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Disc Brake vs Drum Brakes

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 03/05/2023

Various factors determine how safe your vehicle is; this includes the type of brakes deployed in your vehicle. The brake type impacts the overall safety, handling, and performance of your vehicle. Additionally, the braking system also determines the impact of periodic maintenance your vehicle will need, and the durability in due course of time. Having an effective braking system also ensures the safety of the rider and offers a seamless experience, offering stability, control, and hold over emergency situations should one ever arise.

The type of brakes deployed in your vehicle can affect the performance, including the speed and acceleration. It is estimated that some braking systems are more efficient, resulting in better fuel efficiency, while others may be less effective, affecting the vehicle's overall performance. Disc brakes and drum brakes are the two conventional braking systems used in bikes, cars, and trucks. The key distinction between them lies in the way they operate and the different advantages they offer.

Difference Between Disc & Drum Brakes

Disc brakes traditionally use metal rotors; these rotors can rotate along with the wheel and use a calliper that holds the brake pads. Further pressure is applied to the rotor to slow down the vehicle. Disc brakes are considered more effective in comparison to conventional drum brakes, given the advanced stopping power. They also fade less than the drum brakes under heavy use.

Advantages of Disc Brakes

  1. Stopping power: Disc brakes have more efficacy when it comes to stopping power in comparison to drum brakes. This is especially true in conditions of high-speed and heavy braking.
  2. Lesser fading: Disc brakes are less prone to fading or losing effectiveness under heavy use compared to drum brakes.
  3. Durable: Disc brakes are known to have a longer lifespan as opposed to drum brakes. They are also less likely to wear out or need replacement.
  4. Better handling: Disc brakes provide better handling and stability while braking, especially in emergency situations, which improves the overall safety of the vehicle.
  5. Easier maintenance: Disc brakes are easier to maintain compared to drum brakes and require fewer adjustments and replacements over time.
  6. Better heat dissipation: Disc brakes are better at dissipating heat generated during heavy braking, which helps to maintain their effectiveness and longevity.
  7. Increased performance: Disc brakes can also improve the performance of the vehicle, such as its speed and acceleration, as they are more efficient than drum brakes.

Disadvantages of Disc Brakes

  1. Higher cost: Disc brakes are generally more expensive than drum brakes, both in terms of initial cost and maintenance.
  2. Complex design: Disc brakes have a more complex design compared to drum brakes, which makes them more difficult to repair and maintain.
  3. Increased weight: Disc brakes are generally heavier than drum brakes, which can negatively impact the overall performance and handling of the vehicle.
  4. Compatibility issues: Disc brakes may not be compatible with all types of wheels and suspension systems, which can limit their usage and increase the cost of installation.
  5. More frequent maintenance: Disc brakes may require more frequent maintenance compared to drum brakes, such as pad replacements and brake fluid changes.
  6. Initial "bed-in" period: Disc brakes may have an initial period of reduced effectiveness until they have been properly "bed-in" or worn in

Drum brakes, on the other hand, use a drum-shaped component that rotates with the wheel and two brake shoes that are pushed outwards by hydraulic pressure to press against the inner surface of the drum to slow down the vehicle. Drum brakes are less expensive, but are less effective, have a shorter lifespan, and are more prone to fading under heavy use compared to disc brakes.

Advantages of Drum Brakes

  1. Exceptionally Reliable: Drum brakes feature a simple and sturdy design, which makes them supremely reliable. This is especially true in harsh weather conditions, such as mud, dust, or rain.
  2. Cost Efficient: Drum brakes are comparatively cheaper in comparison to manufacturing and maintaining disc brakes. This makes them a more cost-effective option for budget vehicles.
  3. Simplistic design: The design is fairly straightforward, making drum brakes easier to install, repair, and maintain.
  4. Ideal for heavy-duty vehicles: Drum brakes are tailored to handle heavy loads in heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, buses, and trailers.
  5. Ample stopping power: Despite their simple design, drum brakes have ample stopping power, making them an effective braking system for vehicles.
  6. Less fade: Drum brakes have less fade, which means they maintain their stopping power even after repeated heavy use, compared to disc brakes.
  7. Versatile: Drum brakes can be used in various applications, including automotive, industrial, and agricultural vehicles.

Disadvantages of Drum Brakes

  1. Reduced stopping power: Drum brakes are not as powerful as disc brakes, and require a longer distance to come to a complete stop, especially when under heavy braking conditions.
  2. Overheating and fade: Drum brakes are more prone to overheating and fading, especially under repeated or heavy use, which can lead to reduced braking performance and a decrease in overall brake lifespan.
  3. Poor performance in wet conditions: Drum brakes tend to perform poorly in wet conditions, such as rain or snow, due to the reduced friction between the brake shoes and the drum.
  4. Limited ventilation: Drum brakes have limited ventilation, which can lead to heat buildup and brake fade.
  5. Noisy operation: Drum brakes tend to produce more noise than disc brakes, especially when in need of repair or maintenance due to worn or misaligned brake shoes.
  6. Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance is required to keep drum brakes functioning effectively, including periodic adjustments and replacement of brake shoes and springs.


The usage of disc brakes is common in modern-day cars and bikes. Mostly, to keep the cost down, disc brakes are deployed at the front-end and drum brakes are used in the rear wheels. Better brakes improve stopping time and reduce the probability of accidents. But it should never be assumed that it immunes the vehicle or its driver/rider from any road mishaps. So, it is important to invest in an insurance policy to ensure better protection and safety.

Find the best bike insurance policy for your vehicle, and rest assured, knowing that you are well protected. Compare two-wheeler insurance policies on Tata AIG now and make a smart decision for your future.

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