Are Rear & Front Brake Pads Different?

by Erica Gendler
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Close up detail of a classic car at a car show image by Rob Hill from

The most significant difference between front and rear brake pads is probably the size difference, but it's important to note that the front brake pads typically wear out faster than the rear, as they handle more of the braking process.

Size Difference in Pads

Stopping the car requires the brake calipers to squeeze the brake pads onto the brake disc to slow the car. Because there is a difference in the sizes of the calipers from the front to the rear, the size of the brake pads will differ.

Calipers Sizes

Front brake calipers work significantly harder than the rear, which requires them to be a different size to handle the force that is applied to them. Not only does the size of the caliper differ from the rear, but the shape of it differs too. The front and rear brake pads cannot be interchanged, as the front pads will not fit on the calipers of the rear and vice-versa.

Front Pad Wear

Wearing of the front brake pads occurs faster in the front, as the weight of the car wants to continue to move forward when the brake pads apply force to the discs to slow the vehicle. Because the weight is constantly transferred forward each time the brake pads are put to use, they typically wear out quicker.

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