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Everything About Brake Lining

Have you ever wondered how your braking system works? The secret lies in your brake lining. These components play an essential role in your vehicle’s braking system, ensuring safety and control when driving. In this article, we will cover all you need to know about brake linings, from their function, types, maintenance, and more. Keep reading to find out.

What is a Brake Lining?

Brake linings are the friction materials that press against your brake drum when you step on your brake pedal. These components help you slow down or stop your vehicle safely.

Brake linings create friction against other parts of the braking system when you apply pressure on the brake pedal, decelerating your vehicle. Brake linings are attached to the surface of your vehicle’s brake shoe through bonding or riveting.

How do Brake Lining Work?

When you press the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is transmitted through the brake lines to the brake calipers. This pressure forces the brake linings to come into contact with the the brake drums in the drum brake system. The resulting friction converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into heat, eventually slowing down or stopping your vehicle.

High-quality brake linings are designed to strike the perfect balance between generating friction for stopping power and dissipating heat to prevent brake fade. They can withstand high temperatures and intense pressure, their effectiveness over extended periods.

The Composition of Brake Lining material

Brake linings are built using different elements that work together to ensure optimal brake performance. These components include:

Friction Material

This is one of the most crucial components of the brake lining. The friction material generates the necessary friction during braking. Common friction materials include organic compounds, semi-metallic, and ceramic components.


The adhesive binds the friction material to the backing plate of the brake shoe or pad. It provides stability and prevents the separation of the friction material from the backing plate under intense braking conditions.


Fillers are added to the friction material to enhance its properties, such as heat dissipation, noise reduction, and durability.

Types of Brake Linings

Brake linings come in various types, each offering unique characteristics suited for different driving conditions and vehicle applications:

Organic Brake Linings

Organic brake linings are made from natural materials, such as rubber, glass, and resin. These brake linings provide smooth and quiet braking performance. They are suitable for everyday driving conditions but tend to wear faster under heavy use. Organic brake linings are ideal for lightweight vehicles but might not be the right choice for a heavy-duty commercial truck.

Semi-Metallic Brake Linings

These brake linings are made from a blend of organic materials and metal fibers. They offer excellent heat dissipation and durability, making them ideal for high-performance and heavy-duty vehicles.

Ceramic Brake Linings

Ceramic materials are of higher quality than semi-metallic and organic ones. They are, however more expensive than other materials. Ceramic brake linings are composed of non-ferrous materials, making them lightweight and highly efficient in dissipating heat. They provide consistent braking performance and have a longer lifespan.

Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) Brake Linings

Non-Asbestos brake linings are eco-friendly and are made from a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. They deliver reliable braking performance without producing harmful dust.

Benefits of Brake Shoe Lining

Brake linings offer several benefits that contribute to your vehicle’s overall safety and performance. Here are some key advantages of using brake linings:

Effective Stopping Power

Brake linings are designed to provide reliable stopping power. When you press the brake pedal, the friction between the brake linings and the brake drum or rotor creates the necessary resistance to stop your vehicle efficiently.

Vehicle Safety

One of the most crucial benefits of brake linings is their role in vehicle safety. A well-functioning braking system, backed by reliable brake linings, helps you control your vehicle. Brake linings reduce the stopping distance, preventing road accidents and potential collisions.

Environmental Friendliness

Modern brake linings are manufactured with a focus on environmental sustainability. Most manufacturers produce asbestos-free brake linings, which reduce the release of harmful particles into the air during braking.

Signs of Worn-Out Brake Lining

While brake linings are crucial for effective braking, they are prone to wear and tear after prolonged use. Recognizing the signs of worn-out brake linings helps you maintain optimal braking performance and safety. Look out for the following signs:

Screeching and Squealing Noises

If you hear screeching or squealing sounds when applying your brakes, they could indicate that your brake linings are worn out. These noises are produced by a small metal indicator known as the wear indicator. This metal indicator comes into contact with the brake rotor when the linings are thin.

Grinding Noise

If the brake linings are excessively worn, you may hear a grinding or growling noise when braking. This noise occurs when the brake shoe’s metal backing directly presses against the brake drum, causing damage to both components.

Reduced Braking Performance

If you notice that your vehicle takes longer to come to a complete stop or the brake pedal feels spongy, it might be due to worn linings.

Brake Dust

Excessive brake dust on the wheels can be a sign of deteriorating brake linings.

How To Maintain Brake Lining

Maintaining brake linings helps you ensure the safety and longevity of your vehicle’s braking system. Here is how to properly maintain your brake linings.

Regular Inspections

Schedule regular inspections of your vehicle’s braking system by a professional mechanic. They can check the condition of the brake linings, brake pads, and other brake components to identify any signs of wear or damage.

Avoid Overloading

Avoid overloading your vehicle beyond its recommended capacity. Carrying excessive weight puts additional strain on the brakes, causing your brake linings to wear out quickly.

Review your Braking Habits

Practice smooth and gradual braking instead of harsh and sudden stops. Aggressive braking can quickly wear out the brake linings and generate excessive heat, leading to brake fade.

Address Issues Promptly

If you notice any unusual noises, vibrations, or changes in braking performance, call a professional mechanic to inspect and repair your brake linings promptly to prevent further damage.

Common FAQs About Disc Brake Linings

Are brake linings the same as brake pads?

No, brake linings are quite different from brake pads. Brake linings are commonly riveted or bonded to brake shoes in drum brake systems. On the other hand, brake pads are the friction materials used in disc brake systems, which are more common in modern vehicles.

How do I know if my brake linings are bad?

You can check if your brake linings are faulty by looking for these signs:

  • Strange screeching, squealing, or grinding noises
  • Longer braking distances.
  • The brake pedal feels soft or spongy.
  • Vibrations or pulsations in the brake pedal.

What causes brake lining wear?

Brake lining wear is primarily caused by the friction and heat generated during braking. Other factors that contribute to brake lining wear include:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Overloading
  • Low-quality brake lining materials
  • Environmental factors

When should I replace my brake linings?

You should replace brake linings when they show signs of significant wear. The specific replacement interval can vary depending on your driving habits, the type of brake system, and the quality of your brake linings. Generally, you can replace your brake linings once they wear down to around 3-4 millimeters.

Brake Linings

Brake linings are integral to your vehicle's braking system, ensuring safe and reliable driving experiences. Understanding your brake linings’ composition, types, working principle, and maintenance is vital to ensure your safety and the longevity of your braking system. Regular inspections, timely replacements, and safe driving practices contribute to optimal brake lining performance and overall road safety. If you require more assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today.