What is the Handbrake Shoe all about?
The job of the handbrake shoes is to hold the car in place (prevent the car from rolling) when you use the handbrake. Handbrake shoes are installed on cars that have rear rotors (also known as rear disc brakes). Most new cars (made after 1999) have rotors at the rear wheels. In the older cars that have drums at the rear wheels, the brake shoes inside the rear drums act as the handbrake shoes.
Keep in mind:
- Handbrake shoes only exist on vehicles with rear rotors.
- The thickness of the brake shoe will let the mechanic know if it needs replacing.
- Sometimes a handbrake shoe will have debris or contamination; if this is cleaned off, the shoe may not need replacing.
How it’s done:
- Inspect handbrake shoes by removing the rear rotors.
- If the thickness is less than 30% of the original, install new shoes.
- Clean and adjust if necessary.
- Confirm operation of the handbrake.
Handbrake shoes are the most overlooked part of the brake system. A mechanic should inspect the handbrake shoes while performing a brake service (changing the rear brake pads or rotors). If the shoes are in good condition, the mechanic should clean and adjust the shoes. If you notice a change in the way parking brake lever feels (easier or harder to pull), or if the car rolls after putting the handbrake, you should immediately get it inspected and replaced.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Handbrake Shoe?
- Handbrake does not hold the car.
- Handbrake does not work.
- Handbrake does not release.
How important is this service?
When you engage the handbrake, the handbrake shoes hold the car in place by clamping against the rear brake rotors. These shoes assure that the wheels cannot turn, and your car cannot roll. As the handbrake shoes wear out, they become thinner, and cannot apply as much pressure to the rotors, making them much less effective and putting your car at risk of moving out of its parked position.