I just got my rear brakes (shoes) replaced and new drums on my '97 Toyota 4Runner. They weren't squealing or going all the way to the floor, but hadn't been replaced in the past 8 years. Shouldn't I be able to tell a difference in how the braking feels with the new parts?
Are you having a braking problem now? If the brakes where properly adjusted before and were just replaced because of age, the new brakes (being properly adjusted) wont feel much different.
April, 13, 2011 AT 11:24 PM
Absolutely not. In effect what you're saying is the brakes should have been worse with the old shoes, and who would want that? Manufacturers spend a lot of research time and money developing brakes that are balanced front-to-rear for a specific vehicle's weight distribution. Part of the variables has to do with the coefficient of friction between the linings and rotors and drums. It is very important that replacement linings from any manufacturer maintains that same coefficient of friction. Companies that advertise better stopping power are misleading you. No one wants rear brakes that stop better than the front ones. That means they'll lock up easier, and skidding tires don't have traction or stopping ability.
What you MIGHT find is most brakes require less pedal effort after about a 100 mile break-in period. New linings and new or machined rotors and drums have microscopic irregularities that will wear away over time until the friction surfaces match perfectly. That's when their performance will be the best. Until then, understand that the new brakes will not perform at their best. It is fairly common that this means you will have to push the brake pedal harder to stop. Many shops warn you with tags hanging from the mirror to go easy for a few days. Pushing harder on the pedal to get the vehicle to stop will overheat the linings and lead to one type of brake fade where the pedal feels fine but the car just keeps on going. That means out of desperation, you push even harder and the problem gets worse until you have no brakes at all. If that happens, the only but proper fix is to let the brakes cool down for an hour or two, then drive like normal. The friction will come back when the linings cool down, and by that time the problem will likely never show up again.
April, 13, 2011 AT 11:29 PM
Hey Caradiodoc, Happy Wednesday, thanks for the detailed info.