My Rear Brake Drums Are Getting Hot

Reader Question

Right rear brake drum gets hot when driving. the brake is not dragging, when jacked up while hot wheel spins freely.  Any idea whats going on?


Hey Mark,

I am assuming you have checked the temperature of the other wheels as well, and the right rear is MUCH hotter than the other 3, correct?  I would expect all of them to be pretty warm, but evenly warm.

Your front brakes might not be doing as much of the brake work as the rears


1. The left rear brake is out of adjustment and not doing its even share of stopping, or the brake shoes are on backwards…seen this happen before. Check both rear brakes for proper adjustment.

Raise the rear end, have someone step LIGHTLY on brake pedal with engine off and see if both rear wheels are adjusted evenly. Repeat the step with engine ON, both rear wheels should be snug on light pedal, and both unable to turn on medium brake pedal application.

2. Check the thickness of the brake drums, they should be the same. Also look for any abnormal wear on both drums that would indicate misaligned shoes or interference with the brake shoe on the drum.

You might want to swap left and right drums and see if the left side develops the same issue.  The drum could be warped and need turning or replacing.

Austin Davis

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About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Kevin M. Langford

    Ok I put new break shoe’s and all new hardware plus new drums On my 98 f-150 and the passenger side drum keeps getting so hot I can’t even touch it. Can someone tell me why this is happening I need to know how to adjust the shoe’s cause the driver side was not as hot as the other side I did adjust the driver side and now it’s getting hotter but the passenger side is still so hot can not even touch it <<