How to Remove a Rear Brake Drum

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 6-10
What You'll Need
A tire wrench
A hammer
A screwdriver
A Jack
2 jack stands
Brake cleaner
Protective eye wear

The removal of a rear brake drum is necessary in order to change the rear brakes. Brake drums are typically inexpensive to manufacture and easy to service. These devices utilize brakes shoes and not brake pads. The drum covers and protects the shoe as well as the springs and the internal slave cylinder. It is fairly simple to open the drum. However, removing the shoe is more difficult. You will need the necessary tools to complete this job.

Step 1 – Safety

Be sure to put on your protective eye wear before you begin working on your vehicle. If possible, use a trolley jack to raise your vehicle from the ground. Make sure your vehicle is parked on a hard, flat and well-lit surface. Turn the gear shift to the park position and the ignition to the off position. When raising your vehicle, ensure that the jack and jack stands meet quality and safety standards.

Step 2 – Loosening the Rear Wheel Lug Nuts

Use your tire wrench to loosen the rear wheel lug nuts. Turn the nuts a quarter turn in a counter clockwise direction. Do not turn the nuts any further.

Step 3 – Raising Your Vehicle

Apply the emergency brake and make certain that it is secure. Place blocks behind the two front wheels. Position the jack at the proper location behind the trunk. Raise the vehicle. Position the jack stands under your vehicle. One stand should be positioned on each side, at the rear of the vehicle, under the pinch weld. Lower your vehicle onto the two jack stands.

Step 4 – Removing the Wheel

Use the tire wrench to completely remove the rear wheel lug nuts of the wheel you are repairing. Place the nuts in a secure place. Pull the rear wheel from the hub

Step 5 – Removing the Rear Brake Drum

Release emergency brake to allow drum to rotate and be removed. The brake drum on some vehicles is held in position by a cap covered nut. Use a flat screwdriver to pry the cover off of the nut. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the nut. Place both the cap and the nut in a safe place until you need to reinstall them. Other vehicles use metal washers to secure the drum in position. These washers will need to be cut from the drum. Use your hammer to knock around the entire rear brake drum. This will loosen any rust from the drum. Use a piece of chalk to mark where the drum connects to the axle. This will help when you to correctly position the part when you reinstall it later. Carefully pull the brake drum off of the rear wheel hub.

Step 6 – Cleaning the Brake Drum

Use brake cleaner to clean components inside the drum. It is important to use only a cleaner specifically designed for brakes. Do not use compressed air to clean the drum or its components.