A brake drum is an important part of a vehicle’s brake system. It’s a heavy, cast-iron cylinder that is around 9 to 12 inches in diameter. The brake drum is mounted over the rear brake components. It’s rarely present in modern cars and is usually installed on the rear axle. A cracked or worn-out brake drum reduces the effectiveness of the braking system. And if you face any such issue, you should get the brake drum replacement done. Read on to know more about the service.
What is a Brake Drum?
It’s a shallow cylinder made of cast iron that produces the friction required to slow down a vehicle while applying brakes. The interior of the brake drum comes in contact with the brake shoes when you press the brakes and transmit the hydraulic pressure through the wheel cylinder. When the outside of the brake shoes touches against the interior of the brake drum, it creates friction that helps the car to slow down.
The drum is mounted over the wheel hub and connected with wheel and lug nuts. The 4 wheel disc system has replaced the brake drum in most modern cars. The few vehicles that contain a brake drum, usually have it installed on the rear axle.
When do you need Brake Drum Replacement?
Some of the common symptoms of brake drum replacement are:
- If you witness an increase in your vehicle’s stopping distance, the brake drum could be the culprit. Get it checked by an expert mechanic. If the brake drum is only worn with enough metal intact, it can be restored. However, a cracked drum needs immediate replacement
- If the brake drum is worn unevenly or is warped, it can make the brake pedals pulsate
- Another indication of a cracked brake drum is if your vehicle pulls to one side or makes noises and vibrates while applying brakes
- Whenever the brake shoe is replaced, the brake drum should be inspected and replaced or resurfaced based on its condition.
- A cracked brake drum can also result in the loss of the parking brake system. But this issue can also be caused due to the misadjustment or seizure of parking brake components
Why is Brake Drum Replacement Necessary?
Driving your vehicle with a cracked brake drum isn’t safe. A defective or worn-out brake drum increases the stopping distance, creating a safety issue. This becomes even more critical during emergencies as it can lead to collisions. If you feel that your braking system isn’t working properly, get it checked at the earliest and replace the problematic components.
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How do our Mechanics Replace the Brake Drums?
Sometimes instead of brake drum replacement, the mechanic might instead opt for resurfacing the drum. This is done when the drum is only worn-out and not cracked. However, resurfacing is usually more expensive than replacement.
How to Replace Brake Drums
Whether you opt for brake drum replacement or resurfacing, the following steps will be taken.
- Raise the vehicle on jack stands
- Remove the tyres and the wheel assembly
- Take out the brake drum. If the brake drum is rusted to the wheel hub, you will need a brake drum puller. Additionally, in the vehicles where the wheel hub is integral to the brake drum, the mechanic will have to remove the hub-bearing retaining bolt and the wheel bearing before replacing the drum
- Use a brake drum micrometer to measure the interior diameter of the drum. If there’s enough metal for restoration, the mechanic will give you a comparative cost of resurfacing and replacing the drum and you can make the choice
- Our mechanic will inspect all the braking components like brake shoes, springs, wheel cylinders, and, parking brake mechanisms and replace all the worn-out parts. It’s important to replace brake shoes when you replace the brake drums
- Adjust the brake shoes and install the new drums.
- Reinstall the tyres and the wheel assembly and torque them in proper sequence
- Road test the car
In most cases, when the brake drum on one end of the axle is replaced, the one on the other end should be replaced as well. Not doing so can cause problems like pulling, vibration, and so on. If you find your braking system not working properly, you should get it checked by an expert mechanic from Swezo. Our mechanics will thoroughly inspect the braking system and replace or resurface the brake drum and other brake components if required.