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Some vehicles use a drum brake system on the rear that combines the hydraulic brake system with a parking brake system mechanism. Drum brakes tend to be less expensive to manufacture, but are also less precise than disc brakes, and tend not to be used on vehicles with anti-lock braking systems.

Required Service or Repairs

Worn out brake shoes limit your ability to safely slow and stop the vehicle. Brake shoes should be replaced when the friction material reaches minimum acceptable levels. A thorough inspection of other brake components is essential to properly help avoid future brake problems. Ask about our brake inspection process.                           (713) 270-0474

How do brake shoes work?

When the brake pedal is pressed, pressurized brake fluid forces the pistons inside the wheel cylinders to move outwards.

The brake shoes are comprised of a block of friction material fastened together to a metal backing plate. Each time the brakes are used, a tiny amount of the brake shoes wears, varying widely depending on the design of the brake system and the driving conditions and style. 

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 gradually to wear out at which time 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 breaking.

Pressing the brake pedal causes the piston to push the brake shoes against the brake drum, stopping the car.

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

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How do brake shoes fail?

Failures of drum brakes include routine, sometimes irregular brake shoe wear - as the friction material on the brake shoes wear away slightly with each time the brakes are applied.

The hydraulic wheel cylinder that applies the brakes can develop leaks in the seals, and the springs and clips inside the brake drum that hold the parts in place can become rusted or broken.

Parking brakes incorporate an auto-adjusting mechanism that can also fail and require replacement. Regular brake inspections will help to make sure all the components in the drum brake system are functioning correctly.