What are drum brakes?
Although most vehicles are equipped with disc brakes on the front axle, drum brakes are more common on the rear.
How do drum brakes work?
Drum brakes consist of two brake shoes
which are fitted into the brake drums on each side of the axle. Once the driver presses the brake pedal, the brake shoes are pushed against the brake drum lining thereby causing the vehicle to slow down and come to a standstill if necessary. A rather similar process to that of brake pads that get pressed against the brake disc when braking.
The wheel brake cylinder
is operated when the brake pedal is pressed. The piston slides into the cilinder which in turn allows the brake shoes to make contact with the drum. The whole drum brake system is operated with pressurized brake fluid, like the disc brakes.
When to replace drum brakes
- The brake warning led lights up, indicating a too low level of brake fluid or worn brake pads
- The brake pedal feels heavier when used in which case you ought to check the hydraulic system of the drum brakes including the wheel brake cilinder or the calipers.
- The brake pedal feels lame, resulting in having to ‘pump’ a lot when braking
- The pedal trembles when used, possibly indicating a worn or bended brake disc or pad.
Please bear in mind:
Your brake drums
ought to be checked on wear every 15 500 miles. When doing so, use the occasion to check other drum brake parts
including the brake shoes, cilinders and dampers as well. Don’t forget to take a look at the brake fluid as well. This is a product that wears over time and needs to be replaced every two to three years (your manufacturer’s manual will give you the correct indication for your vehicle).