How to Guide for Drum Brake Replacement

What You'll Need
Brake spring pliers
New brake shoes
Brake retainer tool
Jack stands
Latex gloves
Brake clean
White lithium grease
Car lift
Dust mask
Pry bar

Drum brake replacement requires careful skill and patience. It is a very demanding and laborious task, and a single misstep could lead to injuries. When replacing a drum brake, it is advisable to consult your car manual for more detailed instructions. If you are inexperienced in troubleshooting cars, it is important to seek assistance from experienced individuals.

Step 1 – Removing the old or damaged drum brake

Loosen the nuts on the wheels (but don’t remove it just yet) and take off the hubcap. Lift the car using a car jack. Support the jack with jack stands to hold it firmly in place. You can now remove the nuts followed by the tire. Spray the hub of the wheel thoroughly with a lubricant oil, such as WD-40.

Cut off the retaining clips found in the studs of the tire with pliers. You can now pull off the brake drum with your hands. There are some brake drum models that are screwed on to the wheels. If this is the case, you need to remove the screws first. The next step is to thoroughly spray the brake mechanism with a brake cleaner. Wear a mask when doing this, as dust from brakes contains asbestos, which is a very hazardous material.

Step 2 – Removing the shoe return spring, parking brake lever, retainer springs, shoes and self-adjuster

Check to see if the new brake shoes share the same design as with the old or damaged one. Locate the shoe return spring and remove it. Next, pull out the parking brake lever. Remove the retainer springs as you hold on to the shoe retaining pin. Separate the shoes from the wheel cylinder pins and spread them apart. You can now pull out the shoes and self-adjuster.

Next, compare the old shoes with the new shoes and check for any variances. There are drum brake models where the front shoe is designed differently from the back shoes. Generally, shoes that have a shorter lining strip are used for the front wheels.  Relax the tension in the self-adjuster spring by tipping the tops of the shoes towards the center.  You can now remove the self-adjuster.

Step 3 – Installing the self-adjuster, shoes, shoe retainer springs, parking brake level and return springs

Take off the spring and carefully place it into the new shoes. Tighten the contact and tension by screwing the self-adjuster back. Put the self-adjuster on the new shoes and tighten the spring by spreading the tops apart. You can now return the shoes back into the wheel.  Fasten the shoes by placing the retaining pins back into the holes. You can now attach the shoe retainer springs. Link the shoes with the wheel cylinder pins.

Return the parking brake level back in place.  Next, attach the return springs.

Step 4 – Attaching the new drum brake

You can now attach the new drum brake onto the wheel studs. Screw back the tires. Position the brakes. Next, remove the jack stands supporting the jack. The jack can now be lowered. Repeat the steps for the other side.

Replacing drum brakes is a necessary task to ensure that your car’s brake system is always in top form.  Do not attempt to replace drum brakes by yourself if you do not possess the right skills and equipment. An improperly fitted drum brake can result in serious injury or even death.