Drum brakes were standard equipment on cars and trucks for decades, then in the 1970s they were relegated to the rear axle by front disc brakes. Today most vehicles have four wheel disc brakes, but drum brakes are still used at the rear on many trucks and non-performance cars. Although disc brakes have many technological advantages, drum brakes generally provide noise free operation and simplify parking brake design.

Featured Products



Featured Brands

A typical drum brake assembly has two “shoes” which provide the metal frame to which the friction lining is bonded or riveted. The shoes are held to a backing plate by hold-down springs and actuated by pistons in a hydraulic wheel cylinder. When the brakes are applied, the friction linings contact the friction surface of the brake drum, which encloses the brake assembly and turns with the wheel. Return springs retract the shoes after brake application.

The brake drum mounts on the axle or wheel hub, and some drums incorporate the hub. Most brake drums are made of solid cast iron, but there are also steel and aluminum drums with cast iron liners. The machined friction surface on all drums is cast iron. Both steel and aluminum drums are lighter than one-piece cast iron, and aluminum drums run cooler. Some drums have cooling fins cast into the drum and some drums have a coil spring around the circumference of the drum to dampen noise and vibration. Brake drums come in various diameters and depths (width) according to application.

The friction surface of a brake drum naturally wears with use, which enlarges the inside diameter of the drum. All drums have a maximum, or discard diameter that is usually cast into or stamped on the outside of the drum. It is unsafe to use a drum with a diameter larger than this specification, because it will be too thin to properly dissipate heat and will not have the structural strength to withstand braking force without possibly distorting or cracking. Drums can also be scored from dirt and extremely worn shoes, and become bell-mouthed and develop heat checks, hard spots, and cracks from excessive heat and stress.

Machining a worn drum may not remove friction surface defects within diameter specifications, and some defects can’t be eliminated by refinishing. Instead of finding out you need new drums while you’re in the middle of the repair, why not be proactive and order a set of our replacement drums so you have everything needed to complete the job? Our replacement drums are made to OE specs, with the proper metallurgy for long life. They’re precision machined for smooth brake operation, and balanced to ensure vibration free performance. We also offer complete drum kits that include drums, shoes, hardware, and wheel cylinders.

Related Categories

Guides & Articles

  • Performance Brakes, Pads & Rotors
    Why is it important to do a brake fluid flush?
    If you've ever visited an automotive dealership service department, you may have been told that your vehicle needs a brake fluid flush. Or you might have received a coupon mailer offering this service for a discounted price. Maybe you thought it was an attempt on the part of the dealer to separate you from your money for something you don't really need. After all, you have made the effort to learn more about your brakes, and you understand that occasionally, the brake pads and rotors will wear out and need replacing. However, you've never heard of a "brake fluid flush".
  • Performance Brakes, Pads & Rotors
    Glossary of Brake Terminology
    Whether you're looking to replace worn brake pads and rotors or delving into more detailed brake repairs or upgrades that involve new calipers, proportioning valves, master cylinders, vacuum boosters, and more, you will come across a lot of different terminology when it comes to brake components. Depending on your knowledge and experience, a lot of these terms may be elementary. However, because many of them use similar words but represent completely different things, we've created this glossary to help you understand exactly what you need, and what you don't.
  • Replacement Brake Parts
    Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes Explained!
    If you have owned a car or truck for more than a few months, you are undoubtedly aware that your vehicle's brakes occasionally need replacing. Let's face it, we can be hard on our brakes. Highway speeds, stop-and-go traffic, and heavy cargo loads are some of the more significant factors which increase brake wear.
  • Replacement Brake Parts
    Special Tools Used In Brake Service
    In this article, we’ll introduce you to the specific tools designed to be used when replacing brake components and servicing your brake system. Having the right tools BEFORE you start working on your vehicle makes these types of jobs quick, easy, and doable for the home mechanic. It also prevents having to put things back together before the job is finished because a tool needs to be purchased. Owning the right tools and doing the job yourself will save you hundreds of dollars by sparing you a visit to the repair shop – and much more over the course of a lifetime of brake work.
  • Performance Brakes, Pads & Rotors
    Is It Time For New Brakes?
    Squealing noise upon brake application is actually caused by a high-frequency vibration of metal rotors, drums, or brake pad backing plates. Excess corrosion that forms over time on non-contact, outer perimeter areas of rotors and drums is a prime cause because rust is looser and less dense in nature – therefore, more likely to create resonation.

Brake Drums Reviews

Average rating:  5  4.8 - 38 reviews
Read All Brake Drums Reviews
4.5 of 5
Drum-to-Disc Conversion Kit
Had a little trouble hooking up the proportioning valve, because I had to get adapters to get it to work with my standard 67 Camaro.
BPosted by Brent (Montrose, MO) /
1967 Chevy Camaro
Was this review helpful for you? Yes
View More
Related Brake Drums Pages
SECURE SHOPPING

All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only.
It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by CARiD.com, is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.