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Auburn Auto Repair

What is the Difference Between Brake Pads and Brake Shoes?

The difference between brake pads and brake shoes is an important one. They both serve similar functions, but their structures and locations are distinct.

What Are Brake Pads?

Cars have either disc brake or drum brake systems. Brake pads belong to a disc brake system. What this means is that they get squeezed together against a rotor disc, generating enough friction to stop the car. They get squeezed together by what's called a caliper. Brake calipers are the intermediary devices that slow the car's wheels, therefore generating the proper amount of friction.

Which Types of Cars Have Brake Pads?

Brake pads are the go-to mechanism for front-wheel cars, though are becoming less common as modern cars emerge on the market.

What Are Brake Shoes?

Brake shoes are part of a fundamentally different car anatomy system, called a drum brake system. The shoes are altogether more efficient, shaped like crescents with material on each side that is designed to generate the proper amount of friction to stop the car. They are housed inside of a drum that sits on the rear wheels. As the vehicle driver presses down on the brake pedal, the shoes exert force outwardly which generates force inwardly against the drum, slowing and ultimately stopping the car.

Which Types of Cars Have Brake Shoes?

All-wheel drive cars and rear-wheel drive cars, trucks and trailers have the drum-cylinder system with brake shoes. Like cars with brake pads, however, they are becoming less common with modern vehicles.

The Bottom Line

If you're choosing a bit of an older car, you can trust that either brake pads or brake shoes will keep your vehicle running smoothly and operational with regular maintenance. The systemic differences between the two are clear to be sure, and brake shoes are slightly more efficient, and particularly if you need brake system repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!

505 Washington St. Suite 3 Auburn, MA 01501 (508) 832-0900
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