Now, to the maintenance part for as you have seen there are actually many parts that form the whole brake system which is imperative that you keep in tip top shape as possible for safety’s sake. Any fluid leak should be inspected or at least have it looked at by a mechanic to ensure they are not a danger. Worn out hoses and brake lines can suddenly burst (the pressures are immense if you were only able to see the small brake pads in how they stop your vehicle) leading to sudden loss of pressure preventing them from functioning. There is however a safety feature on brake systems which is now standard which is a dual line system which divides the wheels into two brake circuits. The driver’s side wheel is linked to the one at the rear of the passenger’s side and the other way around. This allows braking even if one of the brake systems fails and as last resort, there is still the mechanical parking brake (check out the post on how to stop without power assisted brakes for if not done properly you could lock the wheels and totally loose control).
The brake disks and drums also have to be inspected for they eventually develop deep grooves that have to be re-milled in a process called re-facing wherein the rotor/disk and drums are machined to make the surfaces flat removing the deep grooves that occur naturally. The break pads are replaced even if they are new so as to avoid making new grooves on the newly re-faced parts. Wheel cylinders get stuck or springs leak (which usually happens if they get submerged in water, say in a flood) causing them to bind which leads to smoking wheels for the brakes don’t release and the wheels have a hard time turning. Some problems can be repaired and some may have to be replaced but with proper maintenance and care you should be able to have brake trouble free use of your vehicle providing for your transportation needs for times to come.