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
Icon-warranty_badge-02

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.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: Brake line leaking at front passenger's side wheel

Hi. Sounds to me that you have a leaking brake line to your brake caliper. Also the loss in brake pressure is because of the release in pressure from the leaking line. I would recommend having a certified mechanic come...

Q: I am trying to push the vehicle out of a tow away zone. It's in neutral; but will not move.

Try checking to be sure the parking brake is not set. Other than the parking brake or being in gear still, there is no reason the car should not roll.

Q: Parking brake replacement.

One of two things could be causing your parking brake issue. This is either caused by parking brake shoes that have been completely worn down causing them not to grip the brake rotor enough to hold the vehicle in place...