What are brake linings, and what do they do? In this guide, I will take you through everything you need to know about brake linings. Is it time to change your heavy commercial vehicles or machine brake linings? To make the best choice when buying brake linings, you need to consider a couple of things, including the material and suitability. You also need to know more about the brake linings.
What Are Brake Linings?
They are an important part of the braking system. They are made with materials that produce powerful friction to stop moving machines or vehicles. These linings are fitted on brake shoes. Heavy commercial brake linings use the same approach but they are tougher.
How Do Brake Linings Work?
The brake system operates under the principle of friction. In a drum brake system, levers linking the linings to the brake cylinder attach the linings.
When you step on the brake pedal, pressure is generated within the brake cylinder, and pistons are pushed against the brake levers. The force on the brake levers pushes the linings against the inner drum surface. The friction generated by the pushing force resists the rolling motion of machines or vehicles and brings it to a stop.
If your vehicle has a disc brake, the linings are mounted on calipers and are surrounded by a rotor. When you step on the brake pedal, a piston forces the brake pads against the rotor, and friction created stops your moving truck.
Linings also have reverse side damping. These components, usually springs and sheets of metal, reduce the noise during braking.
Are They Important?
They are not only important, but they are also a must-have in commercial vehicles. They are among the essential parts of your vehicle’s braking system. When the brake pedals are pushed, the brake linings create friction, stopping your trucks or machines.
Types Of Brake Linings
They are categorized into types based on their materials. It is important to also note that brake shoes carry the linings in the drum and therefore equally important when choosing the material. The three most used linings materials are semi-metallic, ceramic fiber, and non-asbestos.
The ceramic fiber brake linings are primarily used in high-performance vehicles. Because they are lightweight, they are efficient in stopping metal-to-metal wear. They also have stable and predictable friction properties. Ceramic fiber also provides a consistent pedal feel regardless of the temperatures.
Despite their ability to remain steady when exposed to heat, they are not suitable for heavy commercial vehicles that require strong braking force. They are also costly and might not be economical when you have a fleet of trucks or machines.
Semi-metallic linings are made with 65% metal. The main types of metal mixed to make them are iron, steel, brass, and copper. If you want to change your trucks’ brake linings, semi-metallic linings are more durable and suitable for heavy trucks and machines where brakes run hot and work harder.
Semi-metallic linings also resist heat and wear less compared to ceramic fiber linings. They work better in heavy commercial vehicles and machines because they have a high percentage of iron or steel.
The downside of using semi-metallic linings is that they easily wear when used in vehicles whose brake system does not produce high temperatures. They are noisier and produce a lot of dust than ceramic fiber linings.
What are important requirements for brake linings?
To be effective, your linings should accomplish the following:
Stopping moving trucks involves converting their kinetic energy into heat. Therefore, choose the heat-resistant linings for your brakes.
Reasonable Wear Rate
The linings you select should not be too soft because they might have a short life span. It should not be tough to damage your rotor or drum. When you have linings that wear at a reasonable rate, they won’t need frequent replacement.
Low thermal conductivity
Friction between the linings and the drum or rotor produces heat. Opt for linings that absorb less heat to prevent temperature buildup in your machine’s braking system.
How long do brake linings last?
We cannot state with certainty how long linings for your heavy commercial vehicles and machines can last. When driven in urban areas, you need to replace the linings after every 25,000 to 35,000 miles. However, if they are regularly driven in less demanding areas along the highway, they can last up to 80,000 miles.
The service life of your trucks’ linings also depends on the following factors:
The driving conditions
When you drive your trucks in areas with high traffic, you engage your brakes constantly. When you keep applying force on the linings, their service life reduces. On the other hand, when you drive in areas with less traffic where you are not required to brake often, your linings last longer.
When driving in hilly areas where you constantly need to brake, your linings won’t last long compared to an individual driving in a relatively flat area.
Your driving style
Do you regularly rest your foot on the brake pedal? By constantly resting your foot on the brake pedal, you increase the pressure on your linings, reducing their service life.
The type of transmission on your trucks or machines
The type of transmission used in your fleet of trucks also determines how long your linings can last. If your trucks are manually transmitted, they don’t entirely rely on the braking system while slowing down. Therefore, linings on manually transmitted trucks may last longer than on automatic trucks.
When Should You Replace Brake Linings?
With a bit of attention and consideration, it is easier to know when your fleet of trucks or machines needs linings replacement. Some of the indicators are:
If your truck's stopping distance increases
If your trucks or machines take longer to stop after stepping on the brakes, you may need to change your linings. Your existing ones might be worn-out.
If the trucks braking system is producing squeaking and squalling noises
Squeaking and squalling noises are an indicator that your linings are worn-out. The noises are produced when the linings are worn-out. If you don’t replace your linings, they might start making a grinding sound, meaning that your rotors or drums are being damaged.
When the braking system starts producing a grinding sound during braking
As indicated above, a grinding sound coming from your braking system implies that your linings are worn-out. Some braking systems can also produce sound. They are designed so that when the linings are worn-out, some metal indicators make a noise to warn you.
When your brake linings are thin
The minimum size of your truck’s linings is a quarter inch. If you inspect your linings and notice they are less than a quarter-inch, you need to replace them.
How to make your brake linings last longer
If you have a fleet of heavy commercial trucks or machines, you know the importance of having the linings in good working condition. Some of the ways you can increase their service life include:
Drive your machines or trucks at recommended speeds
Maintaining the recommended speed of your machines or trucks can increase the service life of the linings. When your machines or trucks are operating at an optimal speed, stopping requires less force, which reduces pressure on your linings, and they last longer.
Minimize the weight on your trucks or machines
Maintain recommended load capacity of the truck. You need to inspect your trucks to ensure they carry the right weight. Optimal loads, optimal driving speeds, and driving conditions make it easier for the trucks to brake easily and comfortably.
Use engine braking
Sometimes, it is necessary to take the pressure off your linings. If your vehicle is manually transmitted, you can use engine braking. It will increase your linings’ service life since you will only use them during emergency braking.
Avoid riding your trucks or machines’ brakes.
While heading downhill, don’t push your brakes all the way down. It increases the force on the linings. Also, avoid using your brake as a footrest because you are creating unnecessary pressure on your brake linings.
Are you looking for brake linings for your heavy commercial vehicles and machines to increase performance, safety, and value? Look no further! At Al Tabreed we’ve got you covered. Contact us today, and let us get started.