How to Change Drum Brakes on a Neonby Christian Killian
Replacing the brake drums is not commonly required. Still, they will wear and may require replacement at some point. Allowing the brake shoes to wear too far down is a common cause of damage to the brake drums, so be sure to check the brakes regularly and change them as needed. The Neon uses brake drums on the rear of the car only. You will find replacement parts through the Dodge dealer or at most auto-parts stores.
Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels of your Neon with a lug wrench, but do not remove them from the studs. Raise the rear of the car until the tires are off the ground several inches, using a jack, then place a set of jack stands under the rear suspension to support the car.
Remove the lug nuts from the wheel studs and set them aside. Pull the tires off the car and set them off to one side for now.
Locate the inspection hole in the brake drum backing plate from the back side. Insert a small flat screwdriver into the hole and lift the adjuster tang slightly, then slide a brake spoon into the hole and turn the adjuster down, pulling the brake shoes away from the drum.
Grasp the drum with both hands and pull it straight off the brake shoes. Install the new drum, sliding it over the shoes and wheel studs. Push it all the way on until it bottoms out on the wheel hub and will not go any farther.
Turn the brake adjuster with the brake spoon until the shoes just start to drag on the new drum when you rotate it. Move to the opposite side and repeat the process.
Install the wheels on the car, followed by the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Raise the car off the jack stands with a jack. Remove the jack stands from under the car and lower the jack , setting the car on the ground.
Tighten the lug nuts with the weight on the tires. After several days of normal driving, recheck the lug nuts to ensure they have not loosened up.
- "Dodge Neon Factory Service Manual"; The Chrysler Group; 2003
Things You'll Need
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Flat screwdriver
- Brake spoon
Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.