National average cost of a a Brake Drum Resurfacing for popular vehicles:
Avg. cost $44
Avg. cost $107
Avg. cost $123
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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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 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
Other questions customers ask
Are drum brakes cheaper than disc brakes?
Drum brakes tend to cost less to manufacture than disc brakes. That cost savings often shows up in the price of a new vehicle. That said, when it comes to maintenance, the cost is something of a draw. Where drum brake systems, having more hardware, are a bit more complex to service, disc brake systems typically contain more expensive components.
Which is better, drum or disc brakes?
On most modern vehicles, disc brakes are generally considered to be superior to drum brakes. That is because disc brakes tend to perform better in wet conditions, are less likely to lock up, manage heat better, and produce less brake fade. On the other hand, drum brakes tend to be less expensive to manufacture, therefore they can still be found on a number of vehicle makes and models, usually on the rear wheels.
Do drum brakes use fluid?
Whether a vehicle features drum brakes, disc brakes, or both, it relies on a type of hydraulic oil (called “brake fluid”) to provide stopping power. When you press on the brake pedal, a pump, known as the “master cylinder”, exerts force against the brake fluid running through a network of tubes underneath your vehicle. That force serves to expand the brake shoes inside of your brake drums and/or squeeze the brake pads sandwiched around the rotors in a brake disc system. The brake fluid should be kept at a sufficient level in the master cylinder reservoir, and it should be replaced periodically per your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.
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What parts are related to a Brake Drum Resurfacing?
What are some other common services related to a Brake Drum Resurfacing?
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