Drum Brakes vs Disk Brakes: Which one is best?

The two major kinds of brakes available are drum and disk brakes. Both of these brakes have their own pros and cons.

What is a disk brake?

Disk brakes are present in most vehicles nowadays. They are usually mounted on the front axle and sometimes on the back one as well. To stop a vehicle, a car disk brake utilizes a caliper which is fitted with brake pads.

Disc brakes are usually used in passenger cars but since they have stable performance, when it comes to high speed and brake resistance, manufacturers have started using them in commercial vehicles as well. There are two types of disk brakes- opposed piston type disc brake and floating type disc brake. The opposed piston type disc brake type has pistons on both sides, while the floating type has pistons only on a single side.

Pros Of Disk Brakes

Following are some pros and cons of disc brakes:

  • It has large braking power and can stop high-speed vehicles
  • Since disc brakes are open, they have good heat dissipation which makes sure that they do not overheat
  • Again, since they do not retain any unwanted material, they get saved from performance degradation

Cons Of Disk Brakes

  • Disk brakes are costly to install which increases the overall cost of the vehicle
  • The brake fluid needs to be changed often
  • A disc brake that does not have ABS has a high chance of skidding
  • Even a slight entry of air in the master linder can lead to a failed disc brake

What is a drum brake?

Drum brakes are a traditional style of break that is not very common these days. These brakes are only used on the rear axle. Like disc brakes, drum brakes do not use brake pads as the friction material. Instead of a caliper, a vehicle with a drum brake system has a wheel cylinder with pistons. Some people wonder how do drum brakes work? The wheel cylinder present in these brakes pushes the brake shoes against the inner side of a spinning drum. This contact halts and stops the brake drum and wheels from spinning.

Pros Of Drum Brakes

Following are some of the advantages of drum brakes, followed by some disadvantages:

  • Drum brakes are less expensive as their manufacturing costs less
  • They require less force to apply brakes
  • As compared to the reconditioning of the calipers on disc brakes, wheel cylinders are easier to recondition and pads replacement is easy.
  • Drum brakes use the parking brakes without any extra space

Cons Of Drum Brakes

  • Drum brake mechanism involves high heat dissipation which leads to overheating resulting in slight expansion of the metallic parts
  • Since they are closed, they can collect unwanted materials which can lead to reduced piston performance
  • There are a lot of parts which means there are higher chances of failure
  • The high friction and extreme heat decrease the life of most parts

How Do Drum Brakes Work?

Both drum and disc brakes are used in different types of cars. Nowadays, disc brakes are mounted on the front axle, while drum brakes are present at the back axle. Disc brakes are a better choice but you cannot completely avoid drum brakes. Since they are easy to maintain and affordable as well, they become a solid option for long term use. Disc brakes, however, have a better performance.

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