How to Manually Adjust the Drum Brakes on a Kia Sportage

Written by paul vaughn
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How to Manually Adjust the Drum Brakes on a Kia Sportage
(Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from

The Kia Sportage is equipped with rear drum brakes. Drum brakes use brake shoes that contact the brake drum when the driver pushes the brake pedal, creating friction that brings the vehicle to a stop. The brake adjustment wheel adjusts the clearance between the shoes and the drum automatically, as the brake shoe friction material wears, using spring tension to draw the shoes closer to the drum. The adjustment wheel can also be used to manually adjust the shoe-to-drum clearance after a brake job has been done.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Brake spoon
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Flashlight

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  1. 1

    Locate the brake drum for the side you will be adjusting. The brake drum is located directly behind the wheel hub. The wheel hub is bolted to the brake drums via the lug nuts.

  2. 2

    Locate the adjustment window. The adjustment window is located in the back of the brake drum. There is a black rubber stopper inserted into the window that keeps water and road debris away from the brake assembly.

  3. 3

    Remove the rubber stopper using a flat head screwdriver and applying outward pressure to the stopper.

  4. 4

    Locate the adjustment wheel using a flashlight. The adjustment wheel will have teeth cut into it all the way around that are used to engage the brake spoon and allow for adjustment.

  5. 5

    Engage the brake spoon with one of the teeth on the adjustment wheel and rotate the wheel clockwise until the shoes just contact the drum, moving from tooth to tooth as the wheel turns.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the rubber stopper into the adjustment window by hand.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not over-adjust the brake shoe-to-drum clearance. This will cause premature wear to the shoes, and you will have to perform another brake job sooner than necessary.
  • Be careful that your fingers don't get in the way when applying the brake spoon to the adjustment wheel. You can pinch your fingers between the adjustment window and the brake spoon.
  • Make sure to reinstall the rubber stopper. If the stopper is not reinstalled, the brake assembly will become corroded and will also require a brake job sooner than necessary.

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