How to replace brake shoes:

Why you should change your car brake shoes and how to do it yourself!

Drum brakes are a simple yet critical component of your vehicle. Squealing, low or spongy brake pedal, wheel grab, or pulling to one side or the other while braking are all warning signs not to be ignored. While inspecting drum brakes, also look for signs of leaking brake fluid. Dark or damp brake dust can mean wheel cylinder or axle seal failure.

Warning! Never reinstall worn brake components of any kind.

Advance Auto Parts carries quality auto parts, including brake parts and components. Learn how to replace brake shoes by reading this article, and then restore your braking power back with drum brake rebuild components from Advance Auto Parts.

Why you should inspect and replace your car brake shoes:

Worn shoes can dramatically reduce the stopping power of your vehicle. Ignoring worn shoes can lead to more expensive repairs such as grooved brake drums that will have to be replaced. Worn rear shoes will also accelerate front disc pad wear, causing a low brake pedal and delayed braking response.

Specialized, yet relatively inexpensive, tools and quality auto parts are available from Advance Auto Parts making the job easier than ever before.

What you will need for a brake shoe replacement:

Do-it-yourself difficulty guide for a brake shoe job:

Estimated time required - 2 hours

Discover how to replace brake shoes on your own – and save.

This job requires the use of your vehicle’s repair manual. Improperly assembled brakes can be dangerous. Release the emergency brake before starting. Do not breathe in brake dust.

  1. Remove brake drum and inspect brake assembly for signs of leakage. Leaky wheel cylinders must be replaced. Take a picture or make notes about the layout before proceeding.
  2. Clean everything with brake cleaner, using a drip tray beneath. Allow cleaner to dry, then remove the top return springs. Leave one set of brakes assembled for reference.
  3. Remove the hold down spring assemblies. A special removal tool makes this job a breeze. Stop the retaining post from turning by holding it from behind with your finger.
  4. Remove the assembly that captures the adjuster, then the adjuster itself. Note the adjuster direction as it will need to go back in the same way. Lightly lubricate the threads with high-temp grease.
  5. Remove the shoes and emergency brake cable clip if required. Use a screwdriver to remove clip and pliers to reinstall.
  6. Reclean the backing plate with brake cleaner. Allow to dry. Apply a light film of high-temp grease to the flat spots where the shoes contact the backing plate.
  7. Reverse the disassembly process using the new hardware and springs from your brake kit. Back down the adjuster so the drum will install easily. Reclean the shoes one last time.
  8. Reinstall the drum. Adjust the brakes by turning the adjusting star and the drum at the same time until you hear the shoes contact the drum. Consult your repair manual for reference.


Visit Advance Auto Parts for the quality auto parts needed to get your vehicle maintenance jobs done properly and quickly.