Brake Repair | Hampden, MD | AutoStream Car Care Center

Brake Pads or Brake Shoes?

Disc and Drum Brakes

We all know that your vehicle doesn’t wear clothes. It does, however, include some components that sound a bit like choosing the accessories to wear with a particular outfit. Think about the braking system, for instance. Depending on what you drive, your auto may need pads (remember when people wore shoulder pads in everything?), shoes (a needed accessory for nearly every outfit), or both. You don’t have to worry, however, about what accessories match your vehicle’s braking outfit. AutoStream Car Care Center in Hampden, Maryland, is here to help you with all your brake repair needs. Our ASE certified technicians and friendly staff have been helping people get the right parts for their cars since 1999.

When the Outfit Calls for Pads

Although most pads, including those sewn into clothing, are soft, brake pads are made of hardened metal. They’re designed to go with the more modern disc brake “outfits” which use rotors as one of the main components. As you depress the brake pedal, the calipers force the pads against the rotors in a squeezing fashion. The metal pads against the metal rotors create friction and slow the vehicle. This kind of system is usually found on newer vehicles. Some autos have disk brakes solely on the front. If so, the older style drum brakes are found on the rear wheels.

When the Outfit Calls for Shoes

Brake shoes–which don’t actually go on anyone’s feet–work with drum brakes. This is the older type braking “outfit” that was traditionally found on passenger vehicles. It’s still used on the rear wheels of some models. The metal shoes are moved outward from their normal position and against the drum that turns inside the wheel when you apply pressure to the brake pedal. The car is stopped by the resulting friction.

Differences in Style

While both brake pads and shoes are important braking components, and in name might be mistaken for clothing accessories, they are actually quite different in how they work. Disc brakes and their parts are much more expensive to manufacture than drum brakes. They are used, however, because they offer enhanced braking ability. Drivers are better able to stop quickly, avoiding objects in an emergency and more easily controlling the vehicles. To reach a good compromise, car makers will sometimes use disc brakes on the front wheels for their stopping ability and drum on the rear for economy. Shoes seem to last longer than pads, but the difference is probably seen because the rear brakes (pads) take less force when you stop your car than the rear (shoes). AutoStream Car Care Center in Hampden repairs your brakes, whether they are disc or drum brakes.

Written by Doug Grills