What Is The Role Of Brake Shoes In A Car?

Brake shoes are a crucial component of certain braking systems. Unlike brake pads, they are not made up of a thick and durable rubber material but rather two steel plates connected by metal webbing inside a protective covering. Because they are usually mounted on the inboard side of the rotor, they can often require more effort to service than brake pads.

When activated, brake shoes engage onto the inner rim of the drum and push outward. This creates friction between the two surfaces that are then transferred to the axle to slow down or stop the vehicle.

Brake shoes have slightly less contact area than brake pads, resulting in lower performance potential and thermal capacities. However, brake shoes can provide reliable stopping power with minimal upkeep when properly adjusted and well-maintained. Read on to learn more in detail.

What Are Brake Shoes?

The brake shoe is an essential component of the drum brake system, which brings a vehicle to a stop. This system consists of two ‘brake shoes’ placed on the inner face of the drum, which force against each other when pressure is applied and produce friction that slows the wheel’s rotation.

This type of braking mechanism is very popular in compact and mid-sized cars. It has a long life expectancy with regular maintenance, typically lasting about 100,000 kilometers before needing replacement.

Two types of brake shoes are available: one requires riveting or gluing to set attach the lining onto it, while the second one can be formed directly by pressing in special sole material into its structure. Both styles comprise two solid steel plates welded in a crescent shape and encased by a tough material to withstand high friction.

Over time, due to wear and tear, these linings need replacing. Still, with conscientious consideration in terms of regular servicing, car owners can rest assured knowing that their vehicle brakes will stop them safely every time.

What is The Role of Brake Shoes in A Car?

Brake shoes are a brake component used in cars and other vehicles. They provide a mechanical force used to slow and stop the vehicle. Brake shoes are made from steel or iron and have two curved pieces that press against a rotating drum or disc when the brakes are applied. The pressure between the brake shoe and the drum/disc creates friction, slowing down the car.

In addition to providing stopping power, brake shoes also help keep the brakes from becoming too hot. The friction the contact between the brake shoe and the drum or disc generates helps dissipate the heat when slowing down or stopping a vehicle. This helps prevent premature wear and tear of the brake components and helps keep safe driving conditions for all on the road.

How to Know It’s Time to Change A Brake Shoe?

Changing or replacing brake shoes is an important safety measure to ensure they are in good working order. Car owners should pay attention to the signs that indicate it’s time for a replacement.

The first sign is often a pulsating feeling in the brake pedal when stopping, which typically means that the drum brake linings have worn out and need to be changed.

Furthermore, if any noise is heard from the brakes during light braking or slow-speed driving, the pads have become worn down due to too many uses and, therefore, should be replaced.

Accessing and replacing brake shoes can be difficult as their associated drum brakes enclose them. Generally, this requires removing these drum brakes for easier access to the components, with other reinforcements also needing to be removed before reaching the brake shoes themselves.

The frequency with which car owners choose to replace their brake shoes will depend upon how often they drive their car or truck, as regular use over time can worsen existing parts or cause them to fail earlier than expected.

It is recommended that vehicle owners receive regular tune-ups and look into inspections of various components periodically to prevent any accidents caused by faulty brake systems.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Why Do Cars Have Brake Shoes?

Cars have brake shoes as part of their braking system. Brake shoes are located inside the drum of a car’s wheel and work by transferring pressure from the brakes to the wheel to slow it down or bring it to a complete stop. This is an important safety feature that all cars must have, ensuring that a vehicle can safely stop when needed.

2. How Often Should Brake Shoes Be Checked Or Replaced?

The frequency of brake shoe inspections and replacements will depend on the individual car and its use. Generally, it is recommended that drivers have their brakes inspected at least once a year, as regular use over time can cause failure to occur earlier than expected. Furthermore, any signs of wear or damage should be addressed immediately to ensure the vehicle’s safe operation.

3. When Should I Replace My Brake Shoes?

Brake shoes are an important component of a car’s braking system, as they provide the friction that allows your car to stop. When you step on the brake pedal, the brake shoes are positioned inside the wheel hubs and press against the drum brakes. Over time, the brake shoes can become worn out and must be replaced to ensure effective braking.

4. Can You Drive With Bad Brake Shoes?

Driving with faulty brakes is hazardous and endangers both you and other drivers. Although they may still function to some extent, they will inevitably give out, leaving you with limited options for stopping. Therefore, the answer is negative.

5. What Happens If Brake Shoes Fail?

When the brake pedal is pressed, hydraulic pressure is sent through the master cylinder to force the brake shoes to press against the drums. If the shoes fail, the vehicle will lose its braking power, leaving it unable to slow down or stop and leading to potentially dangerous situations.


Brake shoes are a critical component of a car’s braking system and must be checked and replaced regularly for safety. Vehicle owners need to pay attention to any signs that the shoes may be worn out to reduce the risk of an accident or injury. Regular maintenance and inspection will keep your car running safely and reliably.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at brakeshub.com, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.