How To Remove Drum Brakes Without Straining

Drum Brakes

As opposed to disc brakes, drum brakes are an essential element in the braking system. It will enable you to stop the vehicle by pressing the brake shoes into the inside surface of the metal drum which is normally attached to the wheel to create friction.

When the drum brake undergoes wear and tear, they need to be maintained and changed by removing them from the wheels.

The procedure of removing it is simply that you can do it without having to involve a mechanic and thus, saving some bucks for use on something else.

The time it will take you will vary depending on how fast or slow you do it, but it will be between a half an hour and two hours on the higher side, using the normal vehicle maintenance tools

What You Require

1. Protective Eyewear

Protective Eyewear

It to make sure your eyes are protected during the procedure. This will protect you from heat and other dirts that may come from the brakes, the wheels and the drum during the process.

Apart from the protective eyewear, make sure you have goggles or safety glasses to make sure that your eyes are kept safe.

2. Tire Iron Or Torque Wrench

Tire Iron

This will be used for loosening the lug nuts. It is at times referred to by others as tire spoon or tire lever and specializes in working with tires and only gets work if you are using tires with tubes; if your tires are tubeless, then you won’t need it.

3. Jack, Jack Stand Or Floor Jack

Jack Stand

You will need a jack, jackscrew or screwjack to lift the vehicle up or when you are applying heavy force. You will have to use the screw thread for lifting the car. You can use a hydraulic jack or a trolley jack.

4. Screwdriver


This will be used for unscrewing the brake drum and also screw them back when you are done with the maintenance.

The flat head is the best as it sized to fit into slots corresponding screw and it is compatible with most things that require a flat head screw driver during installing and removing.

5. Brake Drum Puller

This will be used to remove the brake drum from the wheel. The brakes use the shoes which are attached to the axles which move out towards a drum that is attached to the wheels and during the braking process.

The friction which is created during the outward force is what stops the car and remove the brake drum from the wheel, you will need something powerful lie the brake drum puller.

Steps To Remove Drum Brakes

1. Taking Off The Wheel

Taking Off The Wheel

Park the vehicle in a flat area which is clear. Turn it off the vehicle, and brakes for emergency has to be working to eliminate the possibility of rolling.

You have to wear goggles with a face guard and ensure that, all the materials you need are in place.

Remove lug nuts

The lug nuts have to be loosened before you raise the vehicle as it can become impossible to do so when the vehicle is already on the jack. The vehicle should then be lifted using a jack. You will then unscrew the lug nuts and remove the wheel

2. Disassembling The Drum

Disassembling The Drum

You will have to turn the adjuster screw to allow the shoes to be loosened. The access hole has to be located on the outside of the brake drum.

You then should unscrew the brake drum if you feel it is necessary and this can be done by using a screwdriver to remove the screws which are securing it to the wheel then you draw it towards you forcefully.

You should use a rubber mallet and a screwdriver or a brake drum puller to make sure that the brake drum comes off the wheel if the unscrewing and pulling don't work. If it becomes even tighter, then use a screwdriver and a rubber mallet as the last options.

Disassembling The Drum

The screwdriver should be slid beneath the flange of the drum, and then you use the mallet to hammer against the top of the screwdriver’s handle or the drum itself tightly. Avoid bringing the mullet down with force as it can chisel on the drum.

Alternatively, you can remove the brake drum with the brake drum puller as a last resort. Three hooks of the brake drum should each be placed on the brake drum flange, and then you ensure that it lies in the middle of the wheel hub.

3. The Drum And The Wheel

The Drum

You will need to work on the drum by, first of all, cleaning it as it is well known that, they can accumulate a lot of debris and grime during their normal use.

There are a variety of cleaning solutions which you can use, but you are free to use what works well for you as long as it is specifically formulated to be used as a brake cleaner. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford a brake cleaner, use water and soap.

 brake cleaner

Replace the shoes as they normally wear and tear when they press against the inside of the drum. Before you do a replacement, check your manufacturer’s specifications so that you get the right one for your car. The wheel cylinder should be checked for hydraulic leaks.

You can notice this by checking out if there is any fluid inside the drum and on the brake shoes. Check the brake lines and see if there is any damage. It could be necessary that you repack the wheel bearings since, at the moment, you have access to the inner parts of the wheel.

Drum brakes

Replace the brake drum when you are done with your maintenance. If you will have to do by replacing the wheel cylinder and securing it properly; the brake shoes should be held to the backing plate and the springs are then re-attached using the pliers. Clean the heads before replacing the adjuster, and then you are good to replace the drum.

Drum brake

You are now good to replace the wheel by lifting the tire back onto its mouth and screwing the lug nuts back as you do so, though, you should avoid tightening them at this juncture.

You will then have to lower the vehicle on the ground, tighten the lug nuts until you feel that, they are securely tightened. To make sure that the stress of the wheel is felt across, do the tightening of the lug nuts in a star shape format.


If you were keen on reading this article, you must have noticed that it is giving you a comprehensive step by step way to remove the wheel and the drum to remove the drum brakes for replacement.

If you adhere to what I have written, you will never again ask the question on how to remove drum brakes and replace them in the shortest time possible without having to strain.

If you have any comments or questions, you are free to ask, and they will be answered to your satisfaction. Sharing is the best way to gather information

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