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How To Replace Brake Shoes

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What Is A Brake Shoe

How to Replace Brake Shoes – AutoZone

Drum brakes have fallen out of favor, but are often still found on the rear of small inexpensive cars, and ironically, on large trucks. The closed design of drum brakes makes them prone to heat induced brake fade, but for large trucks, they are easier to scale up for greater braking force than disc brakes engineers can increase both the diameter of the drum and the width of the friction area.

In drum brakes, the brake shoe is the curved metal backing plate covered with friction material that rubs the drum to provide braking. A small hydraulic cylinder presses the two shoes apart, and into the drum, and a screw adjuster at the bottom gradually extends to make up for worn shoes. A cable operated lever provides parking and emergency brake functions by mechanically forcing the shoes apart the same way the hydraulics do. With time the friction material of the shoe wears thin, so periodically they need to be replaced.

What Are Brake Shoes And Drums

The term shoes and drums are used for vehicles equipped with drum brakes, while pads and rotors are used for the components of disc brakes. When you press the brake pedal, fluid in the master cylinder applies hydraulic pressure to a single wheel cylinder on each side, which in turn exerts an outward force that presses the brake shoes against the spinning brake drums. This friction is what stops your car. Over time, the material used for the brake shoes and drums wears out, and this wear is determined by factors that include the weight of your vehicle, road conditions , your driving style, if you use the vehicle for towing, and more. Bottom line, the harder you are on your brakes, the sooner they will wear out. Knowing how to replace brake shoes and drums can save you hundreds of dollars.

Most modern vehicles are equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, but some vehicles still use front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The highly advanced, all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 is one such example, and it uses rear brakes that are designed to last the life of the vehicle! Many classic vehicles use four-wheel drum brakes, although this wasnt very common after the 1960s. Drum brakes usually last considerably longer than disc brakes as you should be able to get a set of rear drums to last for the same amount of time as two or three sets of front brake pads.

Drum Brakes on Disc Brake Cars?

How To Change The Rear Brake Shoes

This clip is just a sample of the vehicle specific videos included in our online manuals. Every vehicle is different, but here is a general overview of how you change rear brake shoes:

  • Work on only one wheel at a time, so the other side can provide a guide to reassembly.
  • Break loose the lug nuts on the rear wheels.
  • Block the front wheels, then raise the rear of the car and support on jack stands.
  • Remove the rear wheels and the brake drum. If the drum won’t slide off easily, manually back off the brake adjuster.
  • Remove the rubber plug on the rear of the dust cover and use a screw driver to crank back the adjuster wheel.
  • Clean the brakes with aerosol brake cleaner.
  • Disconnect the parking brake cable.
  • Press and turn the shoe hold down springs and remove.
  • Unhook the lower spring between the brake shoes, and in many cases you can remove the shoes, adjuster and other mechanisms as a unit.
  • If not, remove the upper spring and adjuster and remove the shoes.
  • Swap any springs and hardware being reused onto new shoes.
  • Apply a small amount of high temperature grease to any metal on metal rub surfaces, and the adjuster.
  • Installation is the reverse of removal.
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    Remove The Old Brake Pads

    • Remove the brake pads from both sides of your brake rotor. Note the orientation to make installing the new pads easier.
    • Check to see if the clips that hold them in place are damaged. If they are, use the clips that come with your new brake pads or seek out other replacements before installing new brake pads.

    When Should Brake Shoes Be Checked

    How To Change Brake Shoes

    You can have the brake shoes inspected at least once a year and expect them to last around 50,000 miles.

    However, you dont have to wait for a scheduled brake inspection to have them checked. Ask your mechanic to review the rear drum brake system during an oil change or whenever any rear wheel is off.

    Rear brake shoes generally last about twice as long brake pads because of the vehicles brake bias. Front brakes take up more of the braking force than the rear brakes .

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    Squealing Or Screeching Noises

    If a vehicleâs brake pads have wear indicators, a driver may notice a squealing, screeching or whining noise when the brakes are engaged. This sound is caused by a small metal attachment on the brake pad backing plate for just this purpose. Wear indicators work on the same principle as dragging fingernails across a chalkboard. When you hear it regularly while braking, itâs time to bring your car in to a brake specialist for an inspection. Note that not all brake pads come with this feature, so donât rely on sound alone to assess your brakesâ condition.

    When brakes are exposed to wet, damp conditions, such as after a rain storm, pads may exhibit a very similar screeching sound while braking. If a sound disappears after the first few times you use your brakes, thatâs a good indicator that it was just a bit of moisture on the brake pads or shoes and not a sign they need to be replaced.

    Install The New Emergency Brake Shoe

    Compare the worn brake shoe to the replacement shoe. Also, install any new hardware that is included with the replacement shoe set. On the GM shoes an updated clip is included which helps prevent the shoe from dragging against the rotor when the parking brake is not engaged.

    Gently place the new shoe over the axle flange and rotate it into position. Start with the lower part of the shoe over the axle flange and work it around. Be careful not to get grease on the new brake shoe material. Use new gloves for this operation.

    Once in position guide the shoe into the self adjuster plungers and reinstall the retainer clip. Then, check the adjustment by fitting the rotor over the shoes while moving the rotor back and fourth to check the air gap. Readjust the self adjuster until you get about and 18/ or 3mm air gap. If once both shoes are replaced and the emergency brake pedal or handle is too high or too low readjust the shoes to lesson or increase the air gap.

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    Is It Safe To Drive With Worn Brake Shoes And Drums

    The lifespan of brake shoes is measured in millimeters, and once you get to between 1.5 mm to 3 mm in thickness, you should start thinking about replacing the shoes. In some cases, the leading brake shoe can wear faster than the trailing braking shoe. Not only is it unsafe to drive with brake shoes that are too thin, doing so could cause unnecessary damage to other brake system components such as the drums and/or wheel cylinders.

    What happens if I dont do this? How bad could things get?

    If you dont replace the brake shoes before they get to their minimum thickness, it can end up costing you more in the long run. Generally speaking, brake drums can outlive at least two or three sets of brake shoes before requiring replacement, but driving with shoes that are too worn out could cause excessive and premature damage to the drums. Worst case scenario, if the shoes are worn too thin, the wheel cylinders could be extended too far and create a brake fluid leak causing decreased braking performance.

    In short, why is this job important?

    Keeping your vehicles braking system properly maintained is important to ensure a safe-driving vehicle. Additionally, preventative maintenance such as replacing almost-worn-out brake shoes helps to save you money in the long run compared to waiting until the pads are worn out and affect the condition of the drums.

    When To Replace Brake Shoes

    How To Replace Change Drum Brake Shoes Easy Simple

    Drum brakes with brake shoes are an old school approach to the braking system for cars and trucks. It was the original braking system that was first installed in a car in the year 1900. Believe it or not, the system is still in use today in the less costly vehicles. Most cars use brake pads these days, at least on the front of the car. When to replace brake shoes, depends on your driving habits, but it is usually more often than brake pads.

    But, how many miles do you think you can go before having to replace those shoes? They are built to last about 35,000 miles. But, like with many parts on a car, it depends on how you drive.

    Here are some signs that the end is near for your brake shoes:

    • Noisy back brakes when you are pushing the brake pedal to come to a stop.
    • The emergency brake doesnt work anymore.
    • Shaking or vibrating when you come to a stop.

    It is very important that as soon as you see the brake shoes are worn that you replace them. Letting things go will turn into a very expensive repair as parts start destroying each other in a chain reaction.

    Good driving habits extend the life of brakes:

    • Stop without slamming on the brakes.
    • Keep the left foot off the brake always.
    • Downshift to slow down if you have a manual transmission.

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    Install The Brake Drums And Replace The Wheel

    Step 1: Prepare the new drum brake. Many drums will become coated in a thin oily film to prevent them from rusting during shipping and storage.

    If that is the case, be sure to liberally spray the drums with brake cleaner to remove any of the film that may be present before installing them.

    Step 2: Install the drum brake over the brake shoes. Once the drum is clean and ready to install, slip it over the brake shoes and install it onto the hub.

    If there is any difficulty sliding the drum on, it may be possible that the brake shoes need to be adjusted so that the drum can fit correctly.

    Adjust the brake shoes by turning the adjuster, or by using the adjuster tool, one increment at a time until the drum slides over the brake shoes and onto the hub properly without excessive resistance.

    Step 3: Make final adjustments to the brake drum. At this point the drums should be fully reassembled, and will just require a final adjustment.

    A final adjustment is very important. Loosely adjusted shoes will not work correctly and may even result in problems with the parking brake, while excessively tight shoes will cause excessive drag that can overheat and damage the drums and shoes.

    Locate the adjuster access port, which is usually on the inside of the hub. This port grants access to the brake adjuster.

    Carefully adjust the tension in small increments, until there is minimal to zero drag on the inside of the drum when you turn it by hand.

    Step 6: Remove the wheel chocks.

    When To Replace Brake Shoes On An Older Car Or Truck

    Aug 15, 2018 | Auto Care Blog |

    Most people dont have to replace their brakes very often. But those who like to drive with a foot on the brake pedal will feel that when to replace brake shoes seems to be all the time! Good driving practices will get more life out of your brake shoes or brake pads. Here are some tips.

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    Inspecting The Parking Brake Shoe

    Once the brake rotor has been removed, inspect the parking brake shoe for wear. This style of emergency brake uses an “all in one” style of set up apposed to a primary and secondary shoe set up. If you see the brake material missing like in the picture below its time to change the shoes. If the shoe is down to the metal the rotor should be replaced or re-machined as well.

    Why Brake Shoes Need To Be Changed

    How to Replace Disc Brake Pads : 6 Steps

    With time the friction material of the shoes wears away, and periodically they need to be replaced. The brake shoe is meant to be the wear item in the braking system. It is softer than the iron drum so that the inner surface of the drum won’t wear away. If left too long, the shoes will wear unevenly until the metal backing or the rivets holding the friction material start to contact the drum causing a horrible noise and wear to the drum.

    The brake shoes can also become contaminated with grease or oil, from a wheel bearing failure for instance. Accidentally driving with the parking brake on can also glaze or overheat the surface of the shoe, necessitating a change, as can hauling a heavy load or towing.

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    How To Change The Brake Shoes On A Plymouth Breeze

    Park your Plymouth Breeze on a flat surface and block the wheels with chocks placed in front of and behind the wheels so the vehicle wont roll.

    Raise the car with a jack and remove the lug nuts from the wheel. Then remove the wheel from the car and set it aside.

    Tap lightly on the drum by hand to loosen it. Pull the drum and slide it out. Insert a 7/16-inch bolt into a bolt hole on the drum and tighten the bolt to push the drum off. Visually check the drum for grooves that are cut into it. If it is not smooth, you should replace it.

    Remove the springs and the spring clips from the brake shoes once the drum is off.

    Install the new brake shoes in the reverse order of removal.

    Place the drum back onto the wheel hub after you have installed the new brake shoes.

    Turn the adjuster screw assembly ¼ of a turn counterclockwise until the drum fits snugly. You may have to remove the drum a couple times to get it to fit tight.

    Replace The Retaining Clips

    The photo above shows the pad’s new retaining clips. New pads almost always come with new clips, which allow the pads to slide back and forth easily. Use the new ones and chuck the old ones. There are no retaining screws for the clips. They just snap in place. There are usually left-handed and right-handed clips, so change one at a time, making sure they match up exactly as you go.

    Often, a small packet of graphite-based grease will come with the brake pads. Apply this to the clips of the new brake pads to keep them from squeaking, as shown in the photo above.

    This photo shows that the new brake pad has a riveted-on shim, which is the thin metal plate. Some brake pads might have unattached shims that have to be temporarily held in position until you lock the pads in place. The “ears” are the metal tabs on either end of the brake pad . These ears fit into the slots in the clips. Some of the grease can be applied to the ears and between any loose metal shims, too.

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    Removing The Parking Brake Shoes

    A brake spring removal tool is needed to help remove the brake shoe return springs. You can use a pair of side cutters to grasp the spring and pull it but it is much more difficult that using the correct tool.

    The tool will have a tang on the round part which catches under the spring and forces it from the backing plate. Insert the tool over the brake shoe return spring pivot and twist to release. Do this for both forward and rear facing shoe springs.

    These shoes are held to the backing plate by a small spring, pin and retainer assembly. Both of these must be undone to remove the shoes.

    Hold the rear of the spring pin toward the backing plate. Use needle noise pliers or a brake spring retainer removal tool and push inward while twisting the retainer to release. Perform this for both shoes.

    Once all mounting springs have been removed, grasp the emergency brake shoe and remove them from the backing plate. There will be an adjuster with a spring at the bottom of the shoes which hold them together which will now come apart at this point.

    The parking brake actuating lever will still be attached to the rear shoe. While grasping the parking brake cable spring, move it upward on the cable to create room to remove the brake shoe actuator arm from the cable. A pair of side cutters works well for this because it will hold to the cable if you clamp down slightly while disconnecting the arm.

    How To Replace Your Brake Pads

    How To Replace Rear Brake Shoes Chevy Colorado, Silverado & GMC Canyon, Sierra 2004-2008

    What we don’t recommend is waiting to replace the brake pads for weeks or months after the first warning signs emerge, or considering properly functioning brakes anything less than a top priority. From a safety standpoint, they are more important than the engine. After all, a poorly maintained engine could result in engine failure. But if your poorly maintained brakes take longer to stop than they should or, worse, fail, the result could be life-threatening.

    Pay attention to the condition of your brakes now and you’ll avoid big repair billsor an accidentlater. If you’re feeling ambitious and want to replace your vehicle’s brake pads yourself, you’ll also need to bleed the brake system afterward. Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to show you how.

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