How to Clean Drum Brakes – A Complete Step-By-Step Process

With time drum brakes become a home to debris and grime owing to its continuous usage. Taking proper care of the drum brakes thus becomes essential in order to maintain car’s brake system. When you are confused about how to clean drum brakes, reading through the following process can be helpful.

How to Clean Drum Brakes – A 4 Step Process

The lubrication of the drum brake may wash away with exposure to wet or dusty terrains. This, in turn, may lead to unwanted grinding noise from the car once the brakes are applied. Such a symptom indicates the need for cleaning drum brakes. Read on to know how.

1. Bleed Off the Brake Fluid

The first step towards knowing how to clean drum brakes involves draining off the brake fluid. Locate the master cylinder and move on with emptying at least half of the brake fluid. Replace the drained brake fluid with the fresh one once the old is disposed of.

Remember to follow the guidelines and standards set by the authorities related to disposing of the oil.

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2. Take the Wheel Out

This process is similar to changing your wheel in case of a puncture. Grab a tire iron and loosen each of lugs by turning it anticlockwise. Now move on to mounting the car with the help of the jacks. Following this again use your tire iron to remove the loosened lugs completely.

Complete guide how to clean drum brakes
Advantages of how to clean drum brakes (Photo Source: carfromjapan)

Now you can remove the tire out by merely pulling it slowly from its place. If you haven’t done such a thing before, refer to maintenance tips for knowing the process of changing a tire.

3. Take Off the Drum Brake

The first step involves locating the access hole present just outside the drum brake. Turn the brake drum to align the drum’s adjuster screw to the access hole. Now turn the adjuster screw so that it comes closes down. By now the shoes of the drum should loosen out from the wheel.

Now you can move on to pulling out the drum from the car. If the drum fails to come off on its own, move on with unscrewing the drum with a screwdriver to remove it.

4. Clean the Drum

Once the drum brake component has moved out from the car’s system, you can move on with cleaning drum brakes. You can either use a brake cleaner available readily in the market. Or simply use soap and water to get rid of the accumulated debris on the drum brake.

Steps for how to clean drum brakes
Tricks for how to clean drum brakes (Photo Source: offroad)

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Now apply lubricant wherever the metal to metal contact is occurring such as the part where the shoe slides. Now you are done! You may move on with putting the drum and the wheel back by following the mentioned steps in the reverse order.


This was the complete to-know process to know as to how to clean drum brakes. Being a DIY expert is not that tricky, all you need to do is believe in yourself and get going with the process.