What You Need To Know When Buying Brake Shoes For Semi Trucks

Published: September 28, 2022

Semi-trailer trucks, also known as semi trucks, combine a tractor unit and a semi-trailer. The semi-trailer is attached to the semi-truck using a hitch to carry and move around cargo. On average, semi trucks usually weigh between 4,535 kgs (10,000 lbs) and 11,300 kgs (25,000 lbs) without trailers. 

The brake system of any vehicle, including all its components, is essential. However, brake shoes are considerably more critical on cars with more weight and momentum, such as semi trucks. They rely on their brakes to stop loads of up to 36,300 kgs (80,000 lbs), and the brake shoes provide the necessary friction to make this happen.

You should carefully consider certain factors when buying brake shoe replacements. Continue reading to learn more.

What Are Brake Shoes?

Having a pair of shoes allows you to move freely. They slow down your vehicles or put them to a complete halt. 

Brake pads are one of the most typical components of a disc brake system. Drum brakes are still used on some semi trucks. The brake shoes are the components that slow down the vehicle with drum brakes. 

How Do They Work?

A brake shoe is a curved piece of metal, usually crescent-shaped, with a rough material fitted on one side known as the brake shoe liner. They sit inside a brake drum, and whenever you brake, they get forced outward and pressed against the rotating drum to slow down the vehicle. 

The brake shoe liners sacrifice a small portion of their surface material every time you brake, which causes them to become thinner over time slowly. They wear items that must be replaced after a certain period to avoid dangerous road accidents.

What Are They Made From?

Like brake shoes, brake pads need to be durable enough to survive the intense friction and heat produced by the braking process. Most brake shoes are made from organic and metallic materials to give them the toughness they need. 

These materials are tightly bonded to keep them from shredding or breaking up from the combined heat, friction, and pressure. Brake shoes fit precisely into the rear wheels' brake drum and piston contact surface.

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

As the brake shoes wear down, they display a few symptoms that alert you of their decreased serviceability. When you’ve noticed your brake shoe failing, it’s best to replace them. Below are some things you should be mindful of when buying new brake shoes for your semi-truck.  

1. Compatibility

With the variety of brake drum sizes, brake shoes come in different sizes and models. Usually, brake shoes come in variants that show how aggressive their friction material is and how much brake torque they can handle. Choosing the proper brake shoes specific to your vehicle’s model and needs is necessary.   

2. Material

There are constant advancements in the materials used for brake shoes. These often result in lesser maintenance and operating costs, improved braking power, and overall functionality. It’s best to choose brake shoes made from suitable materials. They should be durable, heat-resistant, high-energy absorbent, and quiet.  

3. Brand

There are many companies in the automotive industry, and each company produces brake shoes with its unique design and process. These differences often determine whose brake shoes are more reliable and durable. However, we recommend OEM brake shoes engineered for maximum performance and strength.

4. Fitment

Before heading out of the shop, check whether the brake shoes are tightly fitted to ensure proper stopping. Upon replacing your brake shoes, it’s crucial to check for any abnormal sounds whenever pressure is applied to the brake pedals. It’s best also to examine the wheel cylinder for any brake oil leakages. 

5. Rust Resistance Coatings

Brake shoes are often exposed to water, dirt, and other debris that could make them rusty. Some manufacturers apply anti-rust and safety coatings to avoid rust forming around the brake shoes. 

These extend the service life of brake shoes, which translates to lesser maintenance and replacement costs. Whenever you are looking for replacements, always choose brake shoes with rust-preventing coatings. 

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