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.


Next Step

Schedule Brake System Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake System Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Brake System Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(258)

Rating Summary
242
8
2
1
5
242
8
2
1
5

Mazyar

8 years of experience
353 reviews
Mazyar
8 years of experience
Nissan Xterra - Brake System Inspection - Lithonia, Georgia
Mark was very professional , told me exactly what my problem was and more I’m very pleased , Thank You Mark
Pontiac Montana - Brake System Inspection - Atlanta, Georgia
Mark was personable. Very professional. I was so impressed that I asked if he could come back to do the follow up when I was ready.

Joel

21 years of experience
984 reviews
Joel
21 years of experience
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Brake System Inspection - Jacksonville, Florida
Joel, did a very good job explained everything he was doing answered all my question and was straight forward what he is doing and going to do with fixing my truck
Infiniti G35 - Brake System Inspection - Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Joel was great. Honest fast and professional. He is the automobile maintenance version of the trusted family doctor, attorney etc. Good to have a QB to save time and $pin job at dealership etc!

Benji

22 years of experience
199 reviews
Benji
22 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake System Inspection - Phoenix, Arizona
Benji performed a detailed inspection on my 2007 Range Rover and completed the work very quickly. Highly recommend!!
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! ☺

Scott

36 years of experience
802 reviews
Scott
36 years of experience
Chevrolet C10 Pickup - Brake System Inspection - Mesa, Arizona
Scott was on time and knowledgeable. Diagnosed the problem and explained what needed to be done next.

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

Related articles

I Hit the Brakes Very Hard. Did I Create a Flat Spot on My Tires?
Almost Almost everyone, at some point in his or her driving experience, will slam on the brakes. Slamming on the brakes is generally more than just an emotional response to a situation. When you're avoiding an accident or reacting to...
How Long Do Brake Rotors Last?
Brake rotors, sometimes called discs, are an important component of the braking system on any vehicle. The brake rotors are the part of...
Can a Leak in the Brake System Cause Total Brake Failure?
Although Although there are several issues that can lead to total brake failure, the most common one is some form of brake fluid leak. When a brake leak is present, it affects the fluid pressure in your system. Since it...

Related questions

Occasional hesitation and shaking, brakes engage randomly

Hello. I suggest to inspect two components for possible faults. It is possible that the accelerator pedal position sensor is improperly translating pedal position which will greatly impact the air-fuel ratio negatively which could cause a hesitation. I'd suggest getting help from a...

Slight vibration and knocking when braking suddenly

This sounds like you are feeling the anti-lock brakes working as they should. Sometimes when the rotors get warped then your brakes can lock up earlier than normal and the ABS kicks in. You should have the brake system inspected...

My rear piston will not compress on my 2014 Ford Focus titanium

The rear calipers does not just screw in but requires to be pressed in at the same time it is being turned. If it still does not go in then you need to replace the caliper.

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com