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Brakes are very much like a computer... or like an automatic transmission. They all have hard parts and soft parts and none of them can operate correctly unless both hardware and software are in good working condition.
On the computer we have the keyboard, mouse and mainframe as some of the hard parts and, of course, the program disks are the software.
The automatic transmission has the pumps, converter and planetary gear set as some of the hard parts and the gaskets and seals become the software.
In automotive brakes the caliper, rotor and brake pads are the hard parts and the various rubber seals and boots are the critical operating software.
Unlike a transmission, which requires some detailed diagnosis for all but fluid leaks, a simple visual inspection, in most instances, can tell you whether each component of the brake system is doing its job.
A hydraulic leak in the brake system renders it almost inoperative and can easily be detected by the trail of dripping fluid on the caliper and the floor. But many brake failures are not caused by hydraulic leaks.