Pedal pads for different automobiles
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Operate the vehicle with your feet: The pedals
The vehicle's pedals are the central control instruments for acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle. There are at least two and a maximum of four pedals on a vehicle.
Overview of a vehicle's pedals
As a minimum, a vehicle is equipped with a brake pedal and an accelerator pedal. The term "gas pedal" is commonly used, but no longer applicable to electric vehicles: It refers to the foot pedal used for accelerating the vehicle. These are the only pedals needed in electric vehicles and vehicles with an automatic transmission. Vehicles equipped with a manual clutch transmission also feature a clutch pedal. The clutch that is connected to the clutch pedal disengages the engine from the gearbox, thus allowing for a manual gear change. Finally, many vehicles are equipped with a pedal for the emergency brake, rather than the common handbrake. This is engaged by foot and released via a pull lever.
A pedal consists of a lever that is attached to the body. A panel is welded on its foot side, thus allowing for operation via the foot. An additional, small and heavily ridged rubber panel is also attached here to prevent slipping. At its pivot point, the pedal is simply mounted by means of a bolt. A return spring retracts the pedal to its original position after each actuation. The pedal lever has an eyelet at its upper side. Various cable pulls or guide rods are attached to this to serve various functions. The pedals are located in the vehicle's interior and thus protected from atmospheric influences. The forces foot pedals must be able to withstand are defined. Pedal defects are very rare, as they hardly suffer any unnatural wear.
Modern vehicles, however, may actually transmit commands to the vehicle electronically rather than mechanically. In this case pedals are equipped with potentiometers that transmit their signals to the control unit. In addition, an electromagnetically generated opposing force creates a resistance to allow for the necessary sensitivity when using the pedal. Nowadays, these types of pedals are mainly found in electro-mechanically supported braking and acceleration pedals used in hybrid or electric vehicles.
A pedal that is about to break is sure to result in a tragic emergency situation. In this case, the vehicle must be brought to a stop as quickly as possible. The trip to the next repair shop is only possible on a tow truck. The most common cause of defective manual foot controls in a vehicle are torn cable pulls. Grinding noises are another defect that occasionally occurs in the pedals. These develop when the lubricating grease in the bearing pin is no longer sufficient. This can quickly be remedied by greasing. The retaining bolts are held in place by pins, which can sometimes become loose over time. In this case, the function of the foot pedal can also easily be restored with just a few hand movements.
Oftentimes, however, the return spring can fail. It can lose spring force over time. Luckily, this is usually noticed quite quickly, long before it can lead to any type of dangerous situation. Thus, if the pedal begins to feel "spongy", the return mechanism should be checked. A breaking or tearing spring may indeed result in a dangerous situation. Replacement of pedals A vehicle's pedals usually outlive the car's life. Yet, if they do fail, the pedal can be removed and replaced relatively easily. Each pedal is attached to the body by just a few screws. When replacing the pedals, it usually makes sense to also replace the cable pulls. Electromechanical pedals, however, are considerably more expensive than traditional, purely conventional pedals. But these pedals are also designed in such a manner, that their life will last the entire useful life of the vehicle. Pedal accessories The most serious wear and tear on pedals occurs at the non-slip mats. These can either partially tear or even fall off completely. The accessories trade offers numerous replacement options, with which the visual appearance and the safety of a pedal can be fully restored. A single cover costs upwards of 5 euro. Spare part accessories can also be used to achieve an interesting visual improvement of a car's interior. These include, for example, chrome pedal covers.