Thunder Bay Auto & Truck Repair

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Battle of the Brakes: Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes

Did you know that every vehicle has two front brakes and two rear brakes? Automobiles made before 1970 tend to have drum brakes in both the front and in the rear. In contrast, cars after the 70s tend to have disc brakes on all four wheels or disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the back. The most prominent similarity between the two brake types is that they are both used in a hydraulic system, meaning they rely on brake fluid to work. They also have brake pads or brake shoes to create the necessary friction to stop when a driver applies pressure to the brake pedal. Now that you know the similarities, let's go over how they differ.



Disc brakes utilize a hydraulic clamp called calipers. They also include brake rotors and brake pads. Each disc brake has a brake pad on both sides that push against the metallic rotor when pressure is applied on the brake pedal. Disc brakes are proven to have the best stopping power over drum brakes, which is why they are preferred if you have a high-performance car. This is because it has a more efficient way of dissipating heat than drum brakes. Lastly, disc brakes are far easier to inspect, considering there is no need to take off the wheels.



Drum brakes are more traditional; they are enclosed within the wheel cylinder and have brake shoes that press out against the drum. Drum brakes have springs that retreat the brake shoes, which causes less drag. The one con to drum brakes is that they are more prone to brake fade (the loss of braking power over time from the accumulation of heat in the brake system). This type of brake is still used today but mainly in the rear brakes.


At Preferred Auto & Fleet Service, our certified techs can replace and repair both disc brakes and drum brakes. If you have any questions or concerns about your car's braking system, please do not hesitate to give us a call or visit today. We'll take good care of you and your vehicle, and you'll be back on the road safe and sound in no time!

725 May St N Thunder Bay, ON, P7C 3S1 (807) 622-1998
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