Brake Drum Replacement
A Guide to Brake Drum Replacement
Over- time the performance of your car’s wheels, tires, and steering could be out of line due to brake drum & braking systems problems. Braking is an essential component of your vehicle’s safety system and the braking system components have to be consistently inspected for significant issues before driving.
If you suspect failure of your service breaks, there are a few different reasons. Whatever is no longer reliable needs replacement, but the brake drum repair depends on what part of the braking system is causing you to have problems.
What Are Brake Drums?
A brake drum is a brake system that looks like a shallow cylinder of about 9-12 inches in diameter. It’s made using cast iron and so it’s tall and heavy.
Most modern vehicles have disc brakes, though some have drum brakes on the rear axle. These rear drum brakes also work as parking brakes, connected to the parking brake mechanisms by parking brake cables.
How Do They Work?
The brake drum covers the wheel, cylinder, springs and clips, brake shoes, and the parking brake system. When you apply brakes, the brake shoes make contact with the interior circumference of the brake drum.
This transmits hydraulic pressure through the wheel cylinder, forcing the brake shoes outward. The friction created then causes the car to slow down.
What Are the Signs That You Need to Replace Brake Drums?
With proper maintenance, rear drum brakes can last up to 150,000 miles. There are no specified intervals for brake drum replacement from car manufacturers, but they recommend regular inspections, often done during tire rotation.
Just like changing wheel bearings, in the service manual, car manufacturers have specifications and guidelines for mechanics, on how to fix the brake drum and brake replacement processes.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to get your car checked.
- Reduced Brake Effectiveness
Any wearing, scoring, or cracking of the brake drum increases the stopping distance. If the brake drum wears out, it’s restored on a brake lathe if there’s enough metal material remaining.
If the drum cracks, prioritize immediate brake drum replacement.
- Pulsating Brakes, Vibration, Or Noise
Metal-to-metal contact in the brake drum causes the pedals to pulsate or produce vibration and noise when you apply the brakes.
This contact happens if the brake drum warps, unevenly worn or if the brake shoes are completely worn out.
- Brake Shoe Replacement
The brake drum needs replacement, resurfacing, or machining any time you replace the brake shoes. If not, the new brakes will not be as effective.
Machining makes the drums thinner and they over-heat faster, so brake drum replacement is preferable.
Parking Brake Malfunction
The parking brake works by locking the brake shoes against the brake drum. A crack in the brake drum causes the parking brake lever to pull up more than required, so the car is still able to roll.
If the parking brake is not well adjusted or the parking brake components stop moving, the brake drum needs to come off.
Other signs include;
- A change in how the brake pedal feels is a sign that air has reached the brake lines. It could be too soft, too hard, or too slow-moving when pressed to the floor.
- The car pulling to one side when you apply brakes indicates a leak in the brake drag
- One wheel overheating
- Brake-related warning lighting up means you need a brake job
- Unequal braking on both sides of the car indicates a brake fluid leakage
- It’s important to talk to a professional on how to fix the brake drum if you see these signs, for safety reasons.
Tips to Lengthen the Life of Your Brakes
It’s easy to make yourself a safer, more skillful, and overall better driver with some well-placed adjustments in your habits.
- Any brake drum elements are always replaced in pairs, the mechanic can vent and check the braking system after brake replacement.
- Breaking hard puts equal pressure on the brake pads, causing them to wear. Avoid decelerating fast from high speed so as not to strain the brakes.
- The heavier the car, the more strain it puts on the brake pads even when stationary. Unload your car, and avoid driving often with a heavyweight in your car.
- Regular brake inspections allow you to fix a small issue on time before brake replacement becomes expensive.