How to Inspect a Brake Shoe

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Learn how to inspect the brake shoe on a car with expert automotive tips in this free online auto repair and car maintenance video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Adjust Brake Drums on Cars
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Video Transcript

In these clips we're going to talk about the proper way to inspect and adjust your drum style rear brakes. In this clip we're going to talk about inspection of your drum brake shoes. Your drum brake shoes are these large pieces here and here. You have a primary shoe and a secondary shoe. The primary shoe is always the one with the largest amount of friction material. Your friction material is this stuff you see between this finger and this finger. It follows the kind of crescent moon shape around here. On a bonded shoe, which is what this is, the minimum is one-eighth inch. Rear brakes wear extremely slowly. They do approximately 20 percent of the work. It's an 80/20 split between the rear and the front. What that translates into is just about 3 to 1, 3 front brake jobs to 1 rear brake job. On a riveted style shoe, what you would see on the friction material surface is instead of it being glued on it would be riveted on. In various spots there will be pairs of rivets, bing, bing, bing like that. Since the rivet head protrudes into the friction material surface, the specification is much less. It's going to want to be a thicker amount which would give you less wear material being that the rivet head sticks through and what you will contact first is a rivet before your shoe is actually worn out. This here is plenty. As you can see my shoes just from them not working have been contaminated with rust. Right up here is the secondary shoe. It is the smaller of the two. The friction material is located from here to here. These shoes can be cleaned up with a little bit of sandpaper or emery cloth. That's the proper way to inspect your brake shoes.

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