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Brake Drum Replacement
How Much does a Brake Drum Replacement Cost?
The braking system on your car is the primary way to control your deceleration. On vehicles with drum brakes – primarily trucks and SUVs – brake drums on the rear are key components to slowing your car.
Because the brake drums are in use whenever the brake pedal is pressed, they experience wear from the friction between the brake shoes and the brake drum.
Through heat and excess wear, the brake drums will wear and need to be replaced eventually.
Brake drums typically last until the second brake shoe replacement interval, approximately 100,000 to 150,000 km, although it could be more or less depending on the type of car and the type of driving you do.
The average price to replace both rear brake drums alone is roughly $275 to $400, however some applications can be considerably more expensive.
Further, brake drums are rarely replaced on their own – brake cylinders, brake shoes, or both are usually changed at the same time.
What is a Brake Drum?
One of the oldest styles of brake systems is still in use today on some cars – brake drums. A brake drum is almost always found on the rear axle, behind each rear wheel.
Inside the brake drum, two C-shaped brake shoes skim along the smooth inner surface of the brake drum until the brake pedal is pressed.
When the brake pedal is pressed, hydraulic pressure forces the brake shoes against the inner surface of the brake drum, and the friction causes your car to decelerate.
Brake drums are made of cast iron in most cases, although in rare instances it may be cast aluminum for better heat dissipation.
Excess heat can cause brake drums to warp and become out of round.
Environmental elements such as salty air near the coast can cause corrosion, and contamination can occur if brake fluid leaks inside the brake drum.
Normal use causes wear also, and any of these conditions can require brake drum replacement.
Symptoms that You Require Brake Drum Replacement
- Brakes are unresponsive when pressed
- Shuddering feeling when brakes pressed
- Brake pedal travels further to the floor
- Grinding or scraping noise from the rear of your car
How are Brake Drums Replaced?
- The car is lifted and the rear wheels are removed
- The brake drums are removed from the wheel spindle
- Brake drums are inspected and measured
- Worn or damaged brake drums are replaced, often along with brake shoes and hardware
- The rear brakes are adjusted and the rear wheels refitted
- The car is lowered and the technician road tests to confirm the repair is complete
Tips to Remember
- Brake drums must be replaced if they are worn beyond the wear limit marked on the face of the drum
- During normal brake shoe replacement, it may be possible to machine the brake drums instead of replacement, as long as it remains within the wear limit
How Important is Brake Drum Replacement?
Having your worn, warped, or contaminated brake drums replaced will give you the certainty that your car will stop when you press the brakes pedal.
Driving your car when the brake drums need to be changed can be dangerous. Your brakes may not operate properly when you press the pedal, and you may not be able to stop when you need to.
It can endanger you, your passengers, and others around you.
If you’ve read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a service, repair or inspection, visit AutoGuru.com.au.
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