People tend to think more about engine power when they consider how their car performs, but stopping power is equally important – in fact, from a safety point of view, stopping power is even more important. That means you need to consider the type of brakes you have, and the basic types are drum and disc.
Drum brakes have all components contained within the drum. Arched components expand outward to generate friction, slowing the drum and car. Disc brakes use rotors, pads, and a caliper, which is a type of hydraulic clamp. Pressing the brake pedal moves the caliper against the back of each brake pad, which then slows the rotor and your vehicle.
Drum brakes are far cheaper than disc brakes, so you'll still find them used in economy cars and trucks. If you have them, here are just five reasons to replace them with disc brakes.
1. Superior Heat Dissipation
The major issue with drum brakes is that heat builds up very quickly – after all, every component is housed in the drum. When friction is created, heat is produced, and that heat will have nowhere to go. Unfortunately, brakes become less effective at slowing the wheels as they become hotter.
2. Superior Wet Weather Performance
Drum brakes tend to collect water where the brake shoes make contact with the drums. This is an issue since that water prevents the brakes creating enough friction for strong stopping power. Disc brakes tend to be a little more effective because centrifugal force whips water away from the disc to keep it dry.
3. Lower Weight
People often forget to consider how heavy their brakes are, but weight actually makes a huge difference to handling and acceleration. Drum brakes are almost always heavier than disc brakes, so replacing them should result in a boost to overall performance.
4. Self-Adjusting Design
When people say that disc brakes are self-adjusting, they mean that the caliper can slide from side to side – this means it moves to the right place every single time the brakes are applied. Drum brakes are not self-adjusting, so they'll require adjustment as friction wears down surfaces.
5. Easier to Fix or Upgrade
Disc brakes can be inspected without removing the entire wheel, so servicing and inspection is generally pretty straightforward. That's not the case with drum brakes. They are integrated into the hub or wheel – once the drum brake wears out or suffers serious damage, you'll usually need to have the whole hub or rim replaced.