4 Easy Steps to Brake Drum Removal

What You'll Need
Car jack
Jack stands
Wire cutters
Lug wrench
Work light

Whether you want to replace brake drums on your car or truck, or whether you want to have the drums repaired, you will need to know key elements of brake drum removal. The 4 steps below will guide you in removing your car's brake drums.

Step 1 – Preparing Your Car for Safe Removal of Brake Drums

You will need to raise your car's wheels off the ground to remove the wheels and the brake drums. To do this safely, you'll need to use a secure method of raising your car and keeping it raised while working on it. To accomplish this, use a safe and sturdy car jack to raise your car. When you have one side raised, place a jack stand under the car frame on the raised side. Then, lower the jack, move it to the opposite side of your car, raise this side of your car, and place a jack stand under the car frame.

Step 2 – Removing Your Car's Wheels

To remove your brake drums you will first need to first remove the wheels to which the brake drums are attached. Use a lug wrench to remove the lug nuts holding both wheels in place. Keep these nuts in a place where you'll be able to easily find them when you're ready to put them back on the wheel. Pull both wheels off the car and lay them flat on the floor.

Step 3 – Removing the Brake Drum

To remove your brake drums you'll need to determine if there are round metal clips still on your car's wheel studs. If these clips are still in place, you'll need to remove them before you can remove your break drums. Clips like these are used by car manufacturers to keep brake drums from falling off during the assembly of each car. Some manufacturers remove these clips at the factory. Others do not. You can simply and easily remove these clips with the help of wire cutters, but if you fail to remove them you will not be able to remove the brake drums.

Step 4 – Difficulty Removing the Drums

If your car is an older model, you may find that the drum resists being pulled off. This is usually because the drum's surface, where it comes in contact with the brake shoe, is rusted or corroded. Apply anti-rust lubricant and allow 10 to 15 minutes for it to penetrate the rust. If you still have difficulty pulling the drum off, loosen the brake shoe. Locate the small porthole on the inside surface of the wheel's backing plate, a 3/8-inch opening through which you can insert a brake adjustment tool or flat head screwdriver. Insert the tip of your tool between the teeth of the star wheel inside the opening. Move the wheel downward to loosen your brake. This should give you enough clearance between your brake drum surface and brake shoes to pull the drum free. If the drum still refuses to come off, rent a drum puller from an equipment rental shop.