Adjusting the rear brakes on your car or light truck in many cases will restore lost pedal height, parking brake function, and braking efficiency. The process for this maintenance project is similar on most drum brake systems and should be done each time brake service is performed on your vehicle. The result of performing regular brake maintenance will be extended pad and shoe life, decrease in noise problems, and improved safety.
Position wheel chocks behind and in front of both front wheels. Lift the rear of the vehicle with a floor jack. Position jack stands under the rear axle tubes (rear wheel drive vehicles) or rear control arms (front wheel drive vehicles) and lower the jack until the vehicle is sitting on the stands. Remove the floor jack.2
Remove the rubber adjuster plug from the back of the backing plate to expose the adjuster slot. Insert a screwdriver or drum brake adjusting spoon into the slot and rotate the adjuster wheel located behind the slot up to expand the brake shoes until they rub on the brake drum lightly. Reinstall the rubber plug and repeat the steps for the remaining drum brake.3
Test drive the vehicle and readjust the drum brakes if needed. Properly adjusted drum brakes should result in a tight brake pedal that has very little free-play before the brakes start slowing the vehicle.