Disc vs drum brakes. Let me start by saying that disc brakes have a greater stopping power than drum brakes
overall. I should tell you that drum brakes on today's vehicles are more effective than the disc
brakes of 20 to 25 years ago.
Drum brakes were the original braking system and disc brakes were introduced in the 1970s
as a method to improve braking.
The brake shoes and other necessary mechanisms are contained inside a round metal compartment
resembling a drum. The drum spins together with the wheel and when braking force is applied the brake
shoes rubs on the inside of the drum and reduces the speed of the vehicle.
Rotating together with the wheel is a slim rotor and there is a stationary caliper that contains brake
pads on both sides of the rotor. When braking force is applied there is a
piston or pistons in the caliper
that clamps the rotor like a vicegrip and reduces the speed of the vehicle.
Dics brakes are better initially because there is more surface area on the rotor for the disc pads
to hold. Some high performance vehicles have rotors that are over 14 inches in diameter and calipers with
up to eight pistons each in the front wheels.
Drum brakes are not designed for heavy braking over long distances as heat builds up inside the
drum causing it to lose it's effectiveness but the moving parts in the disc brakes receive open air so they are
The dust from the braking process remains in the drum untill they are opened and cleaned and that
could work against your brakes.
disc brakes have less moving parts and are easier to service but they are more costly to make when
compared to drum brakes.
Anti lock brakes has been installed on both types but
carbon ceramic brake has been an improvement to only the disc brake.
Disc brakes just look better and the rotors can be customized, the name of the auto manufacturer such as
Porsche or the brake manufacturer such as Brembo or Wilwood can be placed unto the caliper as it remains stationary
while the wheel spins. I just love to see a large cross drilled caliper design. So to conclude my explanation
on disc vs drum brakes I will end with the following question.
The question is why would manufactures use drum brakes if disc brakes are better?
Most of the braking force is required at the front wheels of the vehicle. Considering that drum
brakes are cheaper to make and many small and economical vehicles don't have the need for a vast amount
of braking force, the drum brake will the suitable for the rear wheels of those vehicles.