You're clearly the smart kind of shopper if you're reading this guide-safety is too precious a thing to leave to chance. A brake shoe set is a deeply integral component of brakes in most modern cars and are most responsible for bringing your vehicle to a stop when you engage the brakes. In this guide you will find all the information you need to get a good set for your ride.
There are two kinds of braking systems out there: drum and disc brakes. They function exactly the same way, in principle. The difference that is important for you to know right now is that you will only need a brake shoe if your ride runs on drum brakes. You can tell that easily because calipers on a disc system are far larger and bulkier. Brake shoes are slender and semi-circular.
Does one size fit all?
"Yes and no" is the unfortunately confusing answer. You see, these are fairly standard in size-that much is true. The problem lies in the specific attachment points-the variation is very slight with an odd screw and bolt out of place, but significant enough to warrant careful research. If possible, consult the manual for your vehicle or for the currently installed brake shoe.
Chances are good that it will have an 8-digit OE number. If you find that out, it's a simple matter of refining your search to brake shoes that are specific to that number!
Performance or replacement?
The difference between high-end performance brake shoes and those more affordable replacements can run between $20-30, so it's an important question to ask. Well, it all boils down to what kind of performance do you need? If you're a die-hard, rough-and-tumble racer then, by all means, go for the performance sets. If you honestly just want brake shoes that get you through the day, there is simply no way to justify spending too much when a replacement is more than adequate.