The introduction of disc brakes beginning in the 1970s eclipsed the older, more outdated technology of the drum brake. This style, however, is still used in some cars today, most often on the rear brakes and typically in order to reduce manufacturing costs. These drums get worn down over time and will inevitably need replacing.
Signs that it is time to perform this repair include a “soft” pedal – meaning when you try to brake, you have to push harder than normal to come to a stop. You may also feel an uneven pressure, like a pulsing sensation, when applying the brake pedal. This results from grooves created by wear on the inside of the drum.
You want to be sure you’re getting the best drum for your money, because your family’s safety – as well as that of others on the road – depends on it. You want a good combination of durability and heat dissipation, as the brake drum is exposed to a lot of friction.
Keep a few things in mind to make sure you’re getting a good quality brake drum:
Material: Look for aluminum drums with a steel or iron interior liner. All cast iron brake drums are available, however, aluminum is lighter and offers fade reduction. Aluminum also conducts heat better.
Balance: Make sure your brakes are evenly balanced; you’ll want even weight distribution for optimal braking.
Warranty: Ask about the warranty. Different brands offer wildly varying warranties so you’re better off shopping your warranty according to the seller. For example, AutoZone offers a two-year warranty on its Duralast drums, while BrakePerformance.com provides a lifetime warranty on theirs. Balance your budget restrictions with a warranty that suits your needs.
YourMechanic supplies top-quality brake drums to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a brake drum that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on brake drum replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Brake Drum and was authored by Valerie Johnston.