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How come Drum Brakes are different than the Disc Brakes?

Both drum brakes and disc brakes are widely in use today. Although the disc brakes evolved from the existing drawbacks of drum brakes, they have not been able to completely replace the latter in modern cars. Most used cars in Spartanburg, South Carolina will generally have a front-disc-rear-drum combo where the front wheels will come with disc brakes and the rear wheels will house drums as this alignment enables automakers to keep the prices affordable and cap off operating costs. Here, we explain the basic difference first and then elaborate on why you should not be worried if your car still has drum brakes on its rear wheels.

The difference between drum and disc brakes

Drum brakes get their moniker from the fact that the braking mechanism is placed inside drum-like structures which are attached to and rotate along with the wheels. Once the driver applies the brakes, a fluid carries the signal to the drum brake where a set of brake pads shoot out to rub against the rotating drum. The generated friction brings the attached wheel to a standstill and the heat emitted during the process is distributed over the entire drum.

Disc brakes work on the same principle but the involved mechanism differs here. There is no drum but a slim rotor rotates along with the wheel that is partly encapsulated on one side by a caliper. Again, when the brakes are applied, the signal comes over the brake fluids and two brake pads coming out of the caliper clamp the rotor to halt the entire wheel. The heat is spread over the rotor and the surrounding air picks it up.

Performance-wise, disc brakes are more efficient and durable. Drum brakes suffered from excess heating as the system did not receive enough air contact. This led to the thinning of the drum due to wear and tear and high-speed stops were not suggested. Also, disc brakes are known to give lower breaking distance ratings than drum brakes where you can bring your vehicle to a halt within a matter of a few meters. Ideally, in any buy here pay here dealership, you should be looking for a car with disc brakes on all the 4 wheels.

Why buy the front-disc-rear-drum combo then?

Most of the braking burden is shouldered by your car’s front wheels. The rear ones only aid their hard work. Disc brakes are expensive and it does not make financial sense to equip all wheels with it. Plus, modern drum brakes are mechanically more advanced. You will receive the same level of safety as all-four-discs while driving at moderate speeds. While buying buy here pay here trucks or cars, ensure that the brakes have received their due servicing and the tires are in proper condition. The type of brakes does not matter on vehicles made in this century.


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