Lets hear it for the under rated under appreciated drum brake! Lots of guys knock the drums and talk bad about them but heres what I say.
Drum brakes are better in my opinion because…
- drum brakes are smaller than disc brakes
- drum brakes don’t need a hydraulic system for activation though now they all are hydraulic.
- disc brakes at the rear axle of the car never reach their “self cleaning temperature”. So you have to change the brake pads of disc brakes quite more often than the brake pads of brake drums
- drum brakes are always dry, even if it’s raining (constant brake force)
- drum brakes are really simple
- no brake dust on wheels
But you say rick…
What about pedal feel?
Well drum brakes are self actuating so they have a great pedal feel. You need to adjust the drums so there is drag, if the wheel moves freely its too loose.
But drums are soooo heavy…
Drums are 3 times lighter than discs. Calipers are 4 times heavier than wheel cylinders, and the brake surface area of a drum brake shoe is 6 times larger than a disc pad.
But I like my cross drilled rotors…
There is a company that will drill your drums with all of the same benefits of disc brakes.
Well they just don’t last as long as discs…
I have got 50k miles on drums no problem, and if you need to get a few extra months out of a drum brake you can “trick” the adjuster and scrape by a while. or you can even rotate your shoes if the design allows sometimes getting an extra 10k miles from your shoes.
If drums are so great why dont big trucks use them?
Most big trucks use 4 wheel drums to this day.
What about mountains?
Downshift. That easy.
Relining shoes is an expensive propsition…
Well…Diy reline kits are an easy way to using the same brakes for a longer period of time. You can do the process yourself by buying an online brake relining kit or you can ask a technician to do the job for you. The process involves pulling the brake pads off the drum, and then covering the brake shoes with fresh friction material. Asbestos, wool or steel are commonly used to reline the old shoes, and most garages will buy the material in bulk to get a good deal. Internet-based relining kits are affordable too. OR I take my shoes to a shop that will reline them for a case of beer. They will use asbestoes also so they last longer.
If you get a disc brake too hot you will boil the fluid and warp the rotor, I have has a camaro barreling down a mountain pass standing on the brake pedal with smoke rolling out of the drums and once the cooled off they were as good as new. Try that with discs.
Heres to the drum brake! So lets give em a little respect.