The most important element for a vehicle’s safety and performance is its braking system. They are essential for both the car’s occupants and other drivers’ safety. 

They are a crucial element that can prevent fatal collisions. Drum brakes and disc brakes are the two main categories of brakes. In this post, we examine the controversy around drum brakes vs. disc brakes and how they function in an emergency.

What Are Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes?

Drum brakes and disc brakes are the two most popular types of brakes in the market. Currently, both are utilized in autos.

The friction concept is the same for both of these brakes. Their effectiveness and design are what set them apart.

To stop a vehicle, one must apply friction to a wheel that is turning. You transform kinetic energy into thermal or heat energy when you brake. This generates heat while essentially bringing the car to a stop.

Disc Brake

Modern cars more frequently use disc brakes because they are a more recent invention. These were first presented by Jaguar in 1953. They are frequently found on the front of most automobiles and in high-performance vehicles.

These brakes operate on the same frictional principle as drum brakes. They do, however, feature a far better open-air design and a more potent braking system.

The rate at which this heat is dispersed is the main distinction between drum brakes and disc brakes.

Mechanics of  Brakes Work

In this case, the parts are not enclosed in a drum but rather are left open to the elements. A rotor and a calliper are the two major components of a disc brake, which slows down the wheels. The wheel’s hub is where the rotor is fastened.

There are two brake pads inside the caliper, one on each side. The hydraulic fluid under pressure from the brake pedal causes the brake pads to slide inward and press on the rotor, slowing down the wheels as a result.

Drum Brake

Disc brakes are older than drum brakes. They are the first braking system of the “in-tire” variety. Simple handbrakes were all that were used before to this.

In 1900, a Maybach had the first drum brakes, which were patented two years later. They were commonly utilized in early vehicles and quickly gained popularity. Cars, motorbikes, scooters, and large vehicles all employ these brakes.

Mechanics of Drum Brakes

Drum brakes get their name from the fact that their parts are housed inside a rotating drum that spins with the wheels.

When the brake pedal is depressed, a pair of “shoes” inside the drum press against the drum. The wheels slow down as a result of friction.

In order to slow down the car, the brake shoe finally presses up against the drum when you depress the brake pedal, which is accomplished by the steel cable in the brake line applying pressure to the wheel cylinder.

Advantages of Disc Brakes

The open-air design is the disc brake system’s main benefit. As a result, it doesn’t tend to overheat, which lowers the likelihood of fading.

  • A disc brake has better-stopping power. Even at high speeds, they can effectively halt a moving car.
  • Since they are open to the air, disc brakes are less likely to overheat and fail.
  • Disc brakes maintain their cleanliness, and their parts resist rusting. 

Disadvantages of Disc Brakes

  • The cost of manufacturing disc brakes drives up the cost of a car.
  • Disc brakes have higher maintenance and replacement expenses. Additionally, it takes more expertise to service them.
  • More frequently should be spent replacing the brake fluid. Failure to do so would compromise the brakes’ functionality.
  • The main cylinder’s air intake could result in braking failure. Therefore, regular maintenance is required for these brakes.
  • To avoid wheel locking while abruptly applying the brakes while traveling at a high speed, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) is required. 

Advantages of Drum Brakes

The more traditional drum brake is still frequently employed in automobiles, bikes, scooters, autos, and large vehicles. Here are some of their benefits.

  • Drum brakes are incredibly affordable. The manufacturing costs are low and the components are readily available. Thus, the entire cost of the car is decreased.
  • They are easy to replace and service since they have older, simpler components.
  • Drum brakes have historically made excellent parking brakes. An automobile cannot be kept in the parked position using disc brakes. Design modifications are necessary for a disc brake to accommodate the parking brakes. To allow this, more room is required for the disc brake.
  • These brakes can be applied with minimal force.

Disadvantage of Drum Brakes

Additionally, drum brakes have their own set of restrictions. Here are some specifics.

  • Under intense braking circumstances, the drum brake system is prone to fading. We refer to their “fading” as a loss of efficiency. All of the drum brake’s parts are housed in a metal drum, which causes them to heat up quickly. Less friction is produced by heated brakes, which lessens their effectiveness.
  • The drum brake is made up of various components. The brakes could malfunction even if one of these components quits working.
  • Due to their greater exposure to heat and friction, drum brake parts are subject to more wear and strain.
  • The performance of the brakes can be hampered by unwanted items that are easily caught in the closed system. Rust may result from this as well. 

Which type of brakes drum or disc is more effective?

The question of whether disc brakes or drum brakes are superior is more complicated despite their relative advantages and disadvantages.

In a point-to-point comparison, disc brakes are more efficient. There are a lot of high-end, mid-range, and non-performance automobiles on the road that have disc brakes on all four wheels.

Many automobiles currently on the road are fitted with both brakes. Manufacturers provide front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. This is due to the fact that the front wheels of a car account for 60% to 90% of its stopping power.

This combined system has shown to be more cost-effective and suitable for meeting the requirements of vehicles, particularly autos. Furthermore, since its invention, the drum brake design has seen a significant improvement. At the back wheels, the new drum brake system works well.

Therefore, you can purchase any of these individually or in combination. Both of these possibilities might function flawlessly. 

Brake maintenance for vehicles

After learning about the various types of brakes and their crucial function in maintaining safety, you can no longer dismiss the necessity to service and maintain them.

You might also be tempted to enhance your cars’ braking systems. The danger associated with your vehicle can change with each braking upgrade. For maximum effectiveness and safety, make sure you adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle’s braking system.

Please read: Alternator Function and Purpose


The braking systems in your car are vital to your safety, so don’t take them for granted. Understand the type of brakes you have and how they operate. It’s critical to perform routine brake maintenance.