How to Turn Brake Drums

January 27, 2012

The braking system of your vehicle is one of the most crucial parts of the car and is integral to the safety of the vehicle; make sure that you turn brake drums as often as is necessary in order to protect the overall quality of your brakes. Making any necessary brake repairs as soon as possible after you notice any damage to the braking system will ensure that your vehicle has the safest and most reliable brakes possible. Failure to perform these tasks will result in a car that is less safe to you, other passengers in the vehicle and to other people around you as you drive. Read on for a guide to turning the brake drums, one of the integral parts of your vehicle's braking system.

Step 1 - Collect the Necessary Tools and Materials

You'll need the following tools and materials in order to turn the brake drums on your vehicle:

  • Wheel chocks or wooden blocks to keep the car wheels in place
  • Jack
  • Axle stands
  • Car grease and rags
  • Screwdrivers and other tools
  • Metal bar, long enough to reach at least 2 feet

Step 2 - Block the Car Wheels and Jack the Vehicle

Carefully place the chocks or blocks so that they prevent the wheels on the car from moving whatsoever. If you have any trouble with this, look online for a set of guidelines. Next, use the car jack to lift up the rear portion of the car. Use the axle stands to hold the car up in place. Ideally, you should lift the car up several inches so that you'll be able to access the underside of the car easily.

Step 3 - Remove the Brake Drum Cover Plug

The brake drum will be connected to the adjuster in the braking system by a plug or a cover. Use the metal bar to carefully remove the plug from the brake drum. You may also need to manually rotate the adjuster in order to remove the brake drum, provided that the drum itself is stuck.

Step 4 - If Necessary, Remove the the Holding Screws

The holding screws attach the brake drum itself to the wheel hub. If the brake drum will not come loose, use the screwdrivers and grease to gently unscrew these items. Having done so, you can then pull the brake drum off. Repeat these steps for the other brake drums on the car.

Step 5 - Take the Drums to a Garage

Unless you have a lathe in your home, you'll need to take the drums from the braking system in your car into a garage to have them professionally turned. The turning process is one of the most important steps in drum machining and involves scraping off small shavings of the drums themselves in order to make them function more efficiently and consistently.

Ask a mechanic for additional assistance or advice. Mechanics can also help you to reinstall the brake drums after, if you need it.