If you take a look under your truck, you’ll either see a disc or drum brake setup and might wonder, “Which one is better”? The truth is there’s no simple answer, as your ideal brake choice will depend on how you’re using your truck. So, we put together a guide to brake pads and brake shoes so you can gain a better understanding of how each type can be right for your ride.
Brake shoes are at the heart of a drum brake system and are the “old school” approach to slowing cars and trucks down. Drum brakes have been in use since the creation of automobiles and can still be found on the rear axles of some trucks and small cars due to their simple design and incredible durability.
What are Brake Shoes?
- Brake shoes are the friction elements of a drum brake system
- They’re made out of steel that’s curved in shape and coated with friction material on one side
- Unlike brake pads, brake shoes can be “re-manufactured” or recycled for future use
How Brake Shoes Work
- During braking, a wheel cylinder in the drum brake system forces the brake shoes outward and against the spinning brake drums
- This creates friction, slowing the drum and as a result, the vehicle
Why Brake Shoes are Still Used
- Because drum brake systems have been around for so long, manufactures can build them cheaply. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find a replacement set of shoes for half the cost of a set of brake pads
- While drum brake systems don’t cool as efficiently as disc brake systems, they work great when used on the rear axles of vehicles. That’s because braking systems in general send most of their braking effort to the front axles. Simply put, your car’s rear brakes will most likely never get hotter than brake shoes can handle
Brake pads can be found in disc brake systems, which is the most commonly used braking design used in vehicles today. Every car, truck and SUV uses them on the front axles and some vehicles even use them on the rear axles, too. That’s because disc brakes provide better braking performance than drum brakes by staying cooler under extreme use.
What are Brake Pads?
- Brake pads are the friction elements of a disc brake system
- They’re made from a flat piece of steel with a thick friction media applied to one side
- Unlike brake shoes, brake pads come in a wide variety of friction materials that are tailored to different driving styles
How Brake Pads Work
- When you press the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is applied to the backside of the brake pads, which forces them to tightly squeeze the spinning brake rotors
- This generates friction, slowing the rotor and stopping your car
What are the benefits of brake pads?
- Brake pads provide a distinct advantage over brake shoes in wet weather and have the tendency to direct water away from the friction surface
- Disc brake pads come in different pad formulations, so you can tailor your braking experience to your driving style and your vehicle
When it comes to performance, the clear winner is the brake pad, as part of the cooler-running disc brake system. But when you need an affordable way to stop your truck and don’t plan on tearing up the track, a set of brake shoes will do the job just fine and save you some dough over converting to discs.
Why AutoAnything is your 1 Stop Shop for Brake Pads?
- We offer a huge assortment of pads, rotors, big brake kits, and more.
- Our brake knowledge is unbeatable. Tell us what you’re driving, how you’re driving it and we’ll set you up with the best brakes for your buck.
- Want to see what other drivers have to say about our accessories? If so, check out our brake customer reviews.
- You’ll get best deal on brakes in town thanks to our low-price guarantee and Free Shipping.