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What is The Difference Between Brake Pads and Brake Shoes?

When it comes to discussions about braking systems in cars, a person may have heard mechanics speaking about brake pads and brake shoes.

While brake shoes essentially perform similar functions to brake pads, they are not the same thing.

The way brake pads work is that the pads are pressed together by a caliper against a rotor disc and is thus called a 'disk brake', meaning that the pads that press up against the rotor actually generate the friction that is needed to make the car come to a stop.

Brake shoes, on the other hand, are a crescent-shaped piece of metal with one side that is rough, in order to help create friction. Brake shoes are part of a drum brake system and are found inside of a drum-type brake, where they help slow down the car's wheels when brakes are applied.

Drum brakes and brake shoes are actually an old-fashioned braking system and are becoming less common in the manufacture of newer vehicles, however some models of vehicle still use drum brakes on the rear wheels due to their affordability.

The pros and cons of brake shoes

Drum brakes with brake shoes are much cheaper to manufacture than disc brakes and have a greater friction contact area than disc brakes do. They also have a built-in self energizing effect that requires less hydraulic pressure to bring a vehicle to a halt.

However, while brake shoes and the drum brake system are cheaper to install, they may not last very long. Friction and heat can make the shoe material wear out quickly and would have to be replaced more often than brake pads might be.

The pros and cons of brake pads

Metallic brake pads are longer lasting than brake shoes but are less malleable and heavier. They do help to protect the rotors for longer as they are in the open and trapped dirt and grit can easily fall off or get washed off, whereas with brake shoes if the dirt gets trapped inside the drum, it would have very little means of being removed and would wear the brakes down a lot faster.

If you believe that you need a brake service performed, we invite you into our auto repair shop today!

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