The parking brake shoes, also known as the emergency brake shoes, are the long curved blocks lined with friction material for the parking brakes to function. When the parking brakes are set, the parking brake shoes extend against the brake drum or inside of the rotor to hold the vehicle in place. They operate in a very similar manner as regular brake shoes and drums, and also require service after a period of time. Usually, bad or failing parking brake shoes will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced.
Parking brake does not properly hold vehicle
One of the first symptoms of a problem with the parking brake shoes is a parking brake that does not properly hold the vehicle. If the parking brake shoes become excessively worn, they will not be be able to properly grip and secure the weight of the vehicle. This may cause the vehicle to roll or lean when parked, especially on inclines or hills.
Parking brake does not function
Another symptom and a more serious issue is a parking brake that does not engage or hold the vehicle at all. If the parking brake shoes are severely worn, they will result in a non-operational parking brake that will not be able to hold the weight of the vehicle. This will cause the vehicle to lean and roll even when the pedal or handle are fully extended, which puts it at an increased risk of an accident.
Parking brakes shoes are a component found on virtually all road going vehicles, and play an important role in parking safety. If you suspect that your parking brake shoes may be worn or are having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to look over the car and replace any parking brake shoe if necessary.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / Parking Brake Shoe and was authored by Ed Ruelas.