How to Adjust the Rear Brakes on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles pickup Vehicles utilizes front disc brakes and rear drum brakes Vehicles stopping. Both the front and rear brakes have a self-adjusting mechanism, but if the rear drum brakes fall too far out of adjustment, the mechanism cannot function properly. Fortunately this is an easy problem to repair. During routine maintenance, you should check the rear brake adjustment by raising the Vehicles and turning the rear wheels by hand. With the brake released, the wheel should turn freely. With the pedal lightly depressed, you you feel drag on the wheel. If these conditions aren't present, you should adjust the brakes.

Under The Hood:

 How to Adjust the Rear Brakes on a GMC Sierra

Raise the rear of the vehicle with an automotive jack, and support both sides using jack stands.

Locate the adjusting hole on the rear of the brake drum backing plate. This is the piece that covers the drum on the inside part of the wheel. The inspection hole should have a rubber grommet installed. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry out the grommet.

Insert the flat blade screwdriver into the inspection hole to make contact with the the star wheel on the brake shoe adjuster. The adjuster expands or retracts as you rotate the wheel, placing more or less force on the brake shoes. To expand the brake shoes, place the screwdriver against the top of the star wheel and push it forward to rotate. To retract the brake shoes, place the screwdriver against the bottom of the star wheel and push it forward to rotate.

Expand the brake shoes until it becomes difficult to rotate the wheel by hand. The shoes are now rubbing against the drum.

Contract the brake shoes by rotating the star wheel 20 clicks. Remember, to contract the brake shoes, press the screwdriver against the bottom of the star wheel. Ensure that the wheel turns freely. Repeat the procedure on the opposite wheel. Replace both inspection hole covers.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands. Locate an area where you can drive the truck, while making frequent, quick stops. Place the truck in reverse and begin to drive backwards. After a few feet, press the brake pedal firmly to quickly stop the vehicle. Drive forward and repeat the rapid stop. Repeat the back and forth braking several times. This is what activates the self-adjusting mechanism on the brake shoes.

Items you will need

  • Automotive jack or lift

  • 2 jack stands

  • Flat blade screwdriver

 How to Adjust Rear Brakes in a Honda

To adjust the rear drum brakes on your Honda, begin by pulling the parking brake up as far as it will go.

Press the parking brake release, putting the parking brake back into a disengaged position.

Repeat this 10 times in fairly rapid succession.

Now press down on the brake pedal. It should be noticeably firmer. If so, you are finished and your brakes have been adjusted.

If your brake pedal still isn't firm, drive in reverse and then firmly apply the brakes. Do this three times, then repeat Steps 1 through 4.

 How to Adjust the Rear Brakes on a Ford Escort

Adjust the Rear Brakes on a Ford Escort

Connect a 24-inch rubber hose to the bleeder valve on the passenger side rear brake bleed valve. Submerge the other end of the hose into a quart jar with a small amount of brake fluid located in the bottom of the jar.

Have a second person pump the brake pedal three times and then push the pedal as far as possible. While brake pedal is held down, loosen the bleeder valve and allow any trapped air in the brake fluid system to be forced out.

Repeat this process until air bubbles are no longer seen bleeding into the quart jar. Tighten the bleed valve.

Connect the bleeder hose in the same manner to the driver's side rear brake bleed valve.

Have a second person pump the brakes three times and then hold brake pedal to the floor as far as it will go. Crack the bleed valve open and allow all trapped air within the brake fluid system to bleed into the jar. Tighten the brake bleed valve.

Refill the brake fluid reservoir with brake fluid, being careful not to overfill the system.

Drive the car for a short distance before getting into traffic and check for proper operation of brakes. Investigate any abnormal or unusual noises and repair as needed.

Items you will need

  • 24 inch bleed hose

  • 3/8 inch wrench

  • Quart jar with small amount of brake fluid

 How to Adjust the Rear Brakes on a Taurus

Raise the rear end of the Taurus and support it on jack stands. Block the front wheels and make sure the parking brake is applied. Loosen the lug nuts on each wheel prior to raising the car.

Remove both the rear wheels. Remove the lug nuts for the wheels in a five-star pattern, moving to the nut on the opposite end of the one you previously removed.

Take out the rubber inspection plug that is on the backing plate of the brake drum. Insert a narrow screwdriver or a brake adjusting tool into the inspection hole to access the star wheel.

Turn the star wheel with the screw while turning the brake drum by hand. Turn it until the drum starts dragging, then lift up the adjuster lever so the star wheel will turn in the opposite direction. Turn the star wheel that way until the drum is just able to turn freely.

Reinstall the plugs in the backing plates. Connect the wheels, using the same five-star pattern on the lug nuts. Release the parking brake, making sure the front wheels are still securely blocked.

Adjust the parking brake by getting underneath the car, holding the brake cable with pliers so it won't turn and tightening the adjusting nut with a wrench while turning the wheels- this is much easier with at least two people. Tighten the nut until the wheels drag slightly, then turn the nut in the opposite direction until the wheels don't drag.

Lower the car once you've adjusted the brakes on both sides.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Narrow screwdriver

  • Pliers

  • Flare-nut or similar wrench