Are disc brakes better than drum brakes?

Do you know what type of brake assembly your vehicle has? Disc and drum brakes are the two most widely used braking systems in cars today, so you will have at least one or maybe even both of these. While drum brakes are the older sibling of disc brakes, they are still a valuable and commonly used part.


Most modern vehicles however have disc braking systems. Why is this? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article today. We’ll be overviewing both system’s major advantages and disadvantages so you know exactly what you expect at your next service or repair. 


Read below for more!

Natrad has a range of high-quality disc brakes and drum brakes from global leading manufacturers Mintex and Nisshinbo – just speak to our friendly staff to learn more.

Drum and disc brakes major differences

So, first things first, you need to identify what type of brakes you have in your car. Once you understand this, you’ll be able to make an informed decision going forward if and when any repairs arise. We’ll be covering the major pros and cons for each type so that you know exactly how you’ll be impacted when the time comes. If you’re unsure how to identify which brakes you have, feel free to speak to the specialists at Natrad who are happy to help! 


Disc brakes

Disc brakes are the first pick for modern cars and understandably so. As car systems continue to develop and become more complex, braking needs change with them. Disc brakes are good for this in a few ways: 


  • They require less effort in conjunction with modern hydraulics, so engaging the disc brake requires less effort and produces greater braking force.

  • The design of a brake disc makes them more efficient at dissipating heat. Sports cars and high-performance vehicles may also have ventilated disc brakes with holes or grooves, making them even better at preventing overheating.

  • Better performance during wet conditions as they can expel water effectively and are less likely to slip. This is probably not applicable to the everyday driver, but may be more important in four-wheel-drives, sports cars or those who frequently drive in harsh conditions.

  • Ease of installation will save you money in the long run due to reduced labour costs. The system is built very efficiently, so few components are easy to install and replace over time. 


This makes disc brakes sound great, but there are downsides too. Due to manufacturing costs, disc brake systems are more expensive than their drum brake counterparts. 

That’s why many car manufacturers opt to have 50% disc brakes and 50% drum brakes on a vehicle. Typically you will find you have rear drum brakes as most cars are front-wheel drive, so the disc brakes do most of the work at the front wheels.  

Disc brakes also use wearing components such as brake pads, so they will need to be replaced throughout the lifespan of the disc, which will eventually need to be replaced too. 


Drum brakes

A drum brake may appear antiquated as the older, more seasoned brake system. However, it comes with some distinct advantages too. These include: 


  • Less expensive to manufacture and replace, so maintaining the system is a bit more budget-friendly.

  • Some drum brakes require less effort to activate, so you need less force on the brake pedal, making for a slightly smoother ride.

  • Drum brakes are generally more durable and require less maintenance, so this falls back into your wallet. Other components like shoes are also better protected inside the drum so there is a lower chance of corrosion. 


Drum brakes do sport advantages, especially as cheaper options for rear wheels, but they are less common now for a reason. They are complex and have many internal components. Because of this, they are also more likely to overheat as they can’t dissipate heat as effectively. 

A modern drum brake is by no means a bad option, but it is also more suitable for less harsh conditions and daily driving. If you’re concerned about the performance of your brakes, speak to the specialists at Natrad for quality advice. 

Brake pads vs brake shoes 

As we mentioned earlier, drum brakes and disc brakes both make use of friction material to generate braking force. The braking system does this by using either brake pads (found in disc braking systems) or brake shoes (in drum braking systems). 

They are both wearing parts so they will need to be replaced over time. In terms of which is better, they are both effective methods for the respective system they are used in. It simply depends on what type of brakes your car has.

Natrad has a range of quality brake shoes and brake pads, so you can rest assured you’ll receive a durable replacement part in your vehicle. 

What next? 

Now you know a bit about common braking systems, what next? If you’re experiencing brake problems, it’s imperative that you speak to a professional as soon as possible. Ignoring brake issues, even minor ones can lead to unsafe driving conditions or even accidents. 

Just talk to the friendly staff at Natrad to book your next service or repairs, we’re here to help! Our network of workshops across the country has access to a range of quality braking replacement parts so you can get back on the road safely.