The national cost for brake drum reface is between $50 and $200 with an average of $91

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National average cost of a Brake Drum Resurfacing
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What is a brake drum and how does it work?

A component of the brake system on some vehicles, a brake drum is a sort of deep bowl made of thick, heavy metal. The drum is connected to a wheel and rotates as your vehicle moves. Suspended inside the brake drum is a pair of brake shoes that expand outward when you press on the brake pedal. When the shoes contact the inside of the brake drum, they create friction that turns the kinetic energy of your vehicle-in-motion to thermal energy, used to bring you to a stop. Brake drum resurfacing is the process of machining a brake drum so that it provides a suitable contact surface for the brake shoes. Drum brakes, in general, are not as common as they once were, due to the rise in popularity of disc brake systems, but they can still be found on a number of late model cars and trucks.

Signs that a brake drum needs to be resurfaced

In a drum brake system, the brake shoes (like brake pads in a disc brake system) contain a sacrificial friction material that wears away with use and over time. While brake shoes need to be replaced regularly - every 30K-80K miles or so - brake drums are made to last much longer, sometimes surpassing 100K miles. If a brake drum experiences damage or excessive wear, it needs to be replaced. Otherwise, it should be resurfaced. Signs that your brake drums need attention include

Reduced braking effectiveness or longer stopping distances

Pulsating brake pedal or pulling to one side when braking

Vibration when pressing on the brake pedal

Rubbing, scraping, or grinding noise from the rear of the vehicle when in motion or when braking


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How is this service performed

How is a Brake Drum Resurfacing done?

A drum brake system can be a bit more complex to service than the more common disc brake system, due to the amount of springs, retainers, cables, and adjusters included in the system. The brake drum on some models is simple to remove. On others, the axle mun may need to be removed first, and on others, the drum may be stuck in place. So, with your vehicle safely lifted and supported off of the ground and the wheels removed, a mechanic will need to do the following to access and resurface your brake drums

  • Remove the brake drum (some drums may require that the axle nut be removed first)
  • Perform the balance of the brake shoe replacement procedure
  • Inspect the wheel cylinder for signs of leaks
  • Machine (resurface) the brake drum(s) on a brake lathe
  • Install the resurfaced brake drum and adjust the brake tensioner
  • Top off brake fluid as necessary
  • Actuate parking brake for further tensioner adjustment
  • Test drive to verify repair


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