What is an emergency/parking brake shoe replacement?

An emergency brake shoe replacement will be necessary if your emergency brake shoes are failing. If your brake shoes are worn down beyond their proper thickness, they won’t work well and will need to be replaced.
The emergency brake shoe is a component that, when applied, locks the wheels on your car to prevent it from moving. Parking brake shoes are only in cars with rear disc drums (otherwise called rear rotors)—typically cars made after 1999.

How do you replace an emergency brake shoe?

Your mechanic will perform the following steps to replace a faulty emergency brake shoe:
Remove the rear discs to inspect the brake shoes. Check the thickness of the brake shoes. Your mechanic will replace the brake shoes if they are less than 30% of their original thickness. Install new brake shoes. Clean and inspect new brake shoes. Test car to make sure the hand brake is operating properly.

How important is it to get my emergency brake shoe replaced?

Think of it this way: if your emergency brake shoe is broken, your emergency brake won’t work. It’s not as serious as other things that can go wrong with your car (we’re looking at you, oil leaks), but you’ll still want to get it fixed as soon as possible.
The emergency brake is just that—a method of braking in serious emergencies. If you live in a hilly area, it’s especially important to get this replaced because the emergency brake keeps your car from rolling once it’s parked.

How do I know if my emergency brake shoe needs to be replaced?

Here are some signs that your emergency brake shoes might need to be replaced:
  • Your emergency brake isn’t working.
  • Your emergency brake doesn’t keep your parked car from moving.
  • Your emergency brake won’t release.
If any of these signs occur, take your car to your mechanic, so she can assess the condition of your emergency brake shoe.

Tips for getting your emergency brake shoe replaced

Remember that emergency brake shoes only appear in new cars that have rear rotors. At a routine brake service, your mechanic should inspect your emergency brake shoes—if they aren’t damaged, she should clean and adjust the brake shoes during routine maintenance.
Your malfunctioning brake shoe might just be a brake shoe with a lot of debris and contamination on it. In this case, your brake shoe may not need replacing.

Finding the right car insurance

After you figure out the issue with your emergency brake shoes, double-check that you have the right car insurance coverage.
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