What does the brake shoe do?

The brake shoe is a braking component that is only found in vehicles with a drum brake system. Most vehicles switched to using a disc brake system in 1999. The brake shoe can be found under your wheels, inside your brake drum most commonly near your car’s rear wheels (but can also be on the front of older cars). 

The brake shoe works by pressing against the brake drum, causing friction which slows the vehicle down when the brakes are applied. 


Causes of brake shoe damage:

There are several common causes of brake shoe damage. These include:

  • Brake shoe lining wearing over time – After prolonged use, the friction of the brake shoe pressing against the brake drum will wear the brake shoe lining down and the brake shoe can lose effectiveness.

  • Leaking brake wheel cylinder pistons – if one of the brake wheel cylinder pistons is leaking brake fluid, then this can leak onto the brake shoes, significantly reducing braking ability and ruining the brake shoes which will need replacing.
  • Seized out brake wheel cylinder pistons – if the wheel cylinder pistons are stuck in the position that keeps the brake shoe in constant contact with the brake drum, then this can cause significant brake imbalance, brake shoe lining wear, and excess heat and damage to the brake shoe and drum.
  • Poor / Incorrect brake adjustment – most modern brake shoes have automatic brake shoe adjusters, that help to compensate for brake lining wear. If this automatic brake adjustment fails or the hand brake / parking brake cable is over tightened then the brake shoe can be constantly jammed against the brake drum, causing excess brake drag, friction and heat.
  • Damaged brake drum – brake drums a typically damaged when the lining of the brake shoes completely wears off, leaving the metal surface of the brake shoe to rub on the brake drum. This often creates a metallic scrapping noise while braking.
    This metal on metal contact scores the brake drum and produces excess heat, which can distort and warp the brake drum.

    If the brake drum is damaged from scoring or overheating it needs to be replaced as it can cause damage to the brake shoe.

  • Contamination – Particles such as worn off brake linings, mixed with dust, dirt and road debris can find their way into your braking system, affecting brake response time.


Symptoms of brake shoe damage

  • Car shakes while braking – When braking, you may feel the car shake. This can be due to due to the brake shoe and drum not creating friction evenly as they should due to issues such as a warped / distorted brake drum, brake fluid on the brake shoes .
  • Reduced brake effectiveness – Your car may take longer to stop due to reduced friction. This can be dangerous in situations where you have to stop suddenly.
  • Noise while braking – You may hear a metallic scrapping noise coming from the rear (or front) of your vehicle while braking.
  • Brake pedal may go down further than normal – if your brakes haven’t been serviced then your brake shoes linings could be worn off or poorly adjusted causing the brake pedal to have to travel further down under braking than it should normally.
  • Hand brake / parking brake / foot brake travels a long way – If the rear brake shoe linings are really worn off then you mechanic may not be able to safety adjust your Hand brake / parking brake / foot brake cable.

Brake shoe repairs and replacement in Hamilton

Are your vehicle’s brake shoes in need of a repair or replacement? If so, we can help!

Our qualified mechanics have lots of experience in brake related repairs, meaning your vehicle will be in good trustworthy hands. We will be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and perform a brake shoe replacement if necessary.

For reliable, honest brake repairs in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today.


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