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Drum Brake Replacement

Rahul Thadani
Most vehicles have drum brakes on their rear wheels, and sometimes it's necessary to replace them. This involves knowledge of the braking mechanism. This story takes you through the process of replacing the drum brakes.
Replacing the drum brake is necessary from time to time as they wear out over a period of continuous use. If they are not replaced it can be very dangerous to drive. Many vehicles today have disc brakes on their front wheels, but owners may still opt for the conventional drum brakes for the rear wheels.
The reason for this is that drum brakes are comparatively cheaper and easier to install, it is also easier to synchronize the parking brake with a drum brake rather than a disc brake.
Carrying out drum brake repair is absolutely essential to maintain the safety of a vehicle. If you are well versed with the workings of automobiles and their various parts (especially the braking mechanisms) then you can carry out the replacement yourself. By doing so, and with timely repairs you can avoid the possibility of accidents due to faulty brakes.


List of things that you will need:
  • Jack stand
  • Wrenches
  • Brake retainer tool
  • Brake spring pliers
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • White lithium grease
  • New brake shoes
This is a long and complicated process, so follow these instructions with care.
First, remove about half the brake fluid from the master cylinder and dispose of it properly. Jack your vehicle up and remove the wheel. Make sure your vehicle is raised with proper jack stands, and that the surface is even. Do one wheel at a time, so that you can use the other side for your own reference.
You need to remove the old brake drum by locating a round clip and cutting it off. This round clip will be located on the wheel studs. This is an easy process for rear-wheel drive cars, but for a front-wheel drive car you will need to remove the bearing cap and wheel bearings first.
Only then will you be able to remove the brake drum. If you feel a resistance while pulling out the brake drum, then you may either apply some lubricant or turn the brake adjustment screw.
Always keep a manual with you for immediate reference of parts and positions, and if possible take pictures along with each step so that you know what part goes where. If there is a parking brake cable attached to the brake drum then you will need to remove that before you can proceed. You need to remove the springs that attach the brake shoes to the wheel cylinder, and then remove the brake shoes as well. You may repair, or discard the brake drums if you wish to do so. The next step in the process is the re-installation of the brake drum.

Reinstall Brake Drums

First, you need to replace the brake shoes in the exact manner that you removed them, and also attach the self adjustment screw assembly. This is where the pictures that you took earlier or the manual will come in handy. Reinsert the brake drum in its original place and make sure that it spins freely against the brake lining. Carry out the procedure for the other side and then reattach the wheels. Take the vehicle out for a test drive and check if the brakes are working properly.
Please note that the instructions given here are merely for information, if you want a proper detailed set of guidelines you must either visit a mechanic or a car repair shop. The replacement cost that they will charge you will only be a small price to pay. The brakes are an important part of the vehicle and you cannot afford to experiment with them.