How to Tell if Drum Brakes Are Bad?

How to Tell if Drum Brakes Are Bad
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As a car owner, you must know how to tell if drum brakes are bad; why? The drum brakes on your car are an essential part of the braking system that it utilizes.


When you push down on the brake pedal, they are the ones that bring your vehicle to a halt and bring it to a slower speed. 

Drum brakes provide a stopping sensation that is uniformly smooth and comfortable when they are in good operating order.

Drum brakes, on the other hand, might lose some effectiveness over time due to wear and tear, which can put you and your passengers in danger. 

In this post, we will go over how to tell if drum brakes are bad and what measures you can take to remedy any problems that may arise.

Signs That Your Drum Brakes May Be Damaged or Worn

There are several warning indications that indicate your drum brakes may be faulty or worn out. The following are some of the most often occurring symptoms:

Reduced Ability to Apply the Brakes

Worn or broken drum brakes may not be able to give the same stopping force as when they were first installed on a vehicle.

This may make it take longer to come to a stop, and it can also increase the likelihood that you will be involved in an accident.

Grinding or Screaming Noise

Another sign that helps you know how to tell if drum brakes are bad is a grinding or screaming noise.

When the brake pedal is pressed on a vehicle with drum brakes that have worn out, the brakes may generate a grinding or screaming sound. 

The friction materials on the brake shoes are wearing down, and as a result, they are making contact with the brake drums, causing the noise.

Vibrations Experienced During Braking

When you press the brake pedal, you might feel vibrations in the brake pedal or the steering wheel if the drum brakes on your vehicle are worn out or damaged.

This may be due to the brake shoes or drums wearing unevenly, or it may result from some other problem.

Pulling to One Side

If the drum brakes on a vehicle become worn or damaged, they may lose some of their ability to provide an equal amount of stopping power on both sides of the vehicle. Applying the brakes may cause the vehicle to pull to the opposite side of the road.

Warning light

Some vehicles are equipped with a warning light that will illuminate when the brake pads become worn or when the brake fluid level becomes low.

Drum Brake Examination and Maintenance

If you observe any of the symptoms described above that will help you know how to tell if drum brakes are bad, you must get an inspection of your drum brakes as soon as humanly possible. The following steps are typically included in the inspection process:

Examining the Performance of the Brake Shoes

The friction materials that slow down and stop the vehicle are the brake shoes, which press against the brake drums. 

During the inspection, the mechanic will evaluate the brake shoes’ thickness to determine whether they still contain an adequate amount of material to deliver the desired stopping power.

Inspect the Brake Drums

The large metal cylinders known as the brake drums are what the brake shoes press against to slow and eventually stop the vehicle.

The mechanic will inspect the brake drums for any indications of damage or wear, such as scoring, grooves, or fractures in the surface.

Examine the Hardware of the Brakes

The springs, pins, and other components that maintain the brake shoes in position and guarantee that they push against the brake drums in the right manner are included in the brake hardware.

The technician will examine the brake hardware to see whether it shows any wear or damage symptoms, such as rust or corrosion.

Checking the Amount of the Brake Fluid

It is important to check the level of the brake fluid and add more of it if it is low.

Performing a Check on the Braking System

The mechanic will examine the whole braking system, from the calipers and brake lines to the hoses and hose fittings, to verify that everything is operating as it should.

If the mechanic inspects your drum brakes and discovers any problems, they will normally suggest replacing the brake shoes or drums and any other required components. This is standard procedure.

Drum Brake Preventative Maintenance

Knowing how to tell if drum brakes are bad, what are some preventive maintenance for drum brakes? 

It is essential to do regular maintenance on your drum brakes if you want to guarantee that they are operating correctly. Drum brake maintenance may be broken down into many stages, some of which are as follows:

Performing Routine Checks on the Level of Brake Fluid

If necessary, checking the braking fluid level and adding more are important maintenance tasks.

Maintaining a Regular Inspection Schedule for the Braking System

It would help if you did routine checks on your braking system to look for any symptoms of wear or damage. This inspection should include the brake shoes, drums, and other hardware and components.

Maintaining Vigilance on the Brake Pads

The friction materials that slow down and stop the car are the brake pads, which push on the brake drums.

You should measure the thickness of the brake pads regularly to verify that they still have sufficient substance to deliver the necessary amount of stopping force.

Driving Habits

Try to avoid slamming on the brakes and accelerating quickly. Because of this, the lifespan of the braking system will be increased, and the danger of wear and damage will be decreased.

Keeping Up with the Standard Procedures for Maintenance

Braking checks should be scheduled at regular intervals, and the brake system should be maintained as required.

This will assist in guaranteeing that the drum brakes on your vehicle are performing correctly and will extend the life of the braking system.

Bottom Line

Drum brakes provide a stopping sensation that is uniformly smooth and comfortable when they are in good operating order.

On the other hand, drum brakes might lose effectiveness over time due to wear and tear, which can put you and your passengers in danger. 

So, how can you tell if drum brakes are bad? You can ensure that your brakes are functioning properly and keep you and your passengers safe on the road by being aware of the symptoms of worn or damaged drum brakes (like the ones listed above) and by taking steps to maintain your drum brakes. 

Doing so can prevent worn or damaged drum brakes from occurring in the first place.

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