Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Drum

Drum brakes are a common type of braking system found on the rear wheels of many vehicles. While they serve the same purpose as disc brakes to slow the vehicle, they do so in a slightly different manner. Instead of using calipers to squeeze pads onto a rotor, brake drums use wheel cylinders to push brake shoes against the inside of a brake drum to slow the wheel. As they function using friction and contact, they eventually wear out over time and need to be replaced. When they do go bad or begin to have a problem, usually brake drums will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver that a problem has occurred.

1. Unusual brake pedal feel

One of the first symptoms of bad or failing drum brakes is unusual brake pedal feel. If the brake drums are worn excessively they can cause vibrations that may be felt in the pedal. Worn drums may also cause shuddering or pulsating that will become noticeable once you step on the pedal.

2. Scraping noises when brakes are pressed

Another symptom commonly associated with bad brake drums is abnormal sounds. If the brake drums become excessively worn, they may give off a scraping or scratching sound when the brakes are depressed. This usually means the brake shoes have also become severely worn, and a close inspection would be required to determine the exact cause of the noise.

3. Loose parking brake

A loose parking brake is another symptom that is commonly associated with bad or failing drum brakes. As the drum brakes wear, the shoes may not be able to squeeze against the inside of the drum as easily, and as a result, the parking brake may not work as efficiently. When the drums are worn, you may notice that the car will slip a few inches after the parking brake is engaged. This may also be caused by a misadjusted brake cable, as well as potentially worn shoes. So it is recommended to have the vehicle properly inspected if you suspect this may be the case.

The brake drums are an important component that is critical to the proper operation of the vehicle’s braking system. For this reason, if you suspect that they may be worn, or may be having an issue, have the brake system inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the drums should be replaced.


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Mitchel

23 years of experience
233 reviews
Mitchel
23 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler - Brake System Inspection - Miami, Florida
I have schedule a brake pad replacement on my 2016 jeep wrangler because a year ago the dealer recommended that I need rear brakes.. Mitchel arrive on time and was very professional .after Mitchel inspected the jeep he show me that my brakes were still at 60%on the front and 50%on the rear so it was no need for replacement .I will never use any other service for my car repairs than this one . This is an excellent service if you don't want to get ripped off by mechanic shops and dealers

Daniel

27 years of experience
13 reviews
Daniel
27 years of experience
Chevrolet Corvette - Brake System Inspection - Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
Excellent Mechanic! Diagnosed the problem and told me exactly what I needed. Very Knowledgeable and on time!

Mario

6 years of experience
79 reviews
Mario
6 years of experience
Chevrolet Tahoe - Brake System Inspection - Glen Allen, Virginia
Mario was very professional. Displayed excellent customer service. Very detailed in explaining repairs needed on my vehicle.

Benji

21 years of experience
137 reviews
Benji
21 years of experience
Lincoln MKX - Brake System Inspection - Gilbert, Arizona
Very professional and knowledgeable. Very good business sense and cordial. Thank you for taking care of my car today! ☺

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