What is the Parking Brake Drum all about?
Your primary braking system is an essential component of your vehicle. However, there’s a second braking system that’s just as important, although not as obvious. Your parking brake is responsible for keeping your car safely in one spot when you’re parked on a grade, and for ensuring that the weight of the car doesn’t rest on the transmission.
The parking brake is activated by either pulling a lever or pushing an auxiliary brake pedal, which pulls a cable that runs beneath the car from the cabin to the rear wheels. This cable then pulls on the actuator within the parking brake drum, forcing the shoes apart and holding your vehicle in place.
In a disc-brake setup, the drum is built into the back of the rear brake discs. In a drum-brake system, the parking brake uses the existing drums and shoes in the rear. Over time and through normal use, the parking brake components wear. The shoes will wear out well before the drum, but the drum can suffer damage before that happens.
Keep in mind:
- Parking brake drum condition can be assessed during brake system inspections.
- Drum resurfacing is a normal part of vehicle maintenance and should be done regularly.
- Shoe replacement is not required as frequently as pad replacement because it undergoes inspection during regular maintenance.
- Driving with your parking brake engaged will quickly reduce the lifespan of both the shoes and the parking brake drum.
How it's done:
- The vehicle is lifted and supported on jack stands and the rear wheels are removed
- The defective parking brake drums are removed
- The new parking brake drums are installed
- The wheels are reinstalled and the vehicle is removed from jack stands
- The vehicle is tested and checked for parking brake operation
While the parking brake actuation system is separate from your primary braking system, they’re both tied together. Brake wear (both shoe and parking brake drum) is normal and must be rectified with regular maintenance, including resurfacing and shoe replacement. Have your vehicle maintained by our expert mechanics, who are capable of inspecting your brakes and providing advice on maintenance intervals for your parking brake drum.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Parking Brake Drum?
- Weak braking action
- Damaged drum
- Parking brake doesn’t hold fast when engaged
How important is this service?
While parking brake drums will last for a very long time, they can be damaged in accidents and by driving with the parking brake engaged. If you suspect that your parking brake drum needs to be resurfaced, the shoes need to be replaced, or that there is damage to the drum, have the drum inspected and repaired immediately.