How to Replace Rear Drum Brake Shoes

by Carson Barrett

One of the most important systems on your car or truck is its braking system. As time goes on and you add miles to your car, your brakes will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. On many car models, the rear brakes are drum brakes, a type of brake with the brake shoes inside a drum attached to the wheel which press out against the inside of the drum to slow the car down when the brakes are applied. Replacing the drum brakes is a job that you can do in a few hours.

Park the car on a flat surface and place a brick or piece of cinder block in front and back of the front tires to prevent the car from rolling.

Jack up the rear of the car and remove the tires with a lug wrench.

Remove the brake drums.

Clean the wheel off with compressed air. Wear gloves and safety goggles and avoid touching the dust on the wheel as it could contain asbestos deposited by the brake pads.

Use the brake spring removal tool to disconnect and remove the springs from the wheel, starting with the outer spring.

Locate the small metal tab at the bottom of the wheel and lift it up. Remove the auto-adjuster cable.

Detach the two springs on the bottom of the wheel and remove them. These are the spring-loaded brake shoe retainers.

Pull the auto-adjuster arm forward then out.

Remove the brake shoes.

Clean the wheel with brake wash, again wearing rubber gloves and safety goggles to avoid contact with the residue on the wheel.

Lubricate the points where the brake shoes attach to the wheel with non-drying silicone brake lubricant.

Place the new brake shoes onto the wheel and secure them in place by attaching the spring-loaded retainers to the wheel.

Reattach the adjuster-arm spring, adjuster cable and brake shoe springs.

Slide the auto-adjuster arm into position and attach the auto-adjuster cable to it.

Place the brake drum on the wheel, followed by the tire.

Replace the brake shoes on the other side the same way. Slowly lower the car to the ground when you're done.

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.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from