Just be thankful you aren't using the same kind of brakes the first cars used. You'd have to yank a handle every time you needed to stop. Of course, those of us whom cut our teeth driving VWs on the hills of San Francisco know what it's like to use a hand lever to stop. I can't tell you how many times I had to pull up the handbrake in my old Squareback to keep myself from rolling into the car behind me while I struggled with the clutch.
And, as I recall that trusty Squareback had disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear—a configuration that's still quite common today. I learned to work on cars with that old Volkswagen and I was able to pick up a lot of good information on the disadvantages of brake shoes vs. brake rotors.
Drum Brakes or Disc Rotors?
Both styles stop cars using friction, which causes heat. With disc brakes, calipers squeeze brake pads against spinning brake rotors, just like hand brakes squeeze the rims on bicycles to bring them to a stop. On drum brakes, brake shoes press against the inside of spinning drums to stop the vehicle. The question to ask is what are the benefits of upgrading to disc rotors?
Much of the answer goes back to the connection between friction and heat. Unfortunately, the laws of physics say that you can't have the first without causing the second.
In a drum brake system, it is very hard for the heat to dissipate. In other words, they just don't cool down easily. With disc brakes and rotors this problem isn't so bad. By virtue of the fact that brake discs are an open system and exposed to airflow, they stay cool more easily. This greatly reduces and often eliminates brake fade.
The Benefits of Brake Rotors
Products like Baer rotors, Centric rotors and others take this advantage even further. Quality, high-performance disc brakes today use drilled and slotted rotors to dissipate heat more efficiently. They also keep brakes cleaner. You'll see this as you scan brake reviews.
Since we're on the topic, it's a good idea to check out a wide range of brake rotor reviews as you focus in on the best cross drilled rotors for your vehicle. You'll find that users are more than willing to share their experience when they sit down to write a Powerslot rotors review, for example.
If you shop performance cars today, you'll find that they feature disc brakes on all four wheels. Products are on the market now that allow drivers to upgrade their vehicles if they're running with drum brakes in the rear.