Disk Brakes vs. Drum Brakes – Difference in Power, Maintenance, and Cost?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertDisk Brakes vs. Drum Brakes – Difference in Power, Maintenance, and Cost?
Amelia Daniel Moore asked 5 months ago
I've been reading various opinions about disk and drum brakes, with some sources claiming disk brakes provide greater braking power while others advocate for drum brakes due to self-energization. I'm puzzled about which type truly offers more braking power and why. Additionally, I'm curious about which brake type requires more pedal force and the reasoning behind it. Lastly, I'm seeking clarity on which brake system demands more frequent maintenance and incurs higher costs. Can you provide some insight?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 5 months ago
Hey there, Amelia! Great questions! Let's dive into the details of disk vs. drum brakes, and why I think it could be worthwhile one way or the other:
  1. Braking Power:
    • Drum brakes are often said to apply more force due to self-servo effect. However, they suffer from inconsistencies and brake fade. Disk brakes, though slightly less powerful, offer more consistent performance, cool down quicker, and are less prone to pulling to one side.
  2. Pedal Force:
    • The force required at the pedal depends more on whether the brake system is power-assisted or manual, as well as factors like the master cylinder piston bore size. Neither system inherently requires more force.
  3. Maintenance and Costs:
    • Drum brakes may last longer between replacements due to more friction material volume. However, they often need more frequent adjustments and maintenance. Disk brake components require precise machining, making them less tolerant of errors but easier to service.
Additional Factors:
  • Resistance to Corrosion: In regions with road salt use, drum brakes may exhibit better resistance to corrosion as most moving parts are internal, unlike the exposed components of disk brakes.
Remember: The choice between disk and drum brakes depends on your vehicle type, usage, and maintenance preferences. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team