Drum Brake Replacement Cost

Until disc brakes were introduced, drum brakes were the standard mechanism for stopping a car. Disc brakes took over because of their enhanced braking power. Not surprisingly, they are regarded to be much safer than traditional drum brakes. That said, drum brakes can still be found in many cars today, usually in economy models.

This is primarily because the drum brakes are inexpensive to produce. Plus, they require less maintenance. Not to discount the fact that the modern drum brakes have improved a lot with time. Believe it or not, the modern drum brakes are designed to last for 150,000 to over 200,000 miles, of course, under normal conditions. If your car is due for a drum brake replacement, and you want to know the cost involved in the process, keep reading.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace the Drum Brake?

how much does it cost to replace a drum brake

Of course, nobody out there will be able to make an accurate dead accurate guess on how much a drum brake replacement will cost you because it will depend on the following factors:

  • How much work is needed to address the issue, and who is going to do the work? Are you going to a backyard mechanic, an independent shop owner, or your immediate neighbor to get the job done? Not to mention that the labor rates vary from one place to another. For instance, the labor rates in San Francisco might be way higher than the labor rates in Texas.
  • The price for the drum brakes won’t be the same for all the cars out there. Drum brakes for a Ferrari will obviously cost you more than a Toyota. Also, drum brakes for the same car may be available in different quality and prices. Needless to say, the decision to choose a higher quality part will go a long way in guaranteeing an acceptable braking performance for many years and beyond.

Having explained the factors that can influence the price, let’s provide you with a rough estimate of the price for a drum brake replacement. The average cost sits between $225 to $400. The part itself will sell for $60 to $125. As expected, the rest of the expenses will go towards the labor fee.

Auto CenterPrice
Walmart$60 – $125
NAPA$240 – $380
Mr Tire$230 – $350
Midas$225 – $370
Your Mechanic
$255– $400

After all, a significant amount of work is needed to fix the issue. Although replacing a drum brake is a fairly expensive procedure, you might feel the need to replace it only twice or thrice during the entire lifespan of your vehicle.

When Should You Consider Changing the Drum Brake?

A decrease in braking power: If the drum brake cracks or wears out, the stopping distance will get extended, which should tell you that an outright replacement of the drum brake is a must.

Vibration and noise: Malfunctioning of the drum brake can cause a metal to metal contact. As a result, you will hear noises. You will also witness that the car is vibrating a lot.

Damage to the brake shoe: If the drum brake gets damaged from overheating or scoring, it can cause damage to the brake shoe as well. As a result, the vehicle’s ability to slow down will reduce considerably.

Malfunctioning of the parking brake: Drum brake problems can also lead to loss of parking brake because the parking brake is located inside the brake drum system.

If you notice any of these symptoms in the car you are driving, you should consider getting your car inspected for a potential drum brake replacement.

Drum Brake Replacement Procedure Explained:

  • To perform the replacement procedure, the mechanic will raise the car and support it with steel jack stands, of course, for safety reasons.
  • Then, the tire and the wheel assembly will be removed, which will make it easy to remove the drum brake.
  • If the drum brake refuses to pop out easily due to rust, then a drum brake puller would be needed to remove it.
  • Then, the internal diameter of the drum surface will be measured with the help of a drum brake micrometer.
  • This measurement will tell the mechanic if adequate metal exists to continue with the existing drum brake.
  • Keep in mind that the drum brakes get smaller as they wear out. Looking at their size, the mechanic can take a call if they need to be replaced or not.
  • Before installing the new brake drum, the mechanic will inspect the springs, brake shoes, wheel cylinder, backing plate, and the parking brake mechanism.
  • All the damaged parts will be replaced with newer parts. New brake shoes will be installed as well because worn-out shoes will affect braking efficiency.
  • The brake shoes will be properly adjusted, and the new drum brake will be fitted. Both the brake drums will be replaced at the same time.
  • Then, the tire and wheel assembly will be set in a proper sequence. Finally, the vehicle will be road tested to inspect the brake’s operation.

How to Save Money on Drum Brake Replacement Cost?

what is the average price of a drum brake replacement

Replacing the drum brake is not an easy task. So, it shouldn’t be attempted by folks who are not cautious enough to perform a complex job of this nature. If you can’t save on the labor cost, you can try saving money on the part by ordering it yourself.

You can easily find all the necessary parts online or offline these days. Since you are cutting the middleman, you are bound to get the parts at a cheaper rate than what the repair shop would normally charge you for the same. Of course, make sure to check whether or not the car mechanic will agree to fit the parts that you will be providing.

To avoid an expensive mistake, take a look at the car manual. Needless to say, a glance at the owner manual will help you acquire the right parts.

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