How to disassemble a drum brake?

In contrast to disc brakes, drum brakes make it possible to slow down a vehicle, by pressing linings on the internal surface of a metal drum secured to the wheels. Like all braking systems, drum brakes experience normal wear and tear during use due to friction. The maintenance and replacement of the drum brakes first require the disassembly of the used brakes. The work is relatively simple and does not take more than half an hour on an ordinary vehicle.

Park your car on a flat, clear surface.

  • Stop the engine and check that the parking brake is applied to avoid any risk of the vehicle moving.
  • Put on safety glasses with a protective face shield or protective goggles.
  • Before you begin, gather your tools and equipment.

Loosen the wheel nuts before lifting the vehicle.

  • Take your wheel changer and loosen each nut by a turn or two, turning the wrench counterclockwise. Just loosen the nuts without removing them.
  • It will be very difficult to loosen these nuts when the car is supported by the jack. While the car is still on the ground, loosening the nuts is much easier, as the wheels are stationary and still support the weight of the car, allowing you to exert the effort necessary to loosen the nuts without moving the wheels.

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Lift the car with a jack.

  • Place your jack at the appropriate location near the brake drum to be replaced. Locate the location provided to install the jack. Generally, this is a robust point on the chassis. To avoid damaging the car during lifting, do not place the jack under an injected plastic lining or a fragile metal surface.
  • Raise the car slowly using the jack. If you have any doubts about how to do this, follow the instructions for using the jack to make the operation safe. Otherwise, you can get more information by reading our article on how to change a car tire.
  • Use sturdy candles or wooden wedges to support the car. Never use materials such as concrete blocks, which can create very dangerous situations, as they may break or be compressed under the weight of the vehicle.
  • Chock the wheels to immobilize the vehicle during the operation.

Unscrew the wheel nuts and remove the wheel.

  • You can finish removing the lug nuts using the wheel remover.
  • If necessary, remove the trim and use it as a “plate” or “dish” to store the nuts.
  • When the nuts are removed, disassemble the wheel by pulling it outwards. If you have never done this operation, do not remove more than one wheel at a time, as the other wheel will serve as a reference when reassembling the wheel that you have removed.

Unscrew the adjusting screw to loosen the brake linings.

  • Locate the access hole on the outside of the drum.
  • Turn the drum to align this hole with the drum adjustment screw. This screw is quite large. It has a slot and is located below the horizontal diameter on the back of the drum.
  • Turn the adjusting screw fully counterclockwise. The brake linings should come off the wheel.
  • Pull the drum to separate it from the wheel. If it resists, loosen it and then remove it.