The national cost for a brake drum replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $45 and $670 with an average of $197.

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HOW IT WORKS

What is a brake drum and how does it work?

A brake drum is a component of the brake system on some cars and trucks. The drum is much like a deep bowl made of thick, heavy metal and is attached to a wheel. Suspended inside the drum is a pair of brake shoes. When you press on the brake pedal, the shoes expand outward and push against the inside of the brake drum, creating friction to slow and stop your vehicle. Although not nearly as common as they once were due to the rise in popularity of disc brake systems, drum brakes can still be found on a number of vehicle makes and models, although typically only on the rear wheels.

HOW IS THIS SERVICE PERFORMED?

How is a a Brake Drum Replacement done?

Unlike a disc brake system, where the brake rotor is readily accessible once the brake caliper is removed, drum brakes include a system of springs, retainers, adjusters, and other components to actuate the brake shoes. 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 replace 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
  • Install the new 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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POPULAR VEHICLES

National average cost of a a Brake Drum Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost

$50

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COMMON SYMPTOMS

Signs that a brake drum needs to be replaced

Drum brakes in general are known to have less stopping power than disc brakes due, in part, to their lesser ability to manage heat effectively. On the other hand, drum brakes are sealed against the elements more than disc brakes. Where brake shoes need to be replaced regularly, brake drums are made to last longer. In any case, you might notice the following signs if a brake drum needs to be replaced:

Reduced braking effectiveness due to uneven wear, scoring, or cracking

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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Other questions customers ask

Can you replace one brake drum?
In most cases, it is recommended to replace brake drums in pairs to avoid issues with uneven wear from side to side that can affect braking distances. A technician will evaluate your brake drums at the time of brake service and determine whether they need to be replaced or resurfaced.
Are drum brakes difficult to replace?
Removing and installing a brake drum is not, for the most part, a difficult operation, although on some vehicles the axle nut must also be removed, and on others, the drum may be stuck in place and difficult to dislodge. It should be noted, however, that raising and supporting a vehicle to access the brakes is a potentially dangerous operation that should be left to a person who has significant training and experience. And simply removing and replacing a brake drum without also replacing the shoes and hardware is not a common occurrence.
Why are drum brakes still used?
Drum brakes may have been overshadowed by the more popular disc brakes on most late model vehicles, but that does not mean that they are obsolete. In fact, not only are drum brakes less expensive to manufacture, they also double as a parking brake and lock up easier when stopping. On smaller vehicles, drum brakes can be made to be lightweight. And since most of the stopping power on a vehicle is found in the front brakes, drums are still used on the rear wheels of many vehicles.

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