Shear Brakes vs Disc Brakes: Which one do you need?

Brakes aren’t something you can fool around with, which is why when it’s time to replace them, knowing which type of brakes you need is crucial.

There are basically two kinds of brakes you can buy–shear brakes and disc brakes. In this guide, we will take you through the differences between them so that you can make the right choice when the time comes.

We will also lay out the pros and cons of each so that you can decide which braking mechanism is most worth your investment.

Don’t stop now–let’s dive right in and talk about these brakes.

What are shear brakes?

Shear brakes, also known as oil shear brakes, are known for smooth, quiet stops because of the way the brakes are cushioned.

When you apply the brake pedal, automatic transmission fluid is sheared between multiple friction discs. This is accomplished by the torque created when you press that pedal.

In addition to a cushioned deceleration, shear brakes tend to wear down slower than other braking mechanisms because that transmission fluid can absorb the heat generated by the friction discs, and eliminates it by passing it through the brake housing.

What are disc brakes?

When you want to stop and you have disc brakes, a brake pad is applied via a hydraulic system to the discs to slow–and stop–the rotation of the wheel.

More specifically, a set of calipers squeeze the disc with the brake pad until there is enough friction to stop the shaft, or axle of the wheel, from turning.

In large trucks and equipment, these brakes replaced the older drum brakes because they required 30% less space to stop.

There are two types of disc brakes you can get–Motor Mounted (MB) and Foot Mounted (FB).

Of these, the Motor Mounted brakes are the better choice for the following reasons:

  • They require less frequent adjustment.
  • They can be used with integral solid or ventilated discs.
  • They meet NEMA standards for electric-motor mounting.

The most typical maintenance on disc brakes involves replacing the brake pads when they have worn past a safe level, though ideally, you would replace them before that point to ensure no difficulty in braking.

What kind of brakes should you buy?

Here it is, the meat and potatoes of this guide. This question is probably why you’re here. We don’t want to disappoint, so let’s get down to brass tacks and help you determine which type of brakes will best meet your needs.

When should you buy shear brakes?

There is a situation for everything, and stopping is no different. If you find yourself nodding along to any of the following, shear brakes may be for you.

  • They have a lower cost per index.
  • They can fit several different shaft designs, including splined, step, and metric.
  • They’re great for difficult stopping and holding situations.

When should you buy disc brakes?

After the previous section, you might wonder why you should buy these brakes when shear brakes are so great.

There are some great things about this type of braking system in addition to what we already mentioned:

  • Like shear brakes, they can stop and hold. They’re also great for tensioning applications.
  • Brake pads are easy to replace yourself.

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