How Much Should Brake Drum Replacement Cost?

June 25, 2012

Brake drum replacement can be somewhat expensive but is necessary from time to time. Putting off brake repairs can lead to safety issues and in the end may result in more costly repairs.

What Is a Brake Drum? - Brake drums are manufactured from iron and one side is machined which is where the brake shoes make contact with it. Over time the brake drums will start to show wear and when the brake shoes are replaced the drum must be machined to provide a smooth surface for the new shoes. Stamped on the outside of a drum is a maximum diameter specification. This measurement can never be exceeded, so if when the drum is machined and it falls within this measurement the drum must be replaced.

Cost - The cost of a replacing a brake drums can be fairly expensive. The price will vary depending on your vehicle but in the majority of cases the cost will be between $300 to $500. If you are capable of doing the work yourself you can probably get the job done for around $150. Brake work can be tricky so if you are not confident or have no experience with brakes it is best to take it to a professional.

General Tips - When dealing with brake shops look for a reputable shop. Check online for reviews and consult friends and family for recommendations. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) keeps records on complaints against local businesses so check their website to make sure the shop you are using is reputable. Ask to see all the parts that the shop claims need to be replaced and ask for a quote in writing. It is best to set a price limit and any repairs above that price would require your approval.

Replacing your brake drums is an important repair that can help keep your vehicle running safely. While it can be fairly expensive they should not have to be replaced more then a few times over the lifetime of a vehicle.

Related Questions and Answers

How Do I Know When I Need to Replace the Brake Drum Rotor?

The brake drum rotor is an integral part of the braking system and should be replaced every time brake shoes are replaced. Brake drum rotors can become warped or grooved when the brake shoes wear down which will prevent them from allowing smooth braking. Furthermore, using old brake shoe drums can cause newly installed brake shoes to wear more quickly. Brake drums can be machined to make them smooth again; however, once they are at the minimum thickness, they must be replaced. Because brake drums, especially on older cars, are inexpensive, it is usually suggested they be replaced when new brake shoes are installed.

What Drum Brake Tools are Required for Drum Repairs and Replacements?

Drum brake tools are required in order to remove and replace the brake drums. A car jack is required to lift the vehicle; a lug nut wrench is needed to remove the wheels, and an automotive socket wrench set and a screwdriver may be needed in order to remove the drums. A hubcap key tool may be needed for some locking wheel types. The brake drums can rust and sometimes be difficult to remove so a screwdriver can sometimes be helpful; however, care must be taken when doing any type of brake repair or replacement in order to prevent damage to the braking system.

Where Can I Buy a Brake Drum Micrometer?

A brake drum micrometer is an essential tool for anyone who does brake repairs. It can be purchased at most auto parts stores, from a car dealer's parts department, and even at many big box retail stores with an automotive department. In addition, many online automotive parts retailers offer brake drum micrometers at a considerable discount. It is a good idea to purchase a brake drum micrometer that is easy to read, well marked, and durable. A brake drum micrometer allows the brake drum thickness to be measured in order to determine if it can be machined or requires replacement.

How Do I Figure Out My Car's Brake Drum Size?

Brake drum size varies between car models and can even vary depending on the trim. In order to replace the brake drums it is necessary to know the correct drum size. The owner's manual is the first place to look for vehicle specs. If the information is not found in the owner's manual the dealer's auto parts department will have the information available. In addition, numerous online auto parts stores will also list the drum size for each car model and trim. Other sources include automobile service manuals and a visual inspection. A visual inspection requires tools in order to remove the wheel and brake drum, which can be less convenient than asking the dealer or auto parts store.