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At 123k, Original Rear Brakes, Should I Worry?

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Old 04-15-2019, 11:56 AM
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At 123k, Original Rear Brakes, Should I Worry?

I'm driving a 2011 Base Automatic and I put on new front rotors and pads at 90K, but haven't done anything to the rear brakes. No braking problems in general, though I have recently had some intermittent squeaking. I checked out the front brakes, everything looked good, did a little cleaning and lubricating. I hesitate to open up those rear drum brakes if nothing is really wrong, but at 123K I am worrying. Did Honda make some indestructible drum brakes back in 2011 or am I driving on borrowed time? Thanks for the advice.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:26 PM
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Firstly, if your front pads managed to last 90k miles, then the rear brakes should have plenty of life. My first replacement front pads was around 60k miles, then second 40k miles later... after that, I got 55k on various combinations of pads (long story). It was only THEN, after the total 155k miles, that I finally needed to replace my rear shoes. So, they can last a long time, the lighter you are on the brakes.

Since your first pads lasted 50% longer than mine, your rear shoes should still have life in them.

However, I will say, that mine wore very unevenly, so one half of one shoe of one pair on one side was grinding on bare metal as the material was gone. The other three shoes and the remaining half of that shoe had plenty of life to go a while longer.

That said, the second part is this... it's not hard to inspect the drum. Unless you have a shit ton of rust/brake dust baked in between the drum and wheel hub, you can simply pull the drum off after taking off the wheel and releasing the parking brake. If it doesn't move... get a rubber mallet and bang on it until it does (to knock away the rust/brake dust).

On the drum, near the lug bolts, you should be able to see two holes opposite each other. If you have two bolts with the matching size/threading, you can use them to help push/pull the drums off (turn them as evenly as possible).

Going back to my brakes... after 155k miles, my drums came off far easier than I expected... I barely put an effort, it just slid right off. On the other hand, before I bought the in 2010, I did an inspection on the rear brakes of a Nissan Pathfinder (borrowing from my sister)... and that took a LOT of effort and banging to get off. Oh, I'm a very spirited driver and do deliveries in an area with lots of stops, so my Fit goes through a LOT of accelerating/braking.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:30 PM
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Goobers
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:41 AM
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Thank you. The drum wasn't coming off easily, and this description of what to do in my Haynes Repair Manual scared me off, considering I can't see the area: "If the brake drum is difficult to remove, remove the access plug from the backing plate, insert a small screwdriver through the hole, lift the adjuster lever off the adjusting wheel and turn the wheel with another screwdriver to back off the brake shoes." Though banging it hard enough like you suggest will probably work.

When you decided to replace your rear brakes at 155k, what was the symptom?
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:47 PM
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I have a 09 Fit with 136K miles and it still has the original rear drum brakes. I usually pull the drums 2x a year and inspect, spray some brake clean to remove the brake dust. Suggest wearing a mask if doing this. I think 2mm or 3/32” is the min thickness if I am not mistaken. So if you are below that consider doing a brake job.
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jcharlesdragon View Post
Thank you. The drum wasn't coming off easily, and this description of what to do in my Haynes Repair Manual scared me off, considering I can't see the area: "If the brake drum is difficult to remove, remove the access plug from the backing plate, insert a small screwdriver through the hole, lift the adjuster lever off the adjusting wheel and turn the wheel with another screwdriver to back off the brake shoes." Though banging it hard enough like you suggest will probably work.

When you decided to replace your rear brakes at 155k, what was the symptom?
The symptom was scraping noise when I apply the brakes. I've had the same noise before when one of my front brake pads wore down to the backing plates. The front pads still had material on them, so I decided to just replace the rear shoes without actually checking. I figured, even if it wasn't the issue, it's probably a good a time as any.

As for the suggestion from the repair manual, that is the correct way.

For the moment, I'm thinking about two reasons that method is needed. One would be if the brakes are sticking (like you feel a lot of resistance when you try to spin the drum). The other is, if you manage to wear down the drum so much that there's a lip, formed by the edge that doesn't get worn by the brake shoes. And for that to happen, probably requires replacing the shoes multiple times without replacing the drum. In this case, you can spin the drum quite freely, but it feels like your hitting something when you try pulling it off.

If you can't spin your drum at all... the parking brakes might still be on.

Rust and brake dust can similarly create that lip, but that requires it to bake itself onto the drum. When I replaced my front rotors at 100k, I had to fight that exact thing. But I think it's easier to form on the front because of how easy it is for water to get in (to create rust), how often you go through brake pads (to create brake dust) and how hot they get (since they do most of the braking work). While not completely sealed, the drum and backing plate fit together to minimize exposure to water (some can get in, but it doesn't get exposed anywhere near as much as the front). And because the rear isn't used as hard/heavily, it neither creates enough brake dust or heat.

Where the rust/brake dust does cause trouble, and become the primary reason to bang on it, is if it gets around the front face near the axle nut. That is a much smaller space, that doesn't take much to make the drum hard to remove. If you have steelies or alloy wheels with missing center cap, the axle nut area is (slightly?) more exposed than the inside of the drum when it comes to getting wet. Of course, if you're stopped in a deep puddle, everything's getting soaked through and through.
 
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Old Today, 11:59 AM
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Thanks again, gives me some good information to think over.
 
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