Disc Vs. Drum Brakes

The comparison between drum and disc brakes, presented in this article, will help you make an informed choice between these two types of technologies.
With advances in automobile technology, braking systems have also been constantly evolving to offer precision braking facility in modern cars. These two prime technologies, developed over the course of time, are drum and disc brakes.

An efficient braking system ensures safety while driving and therefore, it is absolutely essential that you have the best ones fitted in your car.

When brakes are applied, vehicles come to a halt through application of friction against the wheels. Heat is generated in the process. The conversion of kinetic energy of the rotating wheels into heat, slows down the wheel. Braking efficiency depends on the braking force applied, weight of the vehicle, and area of application of the braking force. Another factor that largely affects brake functioning is how heat generated is dissipated, as this decides the life of the braking material.

Difference Between Disc and Drum Brakes

When making a distinction between these two types of brake technologies, the two main things to consider are the design and functionality.

Design and Functionality Differences
Drum brakes are called so because their major component is a round drum which rotates along with the wheels. Inside the drum, shoes are fitted that create the necessary braking friction when pressed against the drum. When you press down on the brake pedals through hydraulic force, it actuates the shoes to cause friction and bring the wheel to a halt.

The principle of disc brake working is the same as that of drum brakes but they are quite different in construction. It consists of a slim rotor and the braking element is in the form of a small caliper. This caliper houses two brake pads, which are placed on either side of the rotor, that brings the wheel to a halt by clamping. The movement of the brake pads is controlled by a hydraulic braking force, which is actuated by pressing down of the pedal. One major point of difference is that the rotor is exposed to air, leading to better heat dissipation and consequently, greater braking efficiency. Consequently, these car parts last longer.

Which ones are Better?
Disc brakes operate better than drum brakes because of the difference in dissipation of heat in both systems. While drum brakes get overheated due to the heat trapped inside the drum, the rotor cools faster and offers better braking ability. Today, most cars have a combination of both, in their functioning. Front wheels are fitted with disc brakes and rear wheels are fitted with drum brakes. There are high-end cars that come with disc brakes fitted in all wheels. Drum brakes are cheaper in general. A combination of the two braking systems helps in keeping the price of a car to be reasonable, while offering adequate braking ability. If you opt for disk brakes, there is a lesser risk of frequent problems.

The choice in fact is quite simple and opting for disc brakes is always the better decision as they offer better service in a wide range of driving conditions and also last longer.