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The Ultimate Car Brake Shoes Buying Guide


A Guide For Buying Brake Shoes

Brakes play an important role in stopping a vehicle, even if it is at maximum speed. When brakes are pressed, many brake parts work together in a blink of an eye. The brake shoes or brake pads hold the brake drum or rotor which in turn decelerates the wheels and stops the vehicle. Brake shoes are similar to brake pads but are used in drum brake systems. These are commonly used as the parking brake even in many modern vehicles. This brake shoe guide will help you understand and buy the correct brake shoes for your vehicle.


What Are Brake Shoes?

A brake shoe is a curved piece of metal component that has a friction material known as a brake shoe liner fitted on it. At the time of braking, these brake shoe liners get pressed against the rotating drum to stop the vehicle. Because of rubbing against the wheel drum these liners wear out, which has to be replaced after a certain period.

Brake shoes are found in old and even in modern cars. Brake shoes are the first braking parts introduced in vehicles. In old vehicles, all wheels have brake shoes, but in many modern cars they are fitted only on the rear side and brake pads are fitted on the front side. The brake shoe not only works as the main brake but also serves the purpose of the vehicle's emergency brakes (handbrake). 


What Are The Type Of Brake Shoes?

The brake system and its components keep us safe on the road. So, it is important to know more about them. The brake shoes vary, depending on vehicle type and size of the brake drum, but the function is the same to stop the car

Based On Construction

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1. Leading / Trailing Shoe Type Drum Brake

This type has a single wheel cylinder and a pair of brake shoes known as the leading shoe and the trailing shoe. Leading brake shoe is a term referring to the shoe that moves in the direction of rotation when it is being pressed against the brake drum. The other shoe is called the trailing shoe. The brake shoe is pressed in the same direction as the rotation of the brake drums, and this rotation helps to press the brake shoes against the brake drum with higher pressure for better braking force. This is called the servo effect or the self-boosting effect which provides the powerful braking forces of the drum brakes. These brake shoes work in a way that they both become either the trailing shoe or leading shoe, depending on whether the vehicle is moving backward or forward.

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2. Twin Leading Shoe Type Drum Brake

This type of drum brake has a pair of wheel cylinders fitted in opposite directions, and a pair of brake shoes are fitted on them. Each wheel cylinder presses one shoe towards the rotating brake drum so that both shoes act as leading ones when the vehicle moves forward, giving the best braking force.

3. Duo Servo Type Drum Brake

The duo servo type has a structure where a pair of brake shoes is fitted. It is called the primary shoe and secondary shoe. These brake shoes are connected via an adjuster. Powerful pressure from the servo effect or self-boosting effect from the primary shoe is sent to the connected secondary shoe, thus creating a very large braking force.

Based On Brake Shoe Assembly

Every brake shoe which is made has a curved metal plate, mostly made of steel. These plates have different sizes of holes for the fitment of anchor pins and return springs. But the friction material that is fitted on the plate, is fitted on the brake shoe in two types.

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1. Riveting Type Brake Shoes

This is the oldest method of fitting a brake liner on the brake shoe. For this, depending on the size of the brake shoe, six to eight holes are drilled on the area where the liner is to be fitted. The same is done with the brake liner which is then placed on the brake shoe. After matching both of them, metal rivets are fitted, securing the liner with the brake shoe. You can even change your riveted brake shoes with bonded brake shoes.

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2. Bonded Type Brake Shoes

The bonded type brake shoes are mostly used in two-wheelers but are also found in cars and trucks. In this type, the glue is applied on the brake liner's inner side and on the outer side of the brake shoe. Both parts are then placed on each other and are then pressed with the help of a pressing machine. You have an option to buy riveted brake shoes or bonded brake shoes.

Based On Location

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Every vehicle has a different size of brake shoes depending on its make and model. Brake shoes can be found in the front and the rear or can be fitted only in the vehicle's rear. The front and the rear brake shoes slightly differ from one another. The main difference is, the rear brake also contains hardware for the parking brake due to which the rear brake shoe design can vary, making it slightly different from the front brake shoe assembly. For this reason, always be sure which side of the brake shoe is required.

Based On Adjustments

1. Manually Adjusted Brake Shoes

When this type of brake shoe wears, there is an excessive gap between the brake drum and the brake shoe, due to which the brake pedal travels slightly more than usual for better braking. To remove this excess gap, the brake backplate has a snail-type cam or an adjuster gear that is connected to the brake shoe. When the cam or the adjuster gear is rotated, the brake shoe is pushed towards the brake drum, hence removing the excess gap from the brake pedal. This is an important maintenance requirement in manually adjusted brake drum designs. 

2. Automatically Adjusted Brake Shoes

Today this type of brake shoe is found in almost all cars. Automatically adjusted brake shoes have small threaded self-adjusting components. When there is an excessive gap between the brake drum and the brake shoe, the adjusting component pushes the threaded screw, which then pushes the brake shoe towards the brake drum, thus maintaining the gap.

What Are The Factors I Should Consider Before Buying A New Brake Shoe Set?

1. Compatibility

Depending on the brake drum size, there are different sizes of brake shoes, because of which they differ from one another, this difference may even exist between different models of a car. For this, it is necessary to choose proper brake shoes specific to your vehicle’s make and model. Some brake shoes are vehicle-specific, so finding one that is meant for your vehicle is necessary for a precise fit and function.


2. Material

There are constant advancements in brake shoe materials development. These advancements result in less operating cost and maintenance, which gives better functionality and overall consumer satisfaction. When it comes to brakes, choosing the right materials is essential. Brake shoes are made from copper, steel, iron, and several other alloys with durable and heat-resistant materials. Brake shoes made from ceramic components are popular because of their durability, energy absorption, and decreased noise while braking. The brake shoes can even include materials like semi-metallic compounds, ceramics, mineral fibers, plastics, aramid fibers, cellulose, and even chopped fiberglass. 


3. Choosing A Brand

There are many companies in the market, and each company has unique design and manufacturing processes that determine their reliability and performance. For this reason, it's tough to select brake shoes that are best for your vehicles. OEM brake shoes are engineered for maximum strength in your specific vehicle. This guide also has some aftermarket brands like Raybestos, Wagner, Agna, and many more, which are mentioned, that match the fit and performance of the OEM parts, and some even exceed that providing more features and benefits. 


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4. Checking For Fitment 

Once brake shoes are replaced, it becomes necessary to check their function for any abnormal sound while braking. It is also necessary to check the wheel cylinder for any brake oil leakages. The brakes should be tested at different speeds to ensure proper stopping. The emergency brake or also known as the hand brake should be checked and set accordingly.

5. Rust Resistance Coatings

Due to the brake shoe location, they are always exposed to water and weather conditions which can make them rusty. To avoid the rust problem, many manufacturers apply safety coatings on brake shoes to prevent rust and extend the component's life. While buying brake shoes you should look for such rust preventive coatings that ensure the brake shoes will last a long time and provide a good service life. 

Which Popular Brand Of Brake Shoes Should I Choose?

Raybestos Brake Shoes

Raybestos is a well-known name for innovative product design and manufacturing excellence. Their continual innovations and dedication towards quality, it has changed the way people think about brake products and their performance. With easy-to-match components, you can now quickly and confidently select the brake shoe or other brake-related part for a complete and quality brake job.



New Rear Brake Shoe Part Numbers: 242PG, 960PG, 705PG, 855PG, 795PG, 919PG, and more.

Features

  • Contour or cam ground depending on the application, providing the best contact between the brake shoe and brake drum.
  • To provide resistance for superior durability, they have a premium dipped coating.
  • Attached are levers and hardware included (where applicable) for an easy and complete installation.
  • Premium new steel facilitates proper shoe to drum contact.


New Front Brake Shoe Part Numbers: 242PG, 228PG, 127PG, 263PG, 314PG, 316PG, and more.

Features

  • Contour or cam ground depending on the application, providing the best contact between the brake shoe and brake drum.
  • To provide resistance for superior durability, they have a premium dipped coating.
  • Attached levers and hardware included (where applicable) for an easy and complete installation.
  • Premium new steel facilitates proper shoe to drum contact.
For more, you can visit our Raybestos Brake shoe section.


Wagner Brake Shoes

Wagner offers top-of-the-line braking solutions covering all the aspects of different vehicles, driving habits and physical conditions, and much more.



New Rear Brake Shoe Part Numbers: Z795, Z627, Z665R, Z723, Z538R, Z814, and more.

Features

  • OE-matched friction formulations and configurations for reliable, like-new braking performance and maximum durability.
  • To ensure an optimum fit with drums, they have a precision ground radius.
  • As per OE specifications, brake shoes are bonded or riveted.
  •  Brake shoes are made from asbestos-free friction material.


New Front Brake Shoe Part Numbers: Z263R, Z358AR, Z357AR, Z228R, Z242DR, Z333R, and more.

 Features

  • OE-matched friction formulations and configurations for reliable, like-new braking performance and maximum durability.
  • To ensure an optimum fit with drums, they have a precision ground radius.
  • As per OE specifications, brake shoes are bonded or riveted.
  •  Brake shoes are made from asbestos-free friction material.


For more, you can visit our Wagner Brake shoe section


RS Parts Brake Shoes

RS Parts have engineered the best-in-class brake shoe for all your needs. Whether you are looking for dependable braking in daily situations or want superior braking power, RS Parts has a product for you.



New Rear Brake Shoe Part Numbers: RSS913, RSS910, RSS917, RSS919, RSS960, RSS636, and more.

Features

  • For longer wear and quieter braking, brake shoes are made with 100% new shoe materials.
  • Arc & end tamper grounded to ensure proper fit and prevent binding.
  • To prevent rust, brake shoes are dip-coated.
  •  Brake shoes are made from asbestos-free material.


For more, you can visit our RS Parts Brake Shoe section.


Agna Brake Shoes

Agna brake shoes are made to give the best levels of braking performance. They have better technology that always meets and exceeds the OE industry standards and specifications.


New Rear Brake Shoe Part Numbers: NB913, NB919, NB910L, NB917, NB801, NB1046, and more.

Features

  • The dynamic and static friction material is used where applicable.
  • Brake shoes are made according to OE specifications.
  • They have all the necessary pins and levers where applicable.
  • Brake shoes are available in both bonded and riveted attachments.
  • Brake shoes are designed for smooth and quieter braking.


For more, you can visit our Agna Brake Shoe section.


How Much Should I Pay For New Brake Shoes?

Depending on the vehicle you drive, the new brake shoes will cost you around $20 to $30 for a single wheel. While the labor cost for the same is only about $8 to $12. Depending on the make and model of the car, the brake shoes can be found on all four wheels or on the rear wheels only. All brake shoes are individual components but work together to stop the car. If you change all the brake shoes, it will multiply the amount depending on the number of brake shoes. Prices ranges are different and also vary from one brand to the other. If you have the proper tools and knowledge, you can change the brake shoes yourself and save a lot of the labor.


When Should I Change My Brake Shoes?

While brake shoes may not require service frequently, they will not last forever. A person will apply brake multiple times during driving. If you hear any noise coming from the wheels while braking, it can be worn brake shoes. But if you ignore it and continue on your driving, the expense could be more. Because when the brake liners are totally worn out, the rivets on the brake shoe can cause damage to the brake drum and in some conditions, there is no option but to replace the brake drum with a new one. Brake shoes must be checked and should be replaced in order to avoid issues with the braking system. The brake shoes are designed to last around 40,000 to 45,000 kilometers, but there are chances that replacement may come early. Few of the many reasons that can lead to increased wear of brake shoes like bad road conditions, poor driving habits, and weather.



Raybestos Brake Shoes - Part Number Catalog

CategoryPart Numbers
Rear Brake Shoe

228PG, 917PG, 576PG, 801PG, 514PG, 583PG,

1046PG, 910PG, 747PG, 904PG, 151PG, 452PG

Front Brake Shoe

154PG, 241PG, 280PG, 160PG, 86PG, 264PG,

169PG, 445PG, 333PG, 336PG, 248PG, 33PG 


Wagner Brake Shoes - Part Number Catalog

CategoryPart Numbers
Rear Brake Shoe

Z715, Z583R, Z630, Z913, Z815, Z855,

Z519R, Z739, Z599AR, Z637, Z754, Z919 

Front Brake Shoe

Z280R, Z160R, Z264R, Z282R, Z10DR, Z336,

Z154R, Z33DR, Z246R, Z189, Z330, Z450R


RS Parts Brake Shoes - Part Number Catalog

CategoryPart Numbers
Rear Brake Shoe

RSS801, RSS705, RSS747, RSS754, RSS576, RSS795,

RSS855, RSS936, RSS714, RSS715, RSS922, RSS992


Agna Brake Shoes - Part Number Catalog
CategoryPart Numbers
Rear Brake Shoe

NB754, NB945, NB705, NB855L, NB1020, NB795L,

NB785, NB960, NB814L, NB1059, NB1052, NB800L

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FAQ

Brake shoes and brake pads are different. Brake shoes are fitted inside drum-style brakes and brake pads are used in disc brake systems.

The parking brake or the hand brake, if mechanical and is operated by a cable then will work without brake fluid.

New brake fluid should be almost clear, it could be in red or in yellow color. If your brake fluid is a dark brown or black color, then you need a brake fluid flush and replacement.

John Framigllia
Technical Writer
Our technical writer is known for simplifying automotive parts and services. Intuitive with various vehicles and manufacturers, he knows how to simplify complicated problems.