There’s been a big push for disc brakes lately, but drum brakes still rule. They’re tried and true technology, and with careful over-the-road driving, they can last a long time. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Consider a few drum brake tips for the coming months.
Rust Never Sleeps
Because of new de-icing chemicals used on many snowbelt roads, drum brake linings have been hit with rust jacking. Hosing off the underside of your rig after winter driving is a good practice, but it may not be enough. Scheduling a mid-winter or early spring brake lining service is a good move.
Another corrosion-related problem can occur with trailers that have been run in the winter and then parked. In this case, corrosive action between the drum and the linings can cause the brakes to freeze up. If you hook up a trailer that’s been sitting and the wheels start dragging, drum-to-lining corrosion may be the culprit.
Gauge The Wear
Some brake linings come with built-in wear indicators. If not, ask your mechanic to use a wear gauge. By tracking your days in service and the wear on the brake linings, he can make a pretty good estimate of lining life.
Save The Shields
Speaking of brake service, many rigs are fitted with dust shields that help keep sand and corrosive material out. But a less-than-skilled mechanic may bend the shields or even discard them during service. The only way to avoid this is to go with a trusted shop who won’t give your brake job to a newbie.
Don’t Buy Cheap
Finally, remember that there is a difference between bargain brake linings and drums, and premium products. Pay a little more up front and you’ll not only skip at least one reline over time, but also be assured of fewer problems down the road.