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Brake shoes and pads are some of the most important components in your brake system. Driving with poor brakes can be dangerous, so they need to be checked and maintained regularly. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about brake shoes, how they work, when to replace them, or how to know when they need to be replaced, then keep reading. Our experts have put together the guide to help increase your knowledge on brake shoes and brake pads.
Part of the brake drum system, brake shoes are a crescent shaped component with a rough friction material on one side. Sitting inside of the brake drum, brake shoes are focused outward pushing against the inside of the brake drum when the pedal is pressed.
Brake shoes carry the brake lining inside the drum system. Each drum brake assembly consists of a leading and a trailing brake shoe, both of which are actuated at the same time through hydraulic pressure applied by the wheel cylinder. When you push down on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is placed under pressure thus transferring energy to the wheel cylinder. Pressurized brake fluid pushes the wheel cylinder pistons outward, moving the brake shoes into contact with the inner brake drum surfaces, which in turn slows down the vehicle.
The biggest difference between brake shoes and pads is the direction of force. With brake shoes, the vehicle is slowed down with an outward motion. When you use brake pads, the force is directed inward. Instead of sitting inside a brake drum, brake pads use discs called rotors. A caliper squeezes the brake pads together, so that they push against a rotor disc.
Another way brake shoes differ from brake pads relates to the amount of force each one takes to stop the vehicle. While brake shoes generally have a larger area of material designed to help create friction, they don’t often have as much stopping power as brake pads. Disc brakes generally provide more stopping power more quickly than drum brakes, making them better for stopping at shorter distances.
Typically, brake shoes on semi-trucks last about 100,000 miles, depending on how often the truck is driven and in what situations. A good rule of thumb is to check them with the rest of your brake system when you feel the pedal start to soften. If you feel vibrations in the brake pedal or steering wheel, this may also be a sign that your brake shoes need to be replaced. You will also want to listen for scraping or grinding while braking, this happens when the friction patch wears down and the metal surfaces meet each other which likely means that your truck needs new pads or shoes.
You may want to know which kind of brake shoes are right for your semi-truck. In that case, you’ll want to measure them to see what kind you’ll need. To measure your brake shoes, place the flat base of your tire thread depth gauge into the brake lining. Then, you’ll want to push down on the sliding ruler. Compare the measurements of each rivet in 1/32 inches to determine whether you have even brake shoe wear.
Now that you know more about the brake pads or shoes in your semi-truck’s brake system, the next step is to make sure you have the aftermarket replacement you’ve been looking for. If you are looking for replacement brake pads or brake pads for your semi-truck, then you are in the right place! With a full offering for you to choose from, we are happy to be your go-to stop for everything you need to keep your heavy-duty vehicle properly maintained and running smooth.
For those looking to read more about air brake systems, check out our posts on slack adjusters, brake chambers, and brake drums.
Want more information on custom brake shoes? Click the link below to contact us.
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