Brake disc

Brake drum

As a car owner, you need to have in-depth knowledge about the working of your car. You don’t have to call your mechanic for every small issue that arises. One of the things that you must know is the difference between drum brakes and disc brakes. Is disc brake the same as drum brake. If the two are different, what are some of the things that separate them? And which one is better between disc brake and drum?

In this article, we are going to break down the differences between these two common brake technologies. But, why should I bother two get this knowledge? This information will come in handy when you want to do brake rotor service. You will be in a perfect position to tell the price of for brake and rotor replacement service.

Chapter 1. Which is Better, Drum Brake or Disc Brake?

To start us off, we have to put these two brake technologies on a scale.

We can then decide which one is better between drum brake and disc brake.

Are brake discs more efficient than brake drums?

Generally, we can confidently state that brake discs are better than brake drums.

What makes the discs superior to the drums?

One of the reason is friction and heat management.

The braking power of disc brake sis nit affected by heat or friction.

You will apply very little force on the brake pedal.

During the wet conditions, the water will wash the disc pad instead of reducing friction.

This means that the performance of the brakes will remain the same.

On the other hand, the performance of the brake drum tends to get worse with an increase in temperature.

You will need to apply more power on the brake pedal in order to achieve the desired braking force.

For disc brake, your car will respond immediately once you step on the pedal.

You will get instant results.

For the drum brakes, you are likely to experience a delay.

This explains why drum brakes are rarely used in competitive car races.

Another reason why disc brakes are better is the lifespan.

Disc brakes are likely to last longer than the drum brakes.

They don’t get warped easily as the drum brakes.

Drilled brake discs and vented brake discs provide a powerful mechanism for heat and friction management.

Excess heat can escape through the holes.

Chapter 2: What is the Disc Brake?

Brake disc

A disc brake is a type of brake that has calipers whose primary role is to squeeze a pair of brake pads against a rotor.

As the brake pads squeeze the rotor, the friction force is created.

This force slows down the rotation of the axle on which the wheel is attached to.

Here is a video that explains how a brake disc works.

With time the brake pads of disc brakes start fading off.

Whether it is a ceramic disc brake pad or a semi-metallic brake pad, it won’t serve you permanently.

You will have to be replacing disc brake pads after a specific period.

Are disc brakes found in all the wheels?

Most cars have front disc brakes while rear wheels have drum brakes.

However, high-performance cars have rear disc brake components.

Another practice that you need to do apart from disc brake replacement is disc brake skimming.

The service entails removing the topmost surface layer of the brake pad.

Usually, this surface is warped up hence there is need to give the brake pads a face lift.

It is a cheaper alternative to the brake disc replacement cost.

I want to upgrade my rear brakes from brake drums to the disc brake system.

What should I do?

Here you will do a brake disc conversion process.

In most cases, a ceramic brake pad is preferred during a disc brake conversion.

Chapter 3: What is the Difference Between a Brake Rotor and Brake Disc

Brake disc

Is a disc brake rotor the same as brake disc?

While the two seem to refer to the same thing, there is a slight difference between the two.

A disc brake system encompasses a brake rotor, a disc brake caliper and a pack of other components.

On the other hand, a disk brake rotor refers to a large flat and circular metal object that stops the wheel from moving.

This means that a brake rotor is within a disc brake system.

You need to do bot the brake pad and rotor replacement after a set period.

However, the brake rotor replacement cost may be slightly higher than the brake pad replacement cost.

Chapter 4: Are Drum Brakes Cheaper than Disc Brakes?

What is the price difference between disc brakes and drum brakes?

It is true that drum brakes are cheaper than disc brakes.

There are concrete reasons why the price of drum brakes is lower than the price of disc brakes.

One of the reasons is disc brake pads can last for longer than the drum brakes.

The second reason is disc brake deliver an instant and powerful braking performance than the drum brakes.

In short, disc brakes are more efficient than drum brakes.


From this article, you can tell the difference between disc brakes and drum brakes.

While the two have one goal, they have a different working mechanism.

Can I buy both disc brakes and drum brakes?

Yes, only that drum brakes will be relegated to the rear wheel.

If you are planning to buy disc brakes or drum brakes, use reliable brake kits manufacturers and suppliers.

Read More

  1. Pros and Cons of brake drums
  2. Are brake discs better?  
  3. Difference between disc brake and rotor