The two most common types of automotive brake systems are drum brakes and disc brakes.

Drum brakes have been stopping vehicles for much longer than disc brakes, but as horsepower and vehicle speeds grew in the 1960s and ’70s, the need for more stopping power prompted automakers to transition more toward disc braking.

Disc brake systems provide superior stopping power to drum brake systems, due in large part to a disc brake system’s ability to dissipate heat more efficiently than drum brakes.

Drum brakes are a less-expensive option than disc brakes and are comprised of two parts—the brake drum and the brake shoes. They are often used as rear brakes on vehicles that don’t require four-wheel disc braking for safety or performance reasons.

There is less friction and heat build-up in a disc braking system which is also comprised of two primary components—the brake rotor and the brake caliper, which holds the brake pads. This heat-dissipating design helps reduce brake fade. The open design allows water to spin off via centrifugal force for improved wet-weather braking. And most car and truck enthusiasts prefer the look of disc brake systems and factor in appearance as part of their disc brake conversion projects.

You can learn more about the differences between drum brakes and disc brakes by watching this Summit Racing Quick Flicks video now: