How to Replace Drum Brakes

Are your car brakes wearing thin? Having your drum brakes replaced at an auto repair shop can be quite costly. However, if you have some basic tools at home and a car jack, you can do the job yourself. Even if you aren’t necessarily an experienced car repair technician, by following the simple steps below you can replace drums brakes yourself. Keep in mind that for safety reasons, you should invest in a safety mask beforehand. This is mainly due to the fact that some brake components can contain asbestos, which is harmful to your health if inhaled.



Remove the Hubcap from the Tire

Take the hubcap away from the tire and raise the car by using a jack. Once you have done this, you can then finish removing the nuts that hold the tire in place and remove the tire itself.


Apply Penetrating Oil to the Wheel

Coat the wheel’s hub with a generous amount of penetrating oil. You can buy this oil in any auto supply store or online. You can then remove the brake drum by grasping its edges and pulling it away.


Assess the Drum

Take a close look at the drum. If it does have any noticeable marks on it, then it may need to be resurfaced. It it’s in good condition, take note of where all of the levers and springs are located. This will serve to make the re-installation process much easier.


Clean the Brake

Coat the brake mechanism with a brake cleaner. These products are also available in just about any auto parts store or on the Internet.


Compare the New Brake Shoes with the Old Shoes

Take a look at the new brake shoes and compare them with the old ones. They should be the same size and have the same number of holes that are all located in the same spot on the shoes.


Take Apart the Brake

Detach the shoe return springs and the parking brake lever. You will then need to remove the retainer springs. This will enable you to separate the shoes from the cylinder pins in the wheel itself.


Remove the Shoes and the Self Adjuster

The shoes and the self-adjuster should be removed together. Remove the self-adjuster first, then remove the spring. You can then apply the new shoes the same way that you removed the old ones.


Put the New Brake Together

Screw in the self-adjuster and place it on the new brake shoes. Now you can put the new shoes in place and insert the retaining pins again. You must then attach the shoes, the parking brake lever, and put the return springs back into place.


Reinstall the Brakes

Place the drum over the wheel studs before sliding the tire back on. You can then adjust the brakes to fit snugly.


Lower the Car and Repeat the Process

Take the jack away from under the vehicle. You can now repeat the process on the other side of the vehicle.

Replacing your own drum brakes can allow you to save money and time by not having to make an appointment at your local auto repair shop. It will give you the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of your vehicle as well, and to make sure that the job is done to your specifications. It’s also important to note that you should have a friend on hand when you are trying to replace drum brakes. If anything unexpected should happen during the process, they can ensure that you get the help you need and avoid any injuries.