The use of surface analysis to investigate brake elements shows how a pair in contact works and wears out during regular operation. The main purpose of this paper is to describe the asperities from initial state to a moment when further use of the drum and shoe is not possible. Between exchange of vital brake elements a truck with total mass exceeding 3.5 tons can cover as many as 300 000 kilometres. Use of brakes during the first 1000 kilometres after maintenance should be rather gentle with possibly intensive use of engine brake installed in the truck itself, because if this rule is not adhered to it may lead to a significant decrease of the braking force and on the surface of the pair in contact a layer will appear that is not possible to wear off and that will make it impossible to stop a truck using brakes. In that condition the shoe should be immediately replaced and the drum should be remachined (by turning) to a repair dimension. In the paper the condition and analysis of a surface after different course of exploitation was presented.