How to Change Drum Brakes on a Chevy Cobaltby Eli Laurens
The Chevrolet Cobalt, which replaced the Cavalier in 2005, is manufactured with a similar rear drum braking system. The shoes and interior surface of the drums are routine maintenance items, but changing the integral parts of the Cobalt's drum brakes is not extremely difficult.
Lift the Cobalt at the rear wheel by placing the jack head onto a frame rail and pumping the lever until the wheel is in the air. (Do not place the jack onto the body or suspension.) Secure the jack with a jack stand in the same location.
Remove the rear wheel by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise. Take the wheel off of the hub and place it away from the work area.
Remove the drum by turning the keeper screw counterclockwise and sliding the drum from the brake assembly. Inspect the interior drum surface for scarring or pitting, and inspect the wheel cylinder on the brake assembly for leaks.
Remove the shoes by levering off the long springs with a screwdriver or brake tool, then turning the spring bolts in the center of each shoe counterclockwise. The shoes will slide off, directly away from the backing plate.
Replace the shoes with new units by pressing them into the brake assembly, then securing them with the spring bolts and long springs. Resurface or replace the drum and slide it over the shoes until it reaches the backing plate. Turn the keeper screw clockwise.
Replace the wheel by turning the lug nuts clockwise, in an alternating pattern. Remove the jack stand and lower the Cobalt from the jack by turning the pressure screw counterclockwise.
Repeat the procedure on the opposite brake.
- Change drums and shoes on both sides, in pairs.
- Bleed the brake lines if necessary.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set
- Floor jack
- Jack stand
- Lug wrench
- Brake tool
- Use extreme caution when working on a raised vehicle.
Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.