How to Adjust Rear Drum Brakes on Chevy Silverado?

Brakes are important. They’re the only thing that stands between you and your destination. Otherwise, everything starts to go wrong. Thus, it’s worth taking some time to understand how they work. If you have a Chevrolet Silverado, then this is for you. It is a popular vehicle that has drum brakes on the rear axle.

Here is the DIY guide on how to adjust rear drum brakes on Chevy Silverado. It will help you save some bucks by doing it yourself!

adjust rear drum brakes

What is the rear drum brake?

A rear drum brake is a brake that serves as part of the braking system in trucks, cars, and other vehicles. It consists of an outer drum plus an inner drum rotating with your vehicle’s wheel. The drum rotates around the axle when you hit the brake pedal to stop heavy equipment. At the circular edge of the drum, metal pieces squeeze together when you step on the drum pedal. Basically, a brake drum structure has pistons wheel cylinder, which push brake shoes against a spinning drum. This interaction decelerates and halts the spin of the brake drum as well as the car.

How to adjust rear drum brakes on Chevy Silverado

Here’s the process of regulating drum brakes on Chevy Silverado. It is easy to do but requires proper tools.

Materials needed:

1. A new brake drum shoe kit. (if you can’t get your shoes to control)

2. Adjustable socket wrench.

 3. A drum brake adjuster tool kit.

Step 1: Release drum brakes

Before adjusting drum brakes, always make sure that your brake system is not engaged. If the drum isn’t completely disengaged, it can damage your brake adjuster tool kit. Also, it causes serious injury to you or an assistant.

Gently pull out on the emergency handle or push down on the foot release to disengage the drum. If you have four-wheel drive, release the parking brake and shift the transfer case into neutral. It will release pressure from your front and rear brakes.

Step 2: Loosen brake drum lug nuts

Your front wheels have disc. Thus, you will need to raise the vehicle and remove the back tires if you’re working on your drum brakes. Next, use a socket wrench to loosen all of the lug nuts. Now that they are loose enough go into reverse gear and take off the nuts completely. Then remove the drum and place it to the side of your vehicle.

Step 3: Adjust drum brake shoes

Before you can regulate drum, you need to remove them. You need to slide the brake shoe using your hands until it is about 1/4 of an inch away from the adjusting screw. Then place your adjustable wrench on top of the adjuster bolt and turn it counterclockwise.

Step 4: Place back drum brakes and tighten lug nuts

After repairing the rear drum brakes:

  1. Place them back on your vehicle.
  2. Take some time to organize the lug nuts in the same position before you remove them.
  3. Once it’s done, use your socket wrench to tighten the nuts.
  4. Do this in a cross pattern to prevent any warping of your shoes.

Step 5: Release the brake pedal and test the drum brakes

Once you’re finished, release your Chevy Silverado brake pad and test out your new drum brake shoes! If everything is working correctly, then it’s time to move on. And do the same process to your brake drum on the other side of your vehicle.

Step 6: Check your work

Now that you’ve made rear brake adjustment. Test it out by driving the car at 30 mph and stepping hard on the brake pedal. It will force both drums to contract at the same rate, which is necessary for an even application of pressure to your rear tires. Also, check your cables for excessive or insufficient pressure on the front and back brakes. If you face less brake pressure while driving, there may be another problem in the brake system. Consult your trusted mechanic to solve the issue.

Remember 5 things before starting the rear brake adjustment.

  1. Always check to make sure your brake system is disengaged before starting the process.
  2. Make sure you have all the necessary tools to set the rear brakes. Which include a) Rags for cleaning b) Screwdrivers c) Adjustable wrench and d) an adjusting tool kit.
  3. Be aware of the proper direction of setting your front and rear pads.
  4. After finishing the process, always check for any loose nuts or bolts to prevent further damage.
  5. Always take caution when doing this procedure to avoid injury and damage to your vehicle!


1. Do rear drum brakes self-adjust?

Silverado’s drum brakes don’t self-controlled. There is no drum brake self-adjuster. The brake shoe carrier must be manually adjusted with an adjusting tool specified for brake shoes.

adjust rear drum brakes

2. How often do you need to adjust your rear drum brakes?

You should adjust after every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. If your brake shoe carrier is not adjustable, you will need to change the brake shoes along with it.

3. Why do my rear drum brakes over adjust?

Suppose your back drum brakes are over-adjusted. Then they will not wholly engage the brake shoes. Usually, this is caused by one side of your car being more worn than the other. It can also be due to warped brake drum or if the adjusting tool is incorrect.

4. Can you adjust the rear brakes by backing up?

No, you have to back up the rear brakes with specific tools. The adjusting tool will control the shoes.

5. What causes rear brakes to drag?

Broken or weak springs can cause rear brakes to drag.  Also, corrosion and jamming are some of the critical factors. It can also be caused by mounting pins.

Final words

That’s all about “how to adjust rear drum brakes.” The process should only take about 20-40 minutes to adjust. Just make sure that you follow all the instructions, and you should be fine! If you do not want to do this process, or if you think it will be too hard. Then bring your car into an auto shop, and they will fix it for a small cost. Till then, good luck!


Mr. Rubel is an Engine Mechanic. He has more than 15 years’ experience on repair and maintenance of different kinds of vehicles. He is also providing training to mechanics and works as a Senior Mechanic of a well-known organization. He is sharing his knowledge to support the car lovers to solve the vehicle issues.

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