Figure 9. Brake shoe

Photo courtesy of a local AutoZone store

Servicing

­The most common service required for drum brakes is changing the brake shoes. Some drum brakes provide an inspection hole on the back side, where you can see how much material is left on the shoe. Brake shoes should be replaced when the friction material has worn down to within 1/32 inch (0.8 mm) of the rivets. If the friction material is bonded to the backing plate (no rivets), then the shoes should be replaced when they have only 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) of material left.

Just as in disc brakes, deep scores sometimes get worn into brake drums. If a worn-out brake shoe is used for too long, the rivets that hold the friction material to the backing can wear grooves into the drum. A badly scored drum can sometimes be repaired by refinishing. Where disc brakes have a minimum allowable thickness, drum brakes have a maximum allowable diameter. Since the contact surface is the inside of the drum, as you remove material from the drum brake the diameter gets bigger.

Figure 10. Brake drum

For a detailed illustration of the different parts of front and rear drum brakes, check out the next page!