Brake Drums

With all this talk about brake rotors, we haven't forgot about those of us that still use brake drums! Depending on your vehicle make and year, you could have all four drum brakes, or it's also possible to have a combination of rotors and brakes (i.e. Rotors in the front, brake drums in the rear).

The drum brake is made up of a few components. The brake drum is what you will see on the outside, which houses the internal components. The brake shoe, parking brake and adjusting mechanism are what makes up most of what's hidden behind the brake drum.

Most of the time, you will be replacing the brake drum and the brake shoes. Those are the two brake components that see the most day to day wear. The parking brake (if it's integrated into the rear brake drum) also needs to be replaced normally around 75,000 miles, but earlier if you use it frequently.

Lastly, the adjusting mechanism which generally consists of the cable, adjusting lever, star wheel adjuster and automatic adjuster spring can also see wear with age. This is more prevalent in harsh weather conditions such as rain and snow. If you are driving a vehicle 10 years or older, it's recommended to change it out regardless due to age.

To inspect the brake shoes, most drum brakes have a inspection hole where you can see the brake shoe friction surface to give you an idea of how much life is left.  The minimum wear thickness should be:

  • Un-bonded: 0.8mm or 1/32 inch
  • Bonded to backing plate: 1.6mm or 1/16 inch

Uneven and scoured brake wear also indicates that the brake shoes should be replaced.

Brake Shoes
Brake Drums
Brake Hardware Kit
Brake Drum Self Adjusting Kit

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