How to Replace Your Rear Drum Brakes

Most vehicles on the road today don’t have rear drum brakes. But if you do, here’s the low down. They aren’t as easy as replacing brake pads. With proper instruction, you can replace your rear drum brakes yourself. There are a couple of special tools that you may need to get the job done.

Here is a full list of the tools you will need:
1. New brake shoes of course
2. A jack
3. Jack stands
4. Lug wrench
5. Pliers (a pair of locking pliers are extremely useful here)
6. Screwdriver
7. Return spring tool/retaining spring tool (usually this comes as one tool)
8. A dust respirator and a nice tool bench
9. Bring your camera phone

Now that you are all equipped, it’s time to get started! We recommend taking off both rear brake drums so you can compare one side as you’re working on the other.
First off, loosen the lug nuts on both sides of your vehicle. Put a 4×4 or cinder blocks in front of your front tires, put on your parking brake and jack up one side of your car. Place one of the jack stands under the corresponding side of your vehicle. Jack up the other side of your car and place the other jack stand. Lower your parking brake. Don’t forget this step, as your rear brakes will be engaged because of the emergency brake.

Second, remove your lug nuts and wheels to reveal the brake drum. Grab the edges and wiggle those bad boys off. Some rear brake drums are held on by screws. If so, you’ll need to get out your trusty screwdriver and remove the screws first.

Putting New Shoes on Your Rear Drum Brakes

Now for the fun part! You’ll notice there are several springs holding your brake shoes in place. This is the perfect opportunity to bust out your camera phone and snap a few pics. Remember that the other side of your vehicle will be a mirror image. You’ll see that there are a couple of clips on the left and right side. Remove those first and then take off your springs. Before you get any further, compare your new brake shoes with your old ones. If they are off slightly, the drums won’t go back on. Remanufactured can sometimes mean defective, so you want to save yourself some trouble.

If your shoes are looking good, put them in place along with their corresponding springs. Don’t forget to add your clips back. You’ll also notice a self-adjuster clip. Engage it until it’s completely tight. Then, do the other side of your vehicle before you put the drums back on. Once your new shoes are in place, slide the drums back on, screw them in place (if necessary) and put your tires back on. Turn the lug nuts until they’re hand tight, lower your vehicle and tighten your lugs nuts further.

Then, you’re done! Just do a quick brake test to make sure that everything is working properly. Congratulations, you just replaced your rear brake drums!