotor (or Disk)

    The brake rotor is a brake disc attached to the wheel of your car. A brake pad is pressed against the rotor to create friction, causing your car to stop or slow down. Rotors can be damaged if you continue to use your brakes without replacing your brake pads when they wear down.

  • Brake Shoes

    Brake shoes are used in a drum brake system. They are made of a hardwearing, heat-resistant material to cope with a high degree of friction when applied to a brake drum. Through everyday use, these brake shoes wear out and should be replaced.

  • Brake Pads

    Brake pads are vital to slowing down or stopping your car. These pads are fixed to a caliper that clamps onto the rotor when you brake. Although the brake pads are made of a hardwearing, heat-resistant material to cope with friction, they wear out over time and must be replaced.

  • Brake Pedal

    The brake pedal is located in the driver’s footwell beside the accelerator (and clutch in manual transmission vehicles.) It controls the amount of pressure applied to the brakes. You should get your brakes checked for problems if the pedal pushes right down to the floor, becomes hard to push down, or makes noises when pushed.


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