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Question:

If worn, what can cause excessive heat buildup from a reduced ability to absorb and dissipate heat, possibly leading to loss of brake response?

A Brake drum / linings
Explaination

Brake linings use friction to turn the vehicle's kinetic energy into heat. However, excessive heat from overuse of the brakes may cause the brake linings to wear out faster, leading to brake fade or failure. Also, if one brake is out of adjustment and can't do its job, the other brakes will have to work harder, causing them to overheat.