A Complete Guide On Car Brake Drums

Brake drums are an important part of drum brakes. Together with the brake shoe, a brake drum will form a friction pair, which would decelerate the rotation of the wheel. The job of the brake drum is to absorb and discharge the heat which is generated during braking. Now you must be curious to know more about car brake drums. If that is the case, then you have arrived at the right location. Keep on reading further to know everything about car brake drums. 

What Is A Car Brake Drum?

A drum brake is a brake which uses the friction caused by a set of shoes or pads that would press outward against a rotating cylinder-shaped part which is known as a brake drum. 

Drum brake means a brake in which shoes press on the internal surface of the drum. Now when the shoes would press on the outside of the drum, then it is known as a clasp brake. When the drum would be pinched between two shoes, which is the same as a conventional disc brake, then it was known as a pinch drum brake. An associated type known as a band brake utilizes a flexible belt or "band" wrapping around the outside of a drum.

What Materials Are Used In Making My Car Brake Drum?

There is a particular type of cast iron with which the brake drums are made up of. They have high heat conductivity and are wear resistant. Backplates are generally made of steel. It is the backplates which hold and support the entire brake drum unit, so that’s why it should be very strong. That is the reason they prefer steel.

In the earlier days, chrysotile asbestos was used as brake lining material. But there were a lot of brake mechanics which got issues related to their health because of this material. That’s why slowly and gradually companies used synthetic aramids. The material of the brake lining should withstand high temperatures without wearing too much. Aramids are powerful synthetic fibres.

What Are The Important Features Of My Car Brake Drum?

Here are some essential features of brake drum:

  • Drum brakes should provide more braking force than an equal diameter disc brake.
  • Drum brakes should last longer because drum brakes have increased friction contact area than a disc.
  • Drum brakes should be cheaper to manufacture than disc brakes.
  • Make sure that the rear drum brakes should generate lower heat.
  • The drum brakes should have a built-in self-energizing effect that would require less input force (such as hydraulic pressure)
  • Wheel cylinders should be simpler to recondition than with disc brake calipers.
  • Brake shoes should be remanufactured for use in future.
  • Drums should have slightly lower frequency of maintenance due to better corrosion resistance.

How Does My Car Brake Drum Works?

When the car driver would step on the brake pedal, then the brake booster would amplify the power and it would be converted into hydraulic pressure (oil-pressure) by the master cylinder. The pressure would reach the brakes on the wheels via tubing filled with brake oil (brake fluid). The delivered pressure would then push the pistons on the brakes of the four wheels. The brake linings would then be pressed by the pistons, which are friction materials. The inside surfaces of the brake drums would be pressed, which would rotate with the wheels.

What Are The Common Car Brake Drum Problems?

Have a look at some frequent problems with the brake drums:

  • If you feel that there is some issue in the braking whenever you press the brake pedal, then there might be some issues with the drum brake system.
  • If there are some noises coming from the rear brake drum, there is a need to carefully check the drum braking system.
  • If you are braking and then suddenly you experience a shuddering feeling, or you are not able to brake as quickly as you should, then you surely want to decide that what is causing this issue and this can be done by removing the brake drum.
  • There can be a lot of imperfections which can cause these issues with the brake drum. First of all you must search for signs of visible cracks, hairline cracks, deep scores and grooves, discoloration, or grease stains.
  • There can be some other signs which show that there are some flaws in the brake drum like the excess rust, corrosion or oil on the brake drum, shoes or surrounding brake parts (master cylinder, hoses, lines, springs). Get your brake drums serviced if you are facing any such issues.

Which Tools Do I Need To Repair My Car Brake Drum?

It is said that a workman is only as good as his tools, and it is definitely true when it comes to the car bodywork. It is vital to have the right tools to repair your Brake Drum or else a straightforward job would turn into constant headaches. So that’s why we have listed out some invaluable tools below which you will need while repairing your Brake Drum.

Which Top Brands Brake Drum Parts Should I Choose?

Most people have a nature to avoid risk and seek safety. That is the reason they would go with a familiar auto parts brand than a new one. It would prove safe, and they know what to expect. Have a look at our top brands for Brake Drum, which would offer safety and decrease the risk of disappointment.

Which Parts Are Related To My Car Brake Drum?

If you are willing to buy some Brake Drum related parts online, then you have arrived at the right place. We have all the Brake Drum related parts with us. We promise that you will never regret your decision. Have a look at some of them below: -

What Are The Steps Of Changing My Car Brake Drum?

Here are the steps to change the brake drum:

Step 1 - The first and the foremost step would be to take the wheel off through the following steps

  • The car should then be parked in a clear, flat area.
  • The lug nuts should be loosened up before raising the vehicle.
  • The vehicle should be lifted up with a jack.
  • The lug nuts should be unscrewed and then remove the wheel.

Step 2 - The next step would be disassembling the drum

  • The adjuster screw should be turned to loosen the shoes.
  • Unscrew the brake drum as per the requirements.
  • If you are facing some troubles, then you can always use a screwdriver and a rubber mallet.
  • Then remove the brake drum with a brake drum puller.

Step 3 - After that it is essential to work on the drum and wheel

  • The drum should then be cleaned properly.
  • Carefully restore the shoes.
  • Inspect the wheel cylinder for leakages in the hydraulic.
  • Check the brake lines for some defects.
  • After that you should consider repacking the wheel bearings.
  • The brake drum should be replaced when finished.
  • Then you should restore the wheel to finish.

If you are still confused about which type of car brake drum you should buy, then you can visit our The Ultimate Brake Drum Buying Guide. You should always look for the warning signs of a bad brake drum and replace them at the earliest you can. With us, you can find brake drum at the most economical costs.


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Brake drums are an important part of drum brakes. Together with the brake shoe, a brake drum will form a friction part, which would decelerate the rotation of the wheel. The brake drum also has the job of absorbing and discharging the heat which is generated during braking.

The brake drums of your car are built to last for about 200,000 miles. Drums will be checked by the mechanic to gauge whether they need to be replaced or if they can be turned instead. If the damage to the brake drum would be bad enough, then it will start to cause issues with the brake shoes.

Drum brake shoes need to be replaced once a year or sooner, if you are an average driver, perhaps every 3 years or 50,000 miles.

Drum brakes are a lot more tough. There are return springs of different colour(sizes) that have to go back in the same place, if the old brake shoes have completely worn out(metal to metal) all the internal hardware should be restored. The brake shoes are of a different size on the front and rear on each wheel.

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John Framigllia
Technical Writer
Our technical writer is known for simplifying automotive parts and services. Intuitive with various vehicles and manufacturers, he knows how to simplify complicated problems.