How Long Do Brake Shoes Last?

The braking system has some of the most vital components of every vehicle; without it, you would be driving without stopping, which can be disastrous. Brake failure is a product of one or more faults within the components of the braking system.

Most braking system components are designed to last long, some as long as the vehicle’s lifespan; one of those components is the brake shoes. You may be wondering, “How long do brake shoes last?” A vehicle’s brake shoes are some of the most durable components in the whole assembly. Let’s find out how long these components last.

How Long Do Brake Shoes Last?

A vehicle’s brake shoes are designed and expected to last for 30,000 to 35,000 miles without defects under normal driving and maintenance conditions. These conditions involve an excellent driving style, regular maintenance culture, good road conditions, favorable weather conditions, etc.

how long do brake pads last km

However, a vehicle’s brake shoes may become defective and unable to last up to the specified period as stated above because of the reversal of the ideal conditions that enable them last up to specification.

Uncertainties such as accidents and brake fluid leaks can also hinder the longevity of a vehicle’s brake shoes. Hence, a vehicle’s brake shoes may not last up to the anticipated time frame due to bad driving habits, bad roads, poor weather conditions, etc.

Defective brake shoes can also lead to the damage of other components of the brake system; therefore, you must keep a close watch to ascertain when your car’s brake shoes need to be replaced. The brake shoes are hard components that any defect with them can easily be noticed so that you are promptly informed of a necessary replacement when the need arises.

If you are careful and lucky enough, you may only have to change your vehicle’s brake shoes a couple of times during the vehicle’s lifespan. A careless driver may have to repeat a replacement every 10,000 – 15,000 miles.

It would be best to help save you the stress, energy, and money required for brake shoe replacement. For those asking, “How long do brake discs last?” The information above provides you with a glimpse of an idea about the lifespan of the various components of the braking system.

how long do brake shoes last


Q: How often should brake shoes be replaced?

Brake shoes are not components that quickly wear out in a vehicle; hence, they may not be replaced as early as other fragile parts. The brake shoes of some cars can last as long as 30,000 miles or more, while the brake shoes of others may not stay more than 15,000 miles because of many factors such as the driver’s driving style, driving conditions, the quality of the brake shoes in use, etc.

Your vehicle’s brake shoes are not guaranteed to last forever; however, you can determine if they will stay until their specified lifespan by how you drive and your vehicle maintenance culture.

Poor vehicle maintenance culture plus bad driving style equals quick to wear out of vehicle parts, including the brake shoes, and vice versa. If you are also curious to know, “How long do brake rotors last before replacement?” They last for about 70,000 miles.

Q: How do you know when brake shoes need replacing?

There are many signs that let you know when to replace your vehicle’s brake shoes, and it would be best to replace them as soon as you notice these signs. They are;

Grinding sound

One of the primary signs that let you know that your brake shoes need replacement is that your braking system produces a grinding noise whenever you apply the brakes.

When your vehicle’s brake shoes wear out, it only leaves the metal shoe platform; when you press down the brake pedal while driving, instead of quiet braking, the metallic part of the brake shoe that is left will be pressed against the inside part of the drum thereby producing a loud grinding or scraping noise.

Do not try to manage this situation as it may lead to more damage to your car’s braking system. When you consistently hear noise when braking, endeavor to change the brake shoes as soon as possible. If you are wondering, “How long do brakes last after squeaking?” The time frame is not specific, as you may experience an unexpected brake failure. To avoid this, go for a replacement of any faulty components.


Vehicles with drum brakes as their rear brakes may produce vibrations when the brake shoes are worn out to the point where they can no longer be firmly pressed against the drum. The vibrations make the brake pedal feel inconsistent when pressed down. If you experience vibrations when engaging your vehicle’s brakes or your car shakes when braking, you most likely need a brake shoe replacement.

Loose hand brake

Have you experienced a situation where you pull your vehicle’s hand brake, yet the car still had to move an inch before it completely stops? The brake shoes are likely defective in this case, and they need to be replaced.

Sometimes, if a vehicle’s hand brake requires a vigorous pull to work efficiently, you may have to inspect the brake shoes to see whether they need replacing or adjustment. You could also check to see if it’s a loose hand brake cable that is responsible.

Vehicle pulling

If your car pulls down to one side when you are driving, it is a sign that the front brake shoes have worn out unevenly (one-sided wear). You would need to replace the brake shoes before this situation can be corrected.

Q: How long do brake drums and shoes last?

A vehicle’s brake drums and shoes are durable components designed to last for a long time. The brake drums are expected to last for about 150,000 to 200,000 miles; while, the brake shoes are expected to last for about 30,000 miles under normal driving and maintenance conditions. If you are asking, “How long do rear brakes last?” You may want to consider the time frame stated above.

Q: Do parking brake shoes wear out?

Yes, parking brake shoes wear out. They are typically designed and expected to last for around 30,000 to 35,000 miles under normal driving and maintenance conditions.

You may have to clean them properly at times when you experience a minor issue. They may also require a replacement when they wear out due to bad driving habits or poor maintenance culture.

If your car’s parking brake shoes wear out, you will likely experience a slight rolling forward or backward whenever you apply the parking brake, especially on a steep surface. To avoid this, endeavor to inspect the brake shoes and make a necessary replacement if necessary.

Q: How much does it cost to replace brake shoes?

The cost of replacing brake shoes is estimated at around $200 to $280. The price differs from one location to another, as well as from one dealer to another. Rear brake drums and shoes cost about $230 to $340 for the complete replacement.

Parts cost between $60 to $120; while, labor costs are estimated at around $170 to $220. However, these are estimated costs; endeavor to see a dealer or an auto mechanic near you.

Q: Do drum brakes adjust themselves?

Yes, drum brakes adjust themselves, unlike a stuck brake caliper which cannot fix itself. The adjustment involves a forward or backward movement. Usually, there is one initial adjustment before an even self-adjustment.

A pulley will spin the adjustment wheel when the brake shoes move too far before touching the drums. Then, the adjustment wheel picks and adjusts the brake shoes further out a bit.

Final Words

Since the brake shoes are some of the most durable components of a vehicle braking system, you may be curious to know, “How long do brake shoes last?” sufficient information has been provided for your awareness in this article. It is essential to note that a vehicle’s brake shoes’ specified lifespan may not be a reality for some cars because of driving habits, road conditions, maintenance culture, etc.

Therefore, it is left for you to determine how long your vehicle’s brake shoes would last. While one vehicle’s brake shoes would attempt to survive 35,000 miles before replacement, another may not cross 15,000.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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