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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Johnny

33 years of experience
264 reviews
Johnny
33 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 L4-2.4L - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
Johnny arrived early which was great, he performed the inspection in less than half an hour, and gave us a complete quote for all items needing attention, including the brakes as our main concern. Johnny is fast and efficient so I scheduled the work done by him.
Ford Escape - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
The convenience is worth the cost. I was also tired of the dealership not really caring about my old car. Last couple of times I had to wait well over an hour to get my car after the dealership said "It's ready!". They also wouldn't fix the things I asked saying they didn't have time and I need to come back.

Jay

37 years of experience
947 reviews
Jay
37 years of experience
Chevrolet C10 Pickup V8-5.4L - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
Knowledgeable, Professional, Friendly, and PATIENT! Sickeningly HONEST, as I tried to ply him with cash, alcohol, outside work, and wild dancing girls - although I wouldn't have "ratted him out" if he HAD accepted. A guy like this needs a "bigger cut" than what you are paying him ... because loyalty like his is hard to find these days! THANKS!
Volkswagen Jetta - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
As usual, Mr. Jay provides efficient and professional quality of work. I would highly recommend him to any customer searching for a good mechanic.

Christopher

10 years of experience
114 reviews
Christopher
10 years of experience
Ford Explorer V6-3.5L - Brake System Inspection - Katy, Texas
Christopher was very knowledgeable and was able to address our concerns. We would trust him with future service needs.

Jesse

16 years of experience
61 reviews
Jesse
16 years of experience
Nissan Frontier V6-3.3L - Brake System Inspection - Flagler Beach, Florida
Jesse took the time to explain everything that was going to be done and why and then proceeded to repair my truck not only professionally but quickly. As a disabled Veteran and no longer able to perform work that was needed to be done it is nice to know a mechanic such as Jesse will take the time to explain all the various issues and what needs to be done before a blanket you need everything. After Jesse went thru everything I felt comfortable that all work was required and needed. 8 can safely say I will use yourmechanoc .com again and hope I can request Jess

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