How to Replace Rear Brake Shoes

What You'll Need
Lug wrench
Brake shoe removal tool
Brake spring tool
Brake shoes
Jack stands
Wood chocks

Most cars use rear drum brakes, which are operated by rear brake shoes. The disc brakes on the front wear down more quickly, but periodically you’ll need to replace the rear brake shoes. You can pay a garage to do it, but if you have some basic mechanical ability you can replace the brake shoes yourself.

Step 1 - Access

With the vehicle in Park, place wood chocks under the front of the front tires to stop the vehicle accidentally moving. With the lug wrench, slightly loosen the lug nuts on both rear wheels. Jack up the rear end of the vehicle according to instructions in the owner’s manual. Use jack stands to keep the rear end properly raised so you can work. Loosen and remove the lug nuts and take off the wheels.

Step 2 - Drum

To get to the brake shoes you need to remove the brake drum. You’ll see that it will look quite rusted. To take it off, hit the drum with a hammer. Don’t be afraid of hitting it hard, you’ll need to do this in order to loosen it from both the wheel hub and the axle.

Wear gloves and try to work the brake drum off. You might need to hit the drum several times and keep working until the drum has been removed. Removing some of the rust will help, although you don’t need to take it all off.

Step 3 - Removing Brake Shoes

At this point you’ll need your specialized brake shoe tools. The brake spring tool should be used to remove the retaining springs that hold the brake shoes in place. There are 2 brake shoes and a total of four springs that need to be removed.

After you’ve removed and set aside the springs, take up the brake shoe removal tool and press down on the retaining clip on the brake shoes. At the same time you’ll need to take hold of the retaining pin that’s on the wheel hub assembly and turn it in a counter clockwise direction. As you do this you’ll loosen the brake shoes so that they come off the wheel.

Step 4 - New Brake Shoes

Put the new brake shoes in place, making sure they’re seated correctly. Turn the retaining pin in a clockwise direction as you use the brake shoe removal tool to pull up on the retaining clip and hold the new brake shoes in place.

Step 5 - Reassembly

Push the brake drum in place. You’ll need to hammer on it to secure it in place. Test with your hands to see if it comes off. If it’s not secure, keeping going until it’s firm. Put the wheels back on the bolts and hand tighten the lug nuts. Raise the jack and take out the jack stands and then lower the vehicle. Complete by fully tightening the lug nuts and then test drive.