Brake Shoes vs. Brake Pads

Brake Shoes vs Brake Pads

There are a number of reasons why you might be considering using brake shoes instead of brake pads. But how do you know which one is right for you? Thankfully, the decision isn’t difficult once you have all the facts. You can actually have a combination of both pads and shoes within the same car if you want, since the two don’t interfere with each other; for example, it’s common to use one for the emergency brake and the other for regular braking. Most modern cars have a brake shoe, or a combination brake shoe, in their emergency system, and it’s typically considered safer than pads as it provides a more reliable stop. Here are the main differences between the two:


The main difference between brake pads and shoes is their position. Shoes are designed to fit inside drum-style brakes; Brake shoes are places on top of disc brakes and are designed to pressurize the discs when you apply the brakes.


Perhaps the best reason for choosing a brake shoe is that it provides more friction to the drum. When you need a powerful brake, the shoe offers the best traction and force because of the material it’s made of. The brake pad uses also creates pressure to force the disk into the car, which also creates friction but not as much as the shoe.


The pad is also placed under immense strain during braking, which creates more wear and tear on these (almost as much as the car itself). The brake shoe, on the other hand, is designed to handle increased friction and the material wears well. You can easily spot when it’s becoming worn, as stops become weaker and need more contact on the pedal. This makes it more reliable than the pad, which doesn’t have clear warning signs of wear.

Mixing & Matching

A big part of deciding between the two kinds of brakes is knowing what your car is capable of and what kind of drive it has. When using drum brakes, you need to have a rear or four wheel drive; if you have front wheel drive cars, then you’ll typically need to have brake pads rather than shoes. In addition, you cannot mix and match. If you have drum brakes then you can’t use brake pads, nor can you use brake shoes with disc brakes.

At V&F

…we offer Brake Repair & Antilock Braking System (ABS) Repair. Our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Developer Autoshop