Home > Disc Brakes vs Drum Brakes: What’s the Difference?


Disc Brakes vs Drum Brakes: What’s the Difference?

The braking system is a very important part of your vehicle. It also faces a lot of normal wear-and-tear and requires routine service. Keep reading to learn more about how your brakes work, the difference between disc and drum brakes, and when you should have them serviced.

mechanic installing disc brake on vehicle

What are Disc Brakes?

Newer vehicles usually have a disc brake system. Disc brakes are more common than drum brakes, but some vehicles use both braking systems. These brakes can be found on one or both axles, depending on the vehicle. Disc brakes consist of three main parts: the rotor, caliper, and brake pads.

When you step on the brakes in your vehicle, the caliper causes the brake pads to squeeze the rotor. This creates friction which then slows the vehicle. The pros tend to outweigh the cons when it comes to disc brakes:


  • More stopping power/shorter stopping distance
  • Better performance in rain and snow
  • Less likely to lock up during heavy braking
  • Easier to service
  • Self-cleaning
  • Less grabbing/pulling
  • Consistent performance due to better heat management


  • More expensive to replace/repair

What are Drum Brakes?

Drum brakes also use a hydraulic pressure system, but the parts involved are a bit different from disc brakes. This style of brakes is found on the rear axle only. Drum brakes consist of a round drum, pistons, and brake shoes.

When you press the brakes, brake fluid forces the pistons to push into the brakes shoes. The brake shoes then press against the drum, which is next to the wheel, and this creates the friction that slows the wheel.


  • Less expensive to repair/replace
  • Function better as parking brakes


  • Less stopping power
  • Requires cleaning
  • Heat retention causes inconsistent performance
  • Less reliable performance in rain and snow

Brake Service at Custom Complete Automotive

There are many factors that determine how often your brakes need to be serviced. The general rule of thumb is to have your brakes inspected every 12,000 miles (or once a year). Call a professional right away if you hear unusual sounds (like grinding or squealing) or feel a jerking sensations when you brake. A lot of dark dust on your wheels, brake warning lights on your dashboard, and increased stopping distance are also indicators that your brakes need to be serviced.

At Custom Complete Automotive, we have over 40 years of experience working with brake systems on vehicles of all makes and models. To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

The Importance of Maintaining Your Car’s Brakes

While you may not know exactly how your car’s brakes function, ensuring that they work properly is essential in keeping you, your passengers, and other drivers safe. Keep reading to learn more about brakes, how they work, and why proper brake maintenance is imperative.

properly maintained car brake stopping vehicle

How do Brakes Work?

In order for a vehicle in motion to come to a stop, it must eliminate the kinetic energy. When a driver pushes down on the brakes, the car is able to use the force of friction to transform the kinetic energy to heat. When you step on the brakes, the hydraulic system in place multiplies the force of your foot on the brake pedal into enough force to stop the car.

Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes

Brakes are usually one of two types: disc brakes or drum brakes. Disc brakes are comprised of brake discs, calipers, and brake pads. Drum brakes are comprised of a brake drum and brake shoes. In most new car models, disc brakes are used for the front wheels and drum brakes are used for the rear.

Why is Brake Maintenance Important?

Maintaining brakes is extremely important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, safety is paramount when it comes to driving. Drivers need to be considerate of not only themselves, but all of their co-drivers and fellow passengers on the road with them. Not to mention, if a complication with your brakes goes unnoticed or ignored, this can eventually begin to cause damage to the other parts of your vehicle.

At the end of the day, having brakes that are up-to-date and properly functioning could be the difference between a close-call and an unnecessary tragedy. If you notice signs of failing brakes, you should take your car in to see a professional as soon as possible.

Maintain Your Car Brakes Today at Custom Complete Automotive

Brakes are an essential piece of safe driving. At Custom Complete Automotive, our trusted technicians are here to help when it comes to all auto repairs and maintenance. To have your brakes inspected, or to learn more about our auto services, contact us today!

4 Signs of a Failing ABS Control Module

An ABS, or anti-lock brake system, works to protect you. If your wheels were to lock when brakes were applied while you were driving, you could easily lose control of the vehicle. An ABS uses pressure modulation to effectively brake without locking your wheels.

ABS light on signaling maintenance is required

Why is ABS Important?

An ABS is important to help your car run properly. Anytime you brake, you put pressure on your vehicle. A good ABS relieves pressure and helps your vehicle to function at its best performance.

When you press on your brakes, the ABS employs anti-slip control. It tells your tires to transition from their standard rolling range into the brake slip range. As your tires go through this process, the ABS works to ensure that they stay in the optimal range at all times, regardless of how much braking force you apply. This keeps your tires rolling, and most importantly, you in control of the car. Your ABS works to keep you safe when you brake!

Signs of a Failing ABS Control Module

Since your ABS control module is so important for both your safety and your vehicle’s performance, it’s essential that is runs well. Check for these signs of a failing ABS.

  1. Unresponsive brake pedal. When you hit the brakes, does your car slow down? If it does not, your ABS is not functioning properly. If this happens, come to a stop as safely as possible and call your nearest automotive expert.
  2. Applying more force to achieve the same level of braking. If you drive every day, you may not notice if you have to apply more force to your brakes, as this is often a gradual progression. Inspect your car regularly and pay attention to how your brakes respond.
  3. Your ABS warning light turns on. This is a red flag that your ABS system is not functioning correctly. If you see the ABS light illuminated, contact your nearest automotive expert.
  4. Your brakes are locking. If your brakes lock, you are in danger of losing control of your vehicle and your ABS is in need of repair. Contact a professional as soon as possible.

If you notice any of these signs, contact us at Custom Complete Automotive today for assistance. Our experts are ready to help you get your ABS system back in shape and you back on the road as quickly as possible!

3 Causes of Brake Failure and When to Seek Repair

Next to your engine and transmission, your brakes are the most important part of your vehicle. Brakes failing while on the road can be extremely dangerous and can cause potentially life-threatening accidents. Ensuring your car’s brakes are functioning properly is an important service you shouldn’t ignore.

brake warning light on dashboard of vehicle

Warning Signs of Brake Failure

Your vehicle’s warning light should indicate that your brakes have started to go bad before they entirely fail. Other indications of brake failure include:

  • A grinding sound when you press the pedal down, indicating worn brake disks
  • Having to apply more and more pressure to the brake pedal to come to a stop
  • A vibrating sensation when applying the brakes
  • Your vehicle moving to one side when braking
  • A burning smell
  • A puddle on your driveway may suggest a brake fluid leak

What Causes Brake Failure?

  1. The most common cause of brake failure is loss of brake fluid. The fluid transfers the force you exert by pushing down on the brake pedal to the brake disks that slow and stop your car’s wheels. You can usually detect a leak before getting on the road because you’ll see it underneath your vehicle. If you notice a leak, do not drive until you get the leak repaired and the brake fluid replaced.
  2. Another cause of brake failure is a bad brake cylinder. The brake cylinder is the part of your braking system where the fluid gets compressed. A bad brake cylinder can cause your braking system to lose power.
  3. A part called the brake booster can also go bad. The brake booster takes the force generated when you press down on the pedal and amplifies it. If this part goes bad, the full amount of force to slow and stop your vehicle will not be generated.

If you suspect that you are experiencing brake failure while on the road, do not continue driving. Brake failure transforms your vehicle into a potential missile on wheels. Get to the side of the road as soon and as safely as possible and call for help.

Prevent brake failure and accidents from occurring by keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance at Custom Complete Automotive. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

4 Signs It May Be Time to Replace Your Brakes

Car trouble is never fun for anyone. One minute, everything’s fine, the next you may be facing hefty repairs or replacements for one of your vehicle’s most important parts: your brakes. Knowing when your brakes need to be replaced is key to effective and safe driving and may just save you both time and money down the road. Regular maintenance that includes a full point inspection can often let you know in advance if any of the key components of your car are wearing down or need replacement. Below are a few indicators it may be time to get your brakes checked.

brake pedal in vehicle

  1. Your safety light flashes on: A built-in safety feature in many newer model vehicles is the safety light that may indicate your brakes could use some attention.
  2. Squealing Brakes: One of the first indications that your brakes may need to be checked or replaced is the sound they make. If you stop at a stoplight and notice a squealing noise coming from under your car, it’s a good indicator that you may need to check your brake pads.
  3. A vibrating sensation: If you step on the brake pedal and notice a vibrating sensation, it could be an indicator that your brake pads are getting worn down and you may be due for a replacement.
  4. Grinding noise: If you hear a grinding, metal-on-metal sound when you stop your car, take the time to visit a trusted car repair company now rather than facing potentially costly repairs or replacements further down the road.

If you’re worried about cost-effective repairs or regular replacements, take a deep breath. Unlike regular recommended maintenance and oil changes, the brake pads on most vehicles that are operating correctly last for around 50,000 miles. Some cars require changes as frequently as 25,000 miles. For car-specific information, car owners should always refer to their specific model’s owner’s manual for estimates on how long their brake pads are expected to last.

Failure to properly maintain a car often means spending more money later. If the brakes on your vehicle are not properly maintained and regularly examined, costly repairs could be coming down the road. Save time and money by regularly scheduling maintenance services – including multi-point inspections – to get ahead of the curve now, and make sure your brakes have the stopping power that you depend on for your everyday commute. For complete car repair, inspection needs, and reliable service you can trust, contact us today.