Difference Between Brake Pads vs. Brake Shoes

Many a time, people take their car breaks for granted, especially when they are working correctly. The brake system is an essential part of your vehicle since it keeps you and other road users safe. The debate on brake pad vs. brake shoe may get you overthinking. It is crucial to note that brake pad and brake shoes are different even though they perform a similar task. Ensure you read on this comprehensive guide that explains why the two are different, as well as how they both work. The guide contains all you need to know about brake pad vs. brake shoe and their significance.

Brake Pads

These are usually a flat steel piece that has a thick friction material such as rubber on one of its sides. The friction material, however, varies depending on the type of vehicle, size, and type of brake caliper. Manufacturers of cars most commonly place them in disc brake systems.

Due to friction and heat, the brake shoe material wears out with time. This will later necessitate replacement if you want them to work efficiently. The disc pad usually has a shorter cooling time and hence offer better stopping performance compared to drum brakes.

Brake Pads
Brake Pads

For the disc pad to operate, the driver has to push his foot down the brake pedal, which in turn pushes the master cylinder. The master cylinder contains a fluid that equally transmits the braking force to all brake pads in the wheels.

The energy used while stopping a car in motion converts into heat, and this explains why tires feel hot after a long distance of travel. The brake pad, however, undergoes more intense strain, and this causes faster wear and tear on them. They are also normally used in cars with front-wheel drive.

Types of Brake Pads

There are different types of brake pads, mainly due to a variety of vehicle specifications. The faster you drive or, the more massive a car is, the more the strains you require to stop a moving vehicle. Metallic brakes are the most common types and are created from a unique blend of metals such as steel, iron, or copper.

Long ago, organic brakes were manufactured from asbestos, which was popular due to their ability to absorb heat. However, they were eventually banned and replaced by ceramic brake pads. They cost quite a fortune, but they are durable, lightweight, and have better performance.

Replacing Brake Pads

There are certain indicators tell you that your brake pads need replacement. Some of the most common indicators are grinding, squealing, or whining sounds while trying to brake. These symptoms show that our brake pads are wearing out and are becoming a little too thin. Also, if your brakes are not as efficient and your car takes longer to stop, this might mean your brake pads need replacement.

The lower end braking materials are usually cheaper, say about 50$ per axle, while higher-end ceramics may cost up to 150$. However, these prices are not constant as they will vary, mainly due to labor costs for your brake lining replacement.

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Brake Shoe

A Brake Shoe is a curved metal piece with one side fitted with friction material and is placed inside the brake drum systems. This is an older braking system, typically used on the back axle of a car. They are a little more expensive, but they tend to last longer and are more efficient as well.

brake shoe

Rather than squeezing, a brake shoe material pushes outwards against the brake drum, and this way, friction-induced makes a moving vehicle to reduce speed or stop. If your car needs a set of powerful brakes, then you require brake shoes as they offer more excellent traction and force.

Brake Shoe Materials

Brake shoes, unlike pads, are an older system, and thus, they have various linings that press against the drum. Asbestos was the most used material, but they later noted adverse effects on them. After asbestos was scrapped of they currently use synthetic aramid materials.

You can use aramid for various purposes, but it is the ideal material to replace systems that initially used asbestos. Synthetic fibers are typically part of the best materials for brake shoes, but whatever material you decide to use depends on whatever may be available or what your mechanic may suggest.

Brake Shoe Replacement

Brake shoes are easier to manufacture. Thus you can pay less for their replacement. However, the cost will differ depending on the type of material used. The better quality materials are more expensive. Be careful; however, as a high price does not guarantee quality.

This system generates more heat. However, the cost of brake shoe replacement is much lower when compared to brake pads. While choosing the right brake shoes, you ought to consider your vehicle type, the quality of roads in your area, the terrain you drive on, the ambient temperature of your area, and your driving requirements as well.

The heavy-duty trucks, as well as trailers, require brake shoes because they can provide the necessary force to stop these vehicles while in motion. Light-duty vehicles can use fabricated brake shoes.

You cannot use brake shoes or the drum brakes with brake pads on the same wheel, but you can have them in one car. Most cars have a combination of the two with the brake shoes fitted on the back axle and pads on the front axle. The brake shoe is safer than brake pads.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Q. Do I Need Brake Shoes of Pads?

The correct answer to this question will depend on your car type, the quality of roads in your area, the terrain you drive on, the ambient temperature of your area and your driving requirements as well.

Typically, brake pads are for front-wheel drive vehicles while brake pads are typical for four-wheel drives, trailers, heavy-duty trucks, or rear-wheel drive vehicles. Brake shoes are more efficient, although many cars have both systems in place. If you know the differences between the two, then it is easy to decide which braking system best suits your needs or vehicle.

Q. Can Brake Pads Break?

Yes, they can. Brake pads have to be broken in. This is something that mechanics especially do while on a test drive before they give you back your car. Therefore, if you change your brake pads, you have to be careful as the stopping power is usually low at first.

If the friction lining materials in your car’s braking system are not permanently and positively attached to the brake shoe, the lining may delaminate. Thus the performance of the braking system degrades. The wear and tear of the friction lining material may also lead to the transfer of excessive heat into the brake caliper and hence causing the brake fluid to boil, which is not safe.

Q. How much Are Brake Pads and Shoes?

An average pad replacement will cost you approximately 150$ per axle. The cost ranges from about 100$ to 300$ per axle, depending on where you are. There are other parts of hardware in the braking system that requires to be serviced, such as rotors and calipers. However, there is a range of costs mainly depending on the material type, with the better quality ones being more expensive.

Q. Do I Need to Bleed the Brakes When Changing Pads?

Brake pads require to be bled whenever you are changing pads and/or discs. Bleeding simply means, in this context, the removal of old brake fluid from the system. However, this does not necessarily mean the entire fluid from the system. Bleeding is most common after you open the hydraulic line, and the liquid gets exposed to air in the atmosphere.

Q. How Long Do Brake Shoes Last?

Typically, brake shoes are designed to last about 35,000 miles. In some instances, they may not make it up to that far. Various factors lead to increased wear and tear, such as damaged hardware or even warped brake drums. The vehicle type, terrain, car owner, and maintenance are other factors that determine brake shoe life.

Q. How Long Do Brake Shoes Last?

The average brake pad life lies somewhere between 25,000 to 65,000 miles. Nonetheless, some people have had pads that last for even more than 70,000 miles. Generally, we could say they continue for about 40,000 miles, but again, it depends on a lot of factors, including your driving style and the brake pad material.

Conclusion

The braking system is one of the essential parts of our car. Knowing precisely how your vehicle’s brake system works could go a long way in helping you save a lot of time and money whenever you need to replace them. Hopefully, this article has enlightened you, and you are now in a better position to answer any question on brake pad vs. brake shoe. Therefore, even if you may not have a choice on what system your car uses, you still know how to cut costs while maintaining your vehicle.

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Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanics (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

One thought on “Difference Between Brake Pads vs. Brake Shoes

  1. I have a 2002 cavalier and apparently this is a common problem. The brakes lock up and I skid to a stop. It’s worse when it rains. What’s going on?

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