Brake ServiceNews & Events

What Is the Difference Between Disc and Drum Brakes?

Before we get into the differences between disc and drum brakes, it’s important to know that many automobiles these days have both. Your automobile likely has discs on the front wheels and drums on the rear wheels. Even if it doesn’t, both systems work effectively to stop your automobile and come with their own set of advantages. Let’s learn more about disc and drum braking systems.

How Each System Works

Disc and drum brakes are named after their primary parts. The disc brakes on the front wheels or all four wheels of your car, truck, or SUV have a disc that is also called the rotor. When you press on your brake pedal to stop your vehicle, brake fluid is pushed into the calipers. The calipers press the brake pads against the discs (rotors) and this action slows and stops your automobile.

Drum brakes use a round drum inside the wheel that is small. Shoes are found inside each drum, and when you depress the brake pedal to stop, the shoes press against the drum sides to slow down the wheels of your car, truck, or SUV. The drum brake shoes and the disc brake pads take a lot of abuse, and they need to be replaced at regular intervals to ensure you don’t run into brake trouble.

Advantages of Each System

One of the greatest advantages of disc brakes is how easy it is to inspect them. You can get down on your hands and knees and check the brake pad depth without having to remove the tires or wheels. Disc brakes also self-adjusts to increase its stopping power. If your vehicle is equipped with drum brakes, the system can easily be converted to disc brakes if you’d prefer them.

Drum brakes are not without their own set of perks, however. The number one advantage of a drum braking system is it’s cheaper to replace and all brake systems must be replaced eventually. The drum braking system uses fewer parts to stop your vehicle, so maintaining and replacing those parts leave more money in your bank account. This might be a concern to you if you live paycheck-to-paycheck.

System Maintenance

Whether you have disc brakes, drum brakes, or both, the key to reducing repair costs is properly maintaining your car, truck, or SUV’s brake system. This includes following the service guidelines in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and having the brakes inspected if they squeak, squeal, or grind. Other signs of brake trouble include a soft or vibrating brake pedal and increased stopping distances.

Let Midwest Auto Care give your brake system the once-over to make certain everything is a-okay. You can set up an appointment by calling us today.


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