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Brake Shoe Replacement
How Much does a Brake Shoe Replacement Cost?
Your car’s brakes are the first line of defense against a collision, helping you bring your car to a stop. In cars with drum brakes, brake shoes are the backbone of the system.
During everyday operation, the brake shoes wear down with every press of the brake pedal, reducing the amount of friction material on the backing plate.
When they reach their minimum specification, the brake shoes need to be replaced.
Brake shoes normally average around 90,000 to 120,000km before needing to be changed, depending on the make and model you drive.
The usual cost to replace brake shoes is from $190 to $400, depending on the make and model, and heavy-duty brakes are typically more expensive.
Because drum brakes are normally only used on the rear axle where only 30% of the total braking effort is exerted, the rear brake shoes last about twice as long as the front brakes.
What is a Brake Shoe?
Formerly, drum brakes were the most common braking system you’d find on cars. In the past few decades, disc brakes have become immensely popular and only a handful of cars and trucks use drum brakes, and solely on the rear axle.
When the brake pedal is pressed, hydraulic pressure pushes the curved brake shoe against the smooth inner surface of the brake drum.
There are two half-circle brake shoes inside every brake drum, applying even pressure on both sides of the drum.
The steel backing plate is curved to mimic the shape of the drum. A friction material made of metallic compound is bonded to the backing plate, although some may use organic or ceramic in the friction material.
The friction and heat from pressing the brake shoes against the drum causes them to wear. Once the friction material has worn down to the discard limit, usually 1 millimetre, brake shoe replacement is required.
Symptoms You Require Brake Shoe Replacement
- Squealing or grinding noise when pressing brake pedal
- Brake pedal sinks further to the floor
- Chattering feeling in the brake pedal when pressed
How is Brake Shoe Replacement Performed?
- The car is lifted and the rear wheels are removed
- The brake drums are removed from the wheel hub
- A brake inspection is performed and the brake shoes measured
- Worn brake shoes are replaced with new ones
- The brake drums are refitted or replaced, and the wheels are installed
- The brakes are adjusted and the technician performs a road test to verify operation
Tips to Remember
- Some rear disc brakes use emergency brake shoes mounted inside the rotor’s ‘hat’.
- When replacing brake shoes, the brake drums should be measured, and either resurfaced or replaced as required
- If a rear axle seal has leaked oil or grease on the brake shoes, they are contaminated and should be replaced to ensure proper braking performance.
How Important is Brake Shoe Replacement?
Brake shoe replacement should be performed when they are worn to their limit to give you the assurance that your brakes will function as designed when you hit the brake pedal.
If you choose to drive with worn-out brake shoes, your brakes could fail and put you, your occupants, and those around you in a dangerous situation.
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