Brake Repair

How to Remove a Stuck Brake Drum


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A stuck brake drum is a potential problem that many vehicles experience and one that could cause a lot of headaches and money to repair if you were to bring your vehicle into a mechanic. Luckily you can remove a stuck brake drum yourself, though this may require the use of a specialized tool called a brake drum puller.  Here’s how you do it.

Before you start tugging on your drum with the brake drum puller it is a good idea to exhaust other options that may work just as well. On occasion you can remove the brake drum in another manner. Worn drums often will develop a ridge inside the open edge. This can sometimes cause the drum to hang onto the shoes. Begin by rotating the drum until the access hole is lined up with the slotted adjuster screw. Next rotate the adjusted screw counter-clockwise until it stops. This method can potentially allow the shoes to loosen and retract allowing you to remove the drum. If that doesn’t you still have other options.

If the drum turns freely but won’t release from the center studs you will need to try these methods in order to remove it. First remove the two screws holding it in place. Next give the drum a solid, hard pull to see if you can remove it manually without tools. Next place a screwdriver under the flange and hit the end with a rubber mallet. Don’t overdo it as too much aggression could result in more damage. The drum should pop off immediately and if it doesn’t it will be time to use the brake drum puller.

Brake drum pullers look like a three pronged claw and should be readily available at any auto parts store. Attach the puller to the drum at three equally spaced points over the flange of the brake drum. The center screw should be placed over the center of the wheel hub. Tighten the manual screw. This will pull the brake drum puller tight and begin to pull the drum away from wheel. Make sure you don’t over-torque the puller or else you could cause damage to your drum, permanently deforming it. While the puller is snug use a hammer to tap on the back of the drum, loosening it from the wheel. When striking the drum it is important to try and strike it as much in a true outward angle as possible.

Hopefully by using one of these methods you are able to remove your stuck brake drum. Most often this type of problem is caused by rusted drum on vehicles that are inactive a long time but it isn’t uncommon for any vehicle to occasionally experience this problem. As always if you are unsure of doing this type of work or believe yourself unable of performing this repair you are advised to bring your vehicle into a mechanic for repairs in order to prevent yourself from causing further damage to the vehicle or yourself.

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