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Services > Car Brake Service > Vehicle Brake System Parts > Brake Wheel Cylinder


Function: A hydraulic component that forces the brake shoes against the brake drum to slow or stop the vehicle.


Signs of Wear: Reduced braking force, spongy brake pedal feel, increased stopping distances, fluid leakage near brake drum.

Car Brake Repair - Houston Auto Repair Shop

The drum brake system includes a brake drum, hydraulic wheel cylinder, brake shoes and return springs. Pressing the brake pedal causes the piston to push the brake shoes against the brake drum, stopping the car. Drum brakes are generally used to stop the rear wheels on older and lower performance vehicles. The drum is connected to either the rear axle or a wheel hub, and the wheel is bolted onto the drum. When the brake pedal is pressed, the pistons in the wheel cylinder move outwards as a result of the brake fluid being pressurized. The brake shoes are forced against the inside surface of the brake drum in order to stop it from turning. This friction causes the lining on the brake shoe to gradually wear out at which time the brake shoes should be replaced.

It is important that when brake shoes are replaced, brake hardware, including the brake return springs should be checked for rust. Rusty return springs can break, allowing the brake shoes to remain in contact with the brake drum when the brakes are not applied, and causing the brake shoes to wear out prematurely.

A common failure of the drum brake system is a leaking wheel cylinder. When the seals around the wheel cylinder pistons start to deteriorate with age, brake fluid can leak past and start to contaminate the brake components. Once brake linings become soaked with brake fluid, they must be replaced.

Another failure of the drum brake system is an out of round brake drum. This occurs when the drum becomes more oval shaped than perfectly round and can cause the brake pedal to pulsate under braking.

A broken return spring will cause the brake shoes to remain in contact with the brake drum when the brakes are not applied.


Have your vehicle checked by an ASE Certified Technician in Brakes. 

Schedule service today to visit our auto repair facility on the southwest side of Houston. 

Brake Component: Wheel Cylinder - Houston's Premier Auto Repair Facility

(713) 270-0474

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