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Disc brake 

All modern cars have disc brakes in the front and most also have disc brakes in the back.  Some heavy trucks and basic models still use drum brakes in the back.  Front brake pads usually last 50k to 100k and the rear disc pads will last 30k to 60k miles.  In the disc brake system since the pads last so long, when its time to replace them we also need to replace the brake rotors.  In New England with the road salt from the snowy winters the brake rotors will develop substantial rust over time.  Back when brake pads only lasted 20k miles, the rotors would last the lifetime of the brake pads or even over several sets of pads. Now that brake pads are made of better materials and have an increase in pad life, brake rotors are usually in pretty tough shape when the pads need replacement and usually should be replaced at the same time. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drum Brakes

Drum brakes can be considered the forefather of the modern brake system and as late as 1969 cars were still built with four wheel drum brakes.  The brake shoes on modern cars will usually last well over 100k miles.  Some of the drawbacks of drum brakes are poor pedal feedback.  Which means it can be difficult to control the amount of braking.  Brake fade can occur when the drum brake wheel cylinder starts to get hot.  The drum brake has difficulties dissipating the heat from braking.

 

 

 

 

 

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Parking Brake


The parking brake is a totally mechanical or electrical system.  In the mechanical style a cable runs from the parking brake lever inside the car to the rear of the vehicle.  Some cars will have a lever and cam in the brake caliper which will apply pressure to the brake pads.  Others will have a separate drum brake setup inside the rotor for the parking brake, this works well but is expensive to repair.  The electric parking brake setup sends an electrical signal that moves a servo in the brake caliper that applies pressure to the brake pads, the only repair required with this style is sometimes the parking brake signal wires go bad.