A Brake Adjustment cost in Fort Smith in 2024

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A Brake Adjustment costs by shop in Fort Smith.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF A Brake Adjustment

What is a brake adjustment and how does it work?

A brake adjustment is a service designed to calibrate a drum brake system on a vehicle.

Drum brakes require periodic adjustment in order to maintain peak performance and braking effectiveness. While some adjustment is done automatically when a driver is stopping in reverse or when the parking brake is engaged, some manual adjustment is generally needed.

Drum brakes were far more common years ago than they are today. Few late-model cars and SUVs employ drum brakes, although the system is still common on trucks. Yet while most passenger vehicles on the road rely on four-wheel disc braking systems, many of those utilize a drum brake system for the parking/emergency brake. These auxiliary drum brakes tend to be smaller in size than full scale drum brake systems, and they are incorporated inside of the rear brake rotors (discs) rather than inside a full brake drum. This is sometimes referred to as “drum-in-hat” brakes, and, in these systems, adjustment is needed less frequently. 


How do I know if my vehicle needs a brake adjustment?

When your drum brakes wear away, it is common for the brake shoes to fail to put enough pressure against the inside wall of the brake drum to stop your vehicle sufficiently. If your vehicle features brake drums, you might know that it is time for an adjustment if you notice that any of the following occur:

The brake pedal can be pushed further toward the floor than normal before your vehicle stops

Your vehicle’s stopping distance increases or the brakes seem weak

Your vehicle surges forward when braking due to only the front brakes engaging

The brake warning light on your dashboard lights up

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How does a technician perform A Brake Adjustment ?

To adjust drum brakes, a technician will first need to raise and support your vehicle in the air for access. From there, it will be necessary to perform the following steps:

  • Remove the rubber access plugs on the inside of the drum backing plates at each wheel
  • Locate the position of the star wheel on the adjusting mechanism
  • Use a brake adjustment tool to rotate the star adjuster wheel while checking brake drag on the wheel
  • Repeat with all wheels (with drum brakes)
  • Replace the rubber access plugs and lower the vehicle
  • Take your vehicle for a test drive to verify the effectiveness of the adjustment

Other Questions Customers Ask

Why do brakes need adjustment?
Drum brakes need adjustment because, as a vehicle accumulates miles, the friction material on the brake shoes slowly wears down. When this happens, the gap widens between the brake drum and the shoes that grab it to stop the vehicle. If the brakes did not adjust to compensate for this gap, the brakes would have to travel a great deal just to begin engaging and slowing the vehicle, which would make for a less efficient and more dangerous braking setup.
Why do I have to push my brakes to the floor for them to work?
If you have to push your brake pedal to the floor to stop the vehicle, you may need the brakes to be adjusted. But there are other causes of a brake pedal with excessive travel, such as air in the system (a dangerous condition) or a leak in the system (also a dangerous condition).
How do I know if my car has self adjusting brakes?
In order to tell if a car has self adjusting brakes, the fastest and easiest method would be to check the owner's manual in the section relating to chassis or brakes. This is also a question that a qualified professional would be able to answer effectively when servicing your vehicle.

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