Saturn SL2 Brake Drum Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Brake Drum Replacement
The average cost for a Saturn SL2 brake drum replacement is between $388 and $547. Labor costs are estimated between $237 and $300 while parts are priced between $151 and $247. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.
Brake Drum Replacement

What is a brake drum?

Many older vehicle's use drum brakes on all four wheels, or just the rear wheels. They use friction to slow or stop the vehicle, and have been replaced on most modern passenger vehicle's by the disc brake system.

How does the brake drum work?

A brake drum is shaped like a bowl, and brake shoes, instead of pads, push out against the sides of the drum to create braking force. The brake drum is indirectly attached to the wheel, so when the brake shoes are forced against it, the wheel must stop as well.

What are the symptoms related to a bad brake drum?

Customers with drum brake systems often specify they have lost braking power, or the vehicle's brakes are making noise. This is because brake drums do not dissipate heat very well, so the heat from hard braking will cause stress fractures. These fractures make can make noise on the brake shoes as the drum revolves around the shoes. Lastly, the brake drums may not be problematic, but if they are too thin to machine smooth during a brake service, the drums will need to be replaced.

Learn more about brake drum symptoms

Can I drive with a brake drum problem?

It is not safe to operate any vehicle with any braking problem. If there is any sign that the brakes are not performing as originally intended, the vehicle should immediately be placed out of service, and repaired. If the drums are being replaced as part of routine maintenance, with no symptoms noticed, the vehicle can safely be driven to a repair shop.

How often do brake drums need to be replaced?

Brake drums are typically replaced or machined as part of a standard brake service, so the average serviceable lifespan depends on driving style, and operating conditions. The manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule for each vehicle may be different, and the owner's’ manual will contain this information.

How are brake drum issues diagnosed?

Trained technicians have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of brake drums in their careers and training. The signs they look for when drum brakes are suspected of failure are deep grooves, stress fractures, black spots called hot spots, and a blue color indicating the brake drum has exceeded the allowable heat range. If any of these conditions exist, the technician will recommend brake drum replacement, or machining if appropriate.

Brake Drum Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for a Brake Drum Replacement is between $388 and $547 but can vary from car to car.

How is a brake drum replaced?

To replace a brake drum, the brake shoes must be released from the drum, the wheel must be removed, and then the drum can slide off the wheel lug studs and brake shoes. The replacement drum is installed by sliding on, and the brake shoes can be readjusted before the vehicle is placed on the ground.

RepairPal Recommendations for brake drum issues

When replacing a brake drum, it is important to replace the corresponding drum on the other side of the vehicle. This will ensure the braking power is even and predictable. Brake shoes show wear patterns after many times of grinding into the brake drum, and must be replaced to avoid brake noise, uneven braking pressure, and unpredictable braking performance.

What to look out for when dealing with brake drum issues

Brake drums are notorious for being difficult to remove after a long period without regular service. In order to remove the drum, the brakes must be completely unadjusted, and either pried off, hammered off, or a combination of the two.

Can I replace the brake drum myself?

This is a great job for a DIY project. The drum may be difficult to remove, and there are several springs and small parts involved, but the average DIYer can tackle this on a weekend with a basic knowledge of drum brakes, and a few basic tools.