Brake Shoes Brake Shoes

Brake Shoes

What are brake shoes?

Brake shoes are a critical component of the vehicle braking system. Generally speaking brake shoes are fitted to the rear brake system of a vehicle. They work by creating friction pressure inside the brake drum to bring the vehicle to a stop. The brake friction pressure is created when the brake pedal is pressed causing the brake cylinder to expand and press the brake shoes against the inside of the brake drum.

What comes in a brake shoe set?

Brake shoes are available in different packages depending on which individual parts you need to replace. Generally there are 3 ways you can buy these sets:

  • Brakes shoes (2 pairs included

  • Brake shoes with spring kit and adjusters

  • Brake shoes with spring kit, adjusters and brake cylinders

In most cases only the brake shoes need to be replaced however visual inspection of the brake system may show that other parts need to be replaced too. Corrosion to the shoe springs and adjusters or corrosion and even leaking oil from the wheel cylinder would indicate that these also need replacement.

How do I choose the correct brake shoes?

Brake systems are one of the most factory specific or uprated part on a vehicle. The more powerful or faster the vehicle the more uprated the brakes need to be. There are a number of things to consider when selecting the correct replacement brake shoes. It is good to take note if there are any compatibility notes listed next to a part that is shown as correct for your vehicle.

These may include:

  • Number of gears (i.e. 5 speed or 6 speed etc)

  • Manual or semi or fully automatic transmission

  • If the vehicle has ABS

  • The brand name of the brake system fitted the vehicle (noted somewhere on the brake system)

  • Inner diameter measurement of the brake drum

  • Design of the shoe. Where the holes are punched in the shoe bracket. Visual inspection may be required

  • Vehicle manufacture date (this is not the date the vehicle was registered but the date it was made)

  • VIN (chassis number sequence. Sometimes the first 3 letters of the chassis number or the last 6, 7 or 8 characters will determine the correct part

What brand of brake shoes should I choose?

Brake shoes are generally an inexpensive part to replace and there are a multitude of brands that manufacture them. The quality standards for brake components is high as they are designed to meet or exceed the original specifications. The brand most people choose are ones that are well known in the marketplace such as Bosch, Febi and Borg and Beck. There are other brands that have a cheaper price point and that offer great value. Which brand you choose is really up to you.

How can I tell my brake shoes needs replacing?

We would always recommend that you have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to receive an accurate diagnosis that your brake shoes need replacement. There are a few signs that may indicate that your brake shoes may need replacing.

These are:

  • Squealing noise when braking

  • Brake performance has deteriorated

  • The parking brake does not keep the vehicle stationary

  • The brakes are spongy or the brake pedal travels down a long way before the brakes engage

  • Brake warning light

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