How To Replace Drum Brakes Like A Pro?

Jul, 2017
How To Replace Drum Brakes Like A Pro

Can you think of advancing your car even for an inch without a proper brake? Probably, you can’t. Therefore, you need to keep it perfectly good all the time. You know, there are two kinds of braking options; the drum brakes and the disc brakes. The former is generally used on the rear axle and functions as the parking brake.

The disc brakes are used both on the rear as well as the front one. The disc brake makes use of brake rotor, whereas the drum brakes house friction-lined brake shoes. Disc brake has comparatively more longevity. You can easily replace drum brakes by adopting the following 4 Major steps, included with further sub-steps


  • Materials required are Brake shoes, aerosol brake cleaner, drum brakes, digital micrometer, drum brake adjustment tool, jack with stand, oil draining pan, needle nose pliers, assorted sizes of ratchets and socket, blocks of wood, safety glasses, tool kit for drum brake, protective gloves and repair manuals.
  • Take out the wheel hubcaps covering the lug nut and loosen them. After loosening the nuts, raise it and keep it secure on the jack stands. For securing the vehicle, use the wooden blocks, so that the car does not roll off.



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  • Remove the brake shoes to expose the brake drum. Remove the brake drum back and forth for removing it from the hub. If required, put more force.
  • Clean the inner assembly such as springs, shoes, car cylinder, drain out the brake oil onto a pan and spray the entire assembly with brake cleaner to remove the entire dust particles; otherwise, the dust may cause uneven wear and noise.
  • Measure the thickness of the old shoes with a digital micrometer and change them if the thickness is less than 1/16th. Make a thorough check for the cracking, scoring or grooving and check the wheel cylinders. If the brake fluid is leaking, replace it.
  • By using needle-nose pliers, remove the shoe retaining springs. If you loosen the top spring, it will loosen the overall tension, and you can easily remove the lower springs. If the shoes are tensioned with pins and washers, pull them free by using needle nose pliers
  • Check for any leakage and if found, replace the brake wheel cylinders, immediately. Next, go in for reassembly.
  • Remove the retainer clip of the parking brake cable by twisting it with a pair of pliers or by prying with flat- head screwdriver.


  • Clean the baking plate by lubricating it. After that, apply brake lubricant to the anchor of the pin, bosses, and the lever pivot surface of the parking brake actuating lever.
  • Slide the pin through the replaced shoe and install the new shoe into it. Then reinstall the brake retaining clip.
  • Next step is to install the adjusting screw assembly and the spring.
  • Reinstall the new brake shoes onto the hub. Put it secured in its place using washers and pins.
  • After the shoe brake is kept secured in its place, reinstall the tension springs in its reverse order. Now the entire drum brake assembly is reassembled.
  • You are now to install the springs and the hold down pins and then the return pins.
  • By a screwdriver, make adjustments to the brakes so that its shoes expand.



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  • Before installing the drum, spray it with brake cleaner so as to remove any film coated on it.
  • Slip the drum over the brake shoes and put it on the hub, by adjusting the shoes, if required.
  • For the final adjustment of the brake drum, ensure that it is neither loose nor tightened, as otherwise, it may damage both the drums and the shoes. You can find the brake adjuster inside the hub.
  • After putting the while and tire on their places, tighten the lug nuts.
  • After jacking up the car, remove the jack and the stand.
  • After removing the wheel chocks, torque the wheel lug as specified in the owner’s manual
  • Repeat the same steps for the other rear wheel.
  • Check the brakes by applying hydraulic pressure on the brake pedal.

Now that you are conversant with the replacement of drum brakes, it is pertinent for you to be aware of the utilities and advantages of the best brake controllers. These are especially beneficial for towing a vehicle. The brake controller is an external device, installed on the dash of the vehicle that is towing another vehicle. When the driver of the towing vehicle applies the brake, a message is electronically transmitted to the brakes of the towed vehicle that it must stop.

When the towing vehicle applies the brake, the towed vehicle continues to move at the same velocity and causes a domino effect which is a great threat to the safety of both the vehicles. There are two kinds of the brake controller. The Time-delayed one applies a pre-determined pressure on the brakes of the towed vehicle. The second category is called Proportional and is comparatively cheaper.

replace drum brakes

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According to your budget and need, you can opt for any one of the following well-performing brake controllers:

  • Reese Towpower 850711; Brakeman
  • Tekonsha 90885, Prodigy
  • Hopkins 47284, Reliance
  • Tekonsha 90195 P3
  • Draw-Tite 201911-Stop

If you are a conscious vehicle owner, you know how essential it is to use quality brake fluid. It makes the brakes of your vehicle operate perfectly and thus provide absolute safety, while you are driving your vehicle. When you apply the brake, heat is generated. If your brake components are overheated, there is every possibility of brake failure. Brake fluid prevents overheating. Other functions of brake fluid are it keeps the moving parts perfectly lubricated and protects them from corrosion. It reduces the wear and tear of the moving components.

There are mainly three types of brake fluids. They are:

  • DOT 3 is Glycol-based that attracts water and has the lowest boiling point.
  • DOT 4 too is Glycol-based but has a little higher boiling point.
  • DOT 5 is silicon based and does not attract water. It has a higher boiling point.

You can choose the best brake fluid out of the following:

  • Prestone AS 400 which is DOT 3 type
  • ATE 706202 TYP 200 which is DOT 4 type
  • Motul RBF 600 which is DOT 4 type

The brake is the life-saving components of your vehicle. You should know to replace the drum brakes as a professional. Never compromise on price when it comes to the use of brake fluid. If you are vehicle uses trailers, it will be your prudent decision to make use of a brake controller.