Brake shoes are the friction element that is used in automotive drum braking systems that are commonly found on many road going cars and trucks. Brake shoes are the curved friction plates that press against the inside of the brake drums to slow the wheels and stop the vehicle. As they work to slow the vehicle using friction and contact, they will wear out over time and need to be replaced. Usually when brake shoes have gone bad or are beginning to have a problem, they will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem.
1. Abnormal noises
Abnormal noises are one of the first symptoms that are produced when brake shoes are starting to go out. Excessively worn or dusty brake shoes will produce abnormal noises. For example, excessively worn brake shoes may produce a scraping sound, while dusty or dirty brake shoes may produce a squeak. The noises may be heard as the brake pedal is depressed or released, or in more serious cases, any time the vehicle is in forward motion.
2. Reduced brake response
Another symptom of bad or failing brake shoes is reduced brake response. If the brake shoes become excessively worn or overheated, their capacity to slow the vehicle may be reduced. This may result in a vehicle that takes longer to stop when the brakes are applied, especially during high speed or heavy braking situations.
3. Loose parking brake
A loose parking brake is another symptom of bad or failing brake shoes. For vehicles equipped with drum brakes, the brake shoes are what hold the vehicle in place when the brake is engaged. If the shoes become worn or dusty, they may not be able to hold the weight of the vehicle without slipping. You may notice that the vehicle will sag or roll when the parking brake is engaged. This may also be caused by a parking brake mechanism that may need adjustment, so inspecting the brakes is recommended.
Brake shoes are the friction lining that is used with the drum brake systems that are found on many of today’s cars and trucks. Since they are directly what slows the vehicle, if you suspect that your brake shoes may be having a problem, have the vehicle’s brake system inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your car needs a brake shoe replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of Bad or Failing Brake Shoes (Rear) and was authored by Ed Ruelas.