How to Properly Break in Drum Brakes

by Kenneth W. Michael Wills

Once you've replaced the drum brakes on your vehicle, you'll find they won't work well at high speeds until you break them in. The stopping power is weak when you first install new drum brakes and you will have to apply the brakes a few times to bring them up to the correct temperature. The best time to break in, or bed, your new drum brakes is early morning, when traffic is light.

Step 1

Drive your car to an open highway and accelerate to about 60 miles per hour. Do not exceed this speed; going faster could cause the brakes to overheat with repeated braking.

Step 2

Apply your brakes firmly but not hard enough the trigger the antilock braking system, or ABS. Slow down but do not stop. Decelerate to about 15 miles per hour and then accelerate back up to 60.

Step 3

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 about 10 times to break in your new drum brakes. After the last cycle, drive on the highway at a cruising speed and avoid applying your brakes as much as possible to allow the brakes to cool down; this takes about five minutes.

Step 4

Repeat one more break-in cycle after the brakes cool down, following Steps 1 through 3.

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