One of the biggest changes happened in the 70’s when disc brakes came out, virtually replacing drum brakes. Technology has proven that all brakes work on a heat and friction ratio to bring vehicles and trailers to a stop. Disc brakes are considered far superior to drum brakes for trailers on every level.

How They Work

Drum brakes are prone to a condition called brake fade. This is caused when trailers are traveling down a steep incline and the brakes are repeatedly used, or several hard stops. Disc brakes will continue working for much longer under these conditions than drums. Because of the construction of the drum brakes, they are also know to collect water easily, causing performance issues. However, a lot of people can’t afford disc brakes due to the price.


Since disc brakes have only been around since the 70’s, they are more expensive than drum brakes. Trailers require brake systems that are larger than most trucks, cars and SUV’s that are sold. The average cost of disc brake systems run from the mid hundreds per brake to thousands of dollars. Drum brakes run from around one hundred per brake to the thousands, depending on if you want hydraulics or electric.

Drum brakes require a special technique that must be used for each stop to prevent brake fade or failure if drum brakes are used. While you should use this technique while using disc brakes as well, the chance of failure is less common. Disc brakes are far superior to drum in all areas except cost, which, in the end, will work itself out.

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