Remember to Restore Your Drum Brakes

November 7th, 2012 by
Factory-trained technician

Visit Cox Mazda for information on restoring your drum brakes.

It can be really easy to tell when your disc brakes need changing. First you’ll notice that you’ll need to depress the brake pedal a bit more to come to a stop, then you’ll hear the telltale squealing noise of old brake pads, and finally, you’ll hear the terrifying grinding noise of what remains of your brake pad scoring your rotor.

Actually, after that, you’ll eventually notice leaking brake fluid if you ever wear away the pads completely and keep driving on them. I hope you don’t know the grinding sound, let alone what it’s like to discover that you have seriously damaged your brakes.

How can you tell if your drum brakes need work, though? There are a few different parts of drum brakes that can cause trouble, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s always a good idea to have a professional work on your brakes.

One of the first things they’ll do after removing your drum brakes is assess the damage. The main parts, such as the wheel shoes and the brake cylinders, will be inspected and close attention will be paid to smaller parts like the return springs and anchor pins (if these terms sound foreign to you, you’ll see why I suggested talking with a pro).

Levers and adjusters will often be left to soak in a solvent tank to get them nice and clean, while other components are frequently sprayed with brake cleaner and dried off. Surface rust, one of the main culprits of squeaking drum brakes, needs to be ground off. This is typically done with a drill and a wire brush.

Some parts are not easily cleaned and will need to be replaced, but drum brakes are one of those nice pieces of technology that will actually last for quite some time if properly maintained. After reconstructing your brakes, they will be reinstalled and your brake lines will be bled to adjust for the new brakes.

One thing to remember is that new brake shoes need to be “bedded in,” as they say, where a driver does a string of short, hard stops from 30 mph. After letting the brakes cool down for about 20 minutes, this process should be repeated once more before the car is ready to drive like usual.