Brake Fluid is forced into the wheel cylinder, which pushes the brake shoes out so that the friction of
the shoe linings against the drum causes the wheel to stop.
The friction surfaces of the shoes on a drum brake convert the forward motion of the car or truck into
heat. Heat and friction of the shoe linings causes the material to wear out. This is what gives the dust in
the drum when it is removed. Eventually the shoe linings will wear out and require replacement.
Regular periodic maintenance of removing the drums, cleaning the dust, and adjusting the shoes will
give longer life to the brake shoes and the front brake pads. Very dusty and mis adjusted rear
brakes can cause premature wear of the rear shoes, poor stopping ability, and a heavier load on the
front brakes, causing front pads to wear out quicker as well.
Click picture for a
Closer view of adjusting.
A problem that happens with rear drum brakes is a noise in the rear of your car or truck when
braking. This usually happens for the first few brake applies in the morning or when the weather
outside is damp. This causes the dust to sort of clump up and can cause a scraping sound from
the rear of the vehicle. It will go away after a couple of stops. If you hear that, make sure to get
Brake pulsation is another common problem. When stopping you may feel the car pulsing. This
is caused by a warped front rotor or rear drum. The best way to determine which, is to
remember this rule of thumb- if the problem is a bouncing feeling in the peal more than the
whole vehicle itself, then the rear has a warped brake drum. Resurfacing or replacement would
Rear Drum Brake Description