How to Manually Adjust the Drum Brakes on a Kia Sportage

Updated July 20, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Reinstall the rubber stopper into the adjustment window by hand.


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.

Things You'll Need

  • Brake spoon
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Flashlight
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About the Author

Paul Vaughn has worked in the auto and diesel mechanics field for 10 years and as public school automotive vocational teacher for five years. He currently teaches high school auto tech, covering year model vehicles as old as 1980 to as new as 2007.