New (No Core) Brake Vs. Relined Brake Shoe

Understand the differences in new versus relined brake shoes to make the best decision for your heavy-duty application needs.

No matter if you choose a new (no core) brake shoe or a reline option, you want your brake shoe to be reliable, safe, and made of long-lasting brake components. Brake shoes, lining, and brake hardware kits for heavy-duty applications can take a beating so you need to get the best option.

There are many aspects to consider when choosing between a new brake shoe and a relined brake shoe like cost saving decisions, risks like shoe table distortion, corrosion & rust, and friction material loosening. At Wheelco, we want you to have the peace of mind to know your components have the added security, compliant standard, and peace of mind that you will avoid downtime and extensive repairs later.

In this article, we will guide you through your brake shoe purchasing decision that fits your heavy-duty application needs best.

  1. What Are Brake Shoes?
  2. What is the Difference Between New and Reline Brake Shoes?
  3. When Do You Need To Replace Your Brake Shoes?
  4. Should You Choose New Brake Shoes Over Relined?
  5. Wheelco Recommendation

What Are Brake Shoes?​

Brake shoes press against the drum to slow down and stop your machinery when it is in motion. Brake shoes will take the kinetic energy of your wheels and turn it into heat energy to slow down your rig. This heat eats away at the friction material over time from the pressure of being pressed against your drum. While this is a simple task for the brake shoe, they go through extreme stress during their lifespans to protect us and others that are on the roads.  By understanding what brake shoes are and the friction material options that are available, you can choose the best brake shoes for your heavy-duty applications.

What are New (No Core) Brake Shoes?​

New brake shoes, like our Gritline brake shoes, are long-lasting, decrease vehicle down-time and lower maintenance costs. Our new brake shoes, when installed with in-spec drums, cams, cam bushings, consistent automatic slack adjusters, and new brake hardware, provide excellent foundation brake balance. Utilizing our shoes will bring the truck to a smooth, steady, safe stop every time without the time-wasting handling of the dirty cores.

Relining Brake Shoe Process​

When relining a brake shoe core, every shoe must have the old friction removed and then go through a rigorous cleaning process, quality check, coining, which is the shaping of the shoe, and coating process before the new friction can be attached to the brake shoe.

Watch This Video! Learn more about the process of how relining brake shoe process happens. 

When Do You Need To Replace Your Brake Shoes?​

Brake shoes go through some tough use, and often they are the first part of your brakes that need replacement. Many truck brake shoes come with replacement indicators that warn drivers and service technicians that the friction material is too worn down and needs to be replaced. Ultimately, your brake shoes need to be replaced as follows:

Steering axle brakes. The brake lining/pad thickness on the steering axle of a truck, truck-tractor or bus shall not be less than 4.8 mm (3/16 inch) at the shoe center for a shoe with a continuous strip of lining; less than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch) at the shoe center for a shoe with two pads; or worn to the wear indicator if the lining is so marked, for air drum brakes.

Non-steering axle brakes. An air braked commercial motor vehicle shall not be operated with brake lining/pad thickness less than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch) or to the wear indicator if the lining is so marked (measured at the shoe center for drum brakes).

As best practice, you should replace all necessary brake components at the same time to ensure the lifespan of all parts are similar. If you are replacing your brake shoes, Wheelco recommends you install new heavy-duty brake hardware kits. When you service your brake shoes, you should also check other interrelated brake parts, such as your s-cams, the bushings and hardware for the s-cam, air hoses, slack adjuster and brake chambers.

Should You Choose New Brake Shoes Over Relined?​

Choosing between relined brake shoes and purchasing new brake shoes can be a challenging decision, when factoring in Safety, financial and environmental factors.

  1. While the only main benefit of choosing a relined brake shoe is the upfront cost savings, purchasing new brake shoes can actually save you more over time – These costs have been reported as higher as compared to the cost of a re-lined shoe, while a new shoe can add more life to linings and drums.
  2. Core handling, Costs to inspect the shoe, general “core handling” and connected costs, including vehicle wear and fuel costs with core pick-up.
  3. Relined brake shoes can easily become deformed after one brake cycle. With the excessive heat generated and intense amount of pressure that is placed on your brake shoes, a relined shoe sees more stress and fatigue over its lifespan because the brake shoe core is being reused. This means that relined brake shoes may see distortion, or “stretch,” with the shoe table, where the friction material sits. Without being properly coined or reshaped, a shoe table that is distorted, will no longer accurately fit the spider or match the drum, making it difficult to install new friction material and properly adjust, leaving your braking action mismatched and could cause premature wear on the friction.
  4. Rust may be a problem if moisture has set in from infiltrating between the friction material and shoe table. If this has happened, you will see corrosion and rust jacking which in turn affects your brake shoe table where your brake shoe is to be attached. The strength and integrity of the steel may be impaired. New brake shoes have no rust problems because the strength and integrity of the steel is unimpaired.
  5. Lastly, new brake shoes will have rivet holes that are dimensionally correct, allowing the rivets to properly clinch, holding the friction material to the brake shoe. If you choose a relined brake shoe, the rivets on worn friction materials are sheared or punched during removal. The pressure that is generated during these processes can impact the rivet hole quality resulting in loose friction material.

Wheelco Recommendation​

New Brake Shoe Recommendations

New Gritline brake shoes are a notch above the rest for “When It Takes True Grit.”  All our shoes are manufactured in compliance with ISO 9001 quality standards, using the Advanced Quality Planning and PPAP processes established by automotive and heavy-duty OEMs. Critical dimensional controls such as shoe radius are monitored and controlled to ensure that Gritline shoes provide uniform and balanced braking performance. Computerized gauges precisely measure individual brake shoe radius. Controls on the form of the shoe radius prevent hot spots which can shorten friction and drum life. Heat treatment of shoe anchor and cam slots prevent “mushrooming” of these critical interface points.

Gritline New (No Core) Brake Shoes Quality ​

Continuous Seam Welding​

Continuous Seam welding webs and tables provide complete welding coverage along the entire brake shoe table and the web. Continuous Seam welds provide a durable weld while minimizing distortion of the table form.

High-Grade Steel​

High-grade steel meets tightly controlled specifications to ensure strength, weld, and performance. High-grade carbon steel is used on all shoes for durability. Steel grades are monitored by certified laboratories.


E-coating (electro-deposition coating) stops rust before it starts, through electrochemically bonding paint to the steel of every new brake shoe to help reduce rust jacking. Gritline brake shoes are environmentally tested to withstand 960 hours of salt spray.

Gritline New (No Core) Brake Shoes​

We offer 20,000 lbs. GAWR, 23,000 lbs. GAWR and 23,000 lbs. severe duty GAWR brake shoes and kits for your heavy-duty needs.

Our Gritline New (No Core) Brake Shoes Advantages:​

  • Cut cost – Stop handling cores!
  • New steel ensures precise table geometry.
  • Continuous weld pattern for structural strength and durability.
  • Superior drum compatibility
  • Reducing maintenance and downtime
  • Engineered to perform.
  • Expect quality control.

Gritline Brake Friction Advantages:​

  • Has optimal Transverse Rapture/Flexural Strength to help resist cracking.
  • Provide good drum and friction wear, as well as excellent fade and recovery characteristics.

Wheelco Relined Brake Shoe Recommendations​

CoMan Centers bring together today’s most exacting manufacturing operations with industry-leading friction suppliers.  The result: high-quality new and remanufactured brake shoes and shoe kits. Using a unique multi-step process, they’ve created a superior product built to the precise needs of the most demanding customers, suitable for all vocations and weight ratings.

Corrosion Resistance ​

Brake shoes are extremely vulnerable to the destructive nature of rust. Road salt, acid rain, even air pollution, eat into the shoe, and without extreme measures, can come between paint and metal, seriously reducing the useful life of the brake shoe. That’s why they use an advanced system that combines cleaning, coating and curing to extend the lifecycle of a brake shoe, reducing waste and making fleet operating dollars go further.

Advanced Coating and Curing System​

Having a superior brake shoe requires a superior coating system. They’ve spent considerable time and effort to perfect the process of preparing and coating our shoes. They’ve taken great measures to mitigate “flash rusting” and “rust jacking” by chemically removing deteriorating chemicals. Once the surface is cleaned, our shoes are dip-coated in a special paint formulation at twice the industry standard thickness. Finally, the coating process is complete when the brake shoes travel through a 4-step drying system using a heated convection chamber. By following this disciplined process, we extend the lifecycle of a brake shoe, reduce waste, and maximize fleet operating dollars.

Still have questions about brake shoes, contact us.

Stop by any of our Wheelco locations today to speak with our team of aftermarket experts and service techs to match your heavy duty needs with brake linings that will stand up to the harsh weather elements. Give us a calltext, or message us through chat to get started today.

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