What causes drum brakes to squeak when stopping slowly?

There are several different reasons why drum brakes squeak when stopping slowly. Three of the most common include:

  • Dirt and debris are trapped inside the braking system.
  • Lack of lubrication
  • The layer of damaged metal will need a smoother brake-bedding surface (i.e. brake drum resurfacing)

Therefore, if you want to stop these annoying squeaking sounds, you need to learn as much as you can about the inner workings of how drum brakes work.

Specifically, as it relates to topics like, how to fix squeaky brakes, how much these services cost, and what types of products are best suited for these brake jobs.

How to fix squeaky drum brakes?

To fix a squeaking drum brake problem, you may want to solicit the help of a certified brake technician. These professionals are skilled and experienced in inspecting and fixing the following related problems and more:

Clean and Remove Dirt and Debris from within the Braking System

As with any type of mechanical component in any vehicle, you need to know how to take care of each of them properly. This is especially true when it comes to keeping your drum brakes free of dirt and debris.

Fortunately, this type of problem is not difficult to take care of. For instance, a certified brake technician will remove the drums to inspect each one for any problems that they can detect.

So, any dirt and debris that is lodged within the braking system should be cleaned and removed to get rid of these squeaky noises from the brakes.

Lubricate Brake Drums to Stop the Squeaking Noises

Once the brake drum has been removed from the vehicle, the technician will have an opportunity to inspect these parts to see what repairs are needed.

Typically, if the squeaking is coming from the back drum brakes, they will need to be removed, inspected, and cleaned thoroughly before replacing them on each wheel.

You may also need to use a lubricant like one of the following to stop the squeaking:

  • Permatex
  • Ags Sil-Glyde Brake Lubricant
  • Blaster Higher Performance
  • Blaster White Lithium
  • Lubimatic 1130 High Temp

Each of these products is considered to be safe to use if the instructions on the label are followed correctly.

Resurface or Replace the Drums

When a certified brake technician inspects the drums, they may find damage that needs to be corrected. Since the surface of the drums should be smooth and not bumpy, they may recommend either resurfacing or replacing these components.

How much does it cost to fix?

Before a mechanic can fix the squeaking problem, they will need to inspect the brakes to see exactly what is going on. In these inspections, they will check a wide range of critical things, including the following:

  • Brake assemblies
  • Brake lines
  • Brake hoses

With this inspection, the cost is estimated on average to be around $40 to $80. Also, once the mechanic identifies the cause, they usually add the cost of additional repairs to these charges.

In essence, the inspection and the cost of parts and labor will vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if the problem that the brake technician identifies is caused by damaged brake drums that need to be replaced, the cost can range from $275 to $400 with parts and labor.

This amount, however, can also vary significantly based on some different factors, including the make, model, and year of the vehicle, the cost of the parts and labor involved, and the brake shop or dealership that performs the work.

Do you need to grease drum brakes?

If it is needed to stop the squeaking, you can grease the drum brakes. However, you will need to know exactly how to apply it. For instance, you should never lubricate the drum in any place where the drum and the brake shoes make contact.

If these areas are accidentally greased in any way, it will prevent the brakes from working.

On the other hand, you should only grease the metal-to-metal contact areas between the moving parts. One place, in specific, is where the shoes slide.


What causes drum brakes to squeak when stopping slowly? Though there are several different causes, one of the most likely is dirt and debris trapped on the inside of the braking mechanism.

Therefore, if you want to stop these annoying sounds, you need to learn as much as you can about the inner workings of how brake drums work, including the types of repairs required and the cost associated with the fix.

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