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How to Change the Drum Brakes on a Honda Civic

by Carson Barrett

One of the most vital systems on your Civic is its brakes. Failure to maintain the brakes on your Civic can greatly impact your safety as well as others on the road. Like many cars, the brakes used on the Civic's rear wheels are drum brakes. This is a braking system where the brake pads are located inside a drum and push out against the drum when the brakes are engaged. You can change the drum brakes yourself with the right tools and knowledge.

Park the Civic on a firm, flat surface. Engage the emergency brake and shift the car into "Park" if it's an automatic or in second gear if it's a stick shift.

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels but do not remove them.

Raise the rear of the Civic with a jack and place jack stands underneath the outer frame. Slowly lower the car onto the jack stands.

Remove the lug nuts from the rear wheels with a lug nut wrench and take the tires off of the car. Work on one side of the car from this point forward.

Screw two 8 mm bolts into the holes on the front of the brake drum. Alternate turning each bolt two revolutions at a time until the brake drum comes off of the wheel hub.

Clean the brake drum and wheel hub with brake wash. Wear safety goggles and gloves and avoid direct contact with the dirt from the brakes as it may contain asbestos.

Disconnect the springs that hold the brake pads onto the wheel hub. Start with the bottom spring: press down on the spring and turn the pin that holds the shoes in place with a screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Remove the front brake shoe from the wheel hub. Disconnect the rear brake pad from the parking brake cable.

Remove the U-clip that connects the parking brake arm to the brake shoe by prying it off with the needle-nose pliers. If the hardware is too damaged to use the pliers on it, grind it off with a Dremel drill but do not grind down the pin.

Clean the wheel hub with brake wash. Apply brake grease to the locations on the wheel hub where the brake shoes make contact.

Slide the new brake pads into position on the wheel hub.

Reassemble the brake by reversing the process that you used to disassemble it. Repeat this procedure on the wheel on the other side of the car.

Remount the tires onto the wheel hubs then tighten the lug nuts with the lug nut wrench.

Raise the Civic off of the jack stands with the jack, remove the stands then slowly lower the car to the ground.

Tip

  • Seat the brake pads, after replacing each one, by pumping the brake pedal until it feels firm. This process forces brake fluid into the brakes and removes any air that seeped in during the change.

Items you will need

About the Author

Carson Barrett began writing professionally in 2009. He has been published on various websites. Barrett is currently attending Bucks County Community College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in sports management.

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