Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Long Does a Parking Brake Drum Last?

How Long Does a Parking Brake Drum Last?

parking brake drum

Your car has two braking systems – one is activated when you press the brake pedal. The other is activated when you engage the parking brake by either pulling up the lever beside the driver seat or pressing the parking brake pedal (depending on your make and model).

The parking brake is mechanical, rather than hydraulic. It works based on a series of steel cables that attach to the lever or pedal in the front of the car, and run back to the rear brakes. If you have rear drum brakes, activating the parking brake actually pushes the shoes of your regular brakes against the inside of the drum. If you have disc brakes in the rear, then your parking brake has its own drum, built into the disc brake system (in some cases – other automakers use a system that closes the caliper against the rear rotor, so there is no parking brake drum).

Unlike your normal braking system, the parking brake shoes are only used when the parking brake is engaged. So, if you press the brake pedal, the parking brake system is not in use. It’s only activated when you pull the lever or press the parking brake pedal down.

In general, your parking brake drum and shoes should last for a very long time, up to the life of the vehicle. However, there are things that can seriously reduce that lifespan. The most common is putting the car in gear and driving with the parking brake still engaged. This puts immense wear on both the shoe and the parking brake drum, and can cause premature failure.

You’ll also create significant wear to the parking brake drum if you engage the brake while you’re driving (using the parking brake as an emergency brake to augment the primary braking system).

A worn parking brake drum won’t keep you from driving your car, but it can lead to safety problems, particularly when parking on a slope (there’s a chance that your car will roll). If you encounter any problems, have a professional mechanic inspect and replace the parking brake drum in your vehicle.

Watch for these symptoms to indicate that your parking brake drum or the entire parking brake system needs repairs:

  • Car rolls when the parking brake is engaged
  • Too much travel in the parking brake lever or pedal (also an indicator of cable wear)
  • The brake will not hold the car in place when you idle the engine in gear
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...

Related questions

Q: Could the problem be my brakes or shocks?

The scraping sound you're hearing may be due to the parking brake contacting the drum in hat rotor without the parking brake being applied. You may need to replace the parking brake shoe and install a new spring clip retainer,...

Q: Is it possible to manually release a parking brake that has been engaged too far? 08 Honda Pilot

Looking at the foot operated pedal assembly, you will see a plastic wheel, or like mechanism possibly with metal spikes or steps, that locks the pedal when you depress it. That component is stuck or seized in place. If an...

Q: When backing up, my car makes a rocking noise.

The noise is the parking brakes are out of adjustment and the brakes are dragging. Check the rear brakes and see if they are releasing when going in reverse. If you need further assistance with your brake system, then seek...