The emergency parking brake shoe is an important component in your emergency parking brake system. This part will literally hold your vehicle in place once the emergency parking brake has been engaged. If your car has rear rotors, the parking brake shoes will be installed on the vehicle. These shoes will press against the rear brake rotors, and this prevents your car from rolling such as on a steep hill.

Over time these shoes begin to wear down, meaning they get thinner and thinner. This results in less pressure being applied to the rear rotors. As well dirt can start to build up on the shoes, which can mess with the pressure. Typically you can expect to get about 50,000 miles out of your emergency parking brake shoe with normal usage. Sometimes it may not be as much, or you may get more time out of them. It may be that you just need to have the brake shoes properly cleaned, while other times they have worn down completely and need to be replaced. A professional mechanic will be able to properly diagnose the situation.

There have been lots of advancements in the quality and technology behind brake shoes, which has managed to expand their life expectancy. With that said, here are some signs that your emergency parking brake shoe has reached the end of the line and needs replacing. It is suggested that it get replaced once it is down to 30%, you don’t want to risk going below that point. Here are some more things to know about the symptoms of a worn out parking brake shoe:

  • If you try to release your emergency parking brake and find you can't, there is a problem with the system. The shoes could be the culprit.

  • The parking brake may not work at all, signaling an issue for sure. It's best to have a certified mechanic take a look and diagnose the issue.

  • If you have engaged the emergency parking brake, yet your car is still able to roll, then there is a good chance the shoes need replacing.

The emergency parking brake shoe is what holds your car in place and prevents it from rolling once you engage the brake. Once this shoe wears thin, it will no longer be able to do as it should. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your emergency/parking brake shoe is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an emergency/parking brake shoe replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Emergency Parking Brake Shoe Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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