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There are two types of brakes for today’s cars and light trucks – disc brakes and drum brakes. Your vehicle may have one or both types of brakes, with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear. While they are being used less and less, drum brakes are still found on vehicles and will need servicing or replacement at some point. The main difference between the two brake systems is that drum brake shoes expand outward and disc brake pads contract to stop the vehicle.

Drum brake systems, which pre-date disc brakes, use the following wheel brake components:

  1. Wheel Cylinder – When you press the brake pedal, the wheel cylinder pistons expand to press the brake shoes outward onto the rotating drum to stop the vehicle.
  2. Brake Drum- The brake drum is spun by the axle or wheel hub. In newer vehicles, drum brakes are typically on the rear axle, but older vehicles will have drum brakes on both axles.
  3. Brake Shoe – Brake shoes have a friction material lining so when the brake pedal is applied, the brake shoes are forced by hydraulic wheel cylinders against the inner surface of a rotating brake drum, allowing the vehicle to slow down and stop. Friction lining may be made from the organic, semi-metallic or ceramic material.
  4. Brake Hardware – New brake hardware will increase the lifespan and improve the performance of your drum brakes, restoring the brakes to like-new performance. The hardware contains springs, clips, adjusters and other components.

A common issue with drum brake systems is “leaking” wheel cylinders. This happens when the brake fluid pushes past the seal in the cylinder, soaking the brake components. The fluid ruins the components, therefore they must be replaced if this happens.

Cleaning and adjusting a drum brake system is considered a regular, preventative maintenance service – recommend approximately every 40,000 miles. If the brake pedal starts to travel more than it used to, this may be a sign system is in need of adjustments.

Drums can go out of round. If this happens, you will feel a pulsation in the brake pedal and/or steering wheel. The drum can be resurfaced to correct this if the drum is thick enough. If not, it will need to be replaced.

Whether your vehicle uses drum brakes, disc brakes, or both, Carz R’ Us is your source for the highest quality brake parts and service. We also offer a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty. View our Drum Brakes video to learn more, or call and schedule your appointment today.

Give us a call at (815) 877-4277 if you suspect you may have an issue related to this post.  We are committed to keeping you, as well as your family, safe while on the road!