How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic

Written by chris stevenson
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How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic
Honda is one of the smallest import cars. (yellow car, a honda Japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from

The rear drum brakes on a Honda Civic consist of a number of parts that work in unison with one another to expand the brake shoes against the inside of the brake drum. This contact causes friction that slows down the wheel. Brake shoes wear out at various intervals depending upon load, road conditions, miles driven and driving habits. Water and oil can also contaminate the shoes. There are also variations in brake shoe construction that affect how long shoes will last and how they will wear. Self repair can be easy with the correct tools and replacement parts.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tire iron
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters (sharp end type)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Lube grease
  • Spray cleaner
  • Combination kit (Brake springs and retainers)
  • Two flathead screwdrivers
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Four wood blocks
  • 2 M8x20mm or longer bolts
  • Rag

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  1. 1

    Place the car in neutral or park, with the front wheels blocked on both sides using wood blocks. Temporarily set the emergency brake. Use a lug wrench or tire iron to loosen the wheel nuts. Release the emergency brake. Use a floor jack to lift the rear of the car about 1-foot and place the jack stands.

    How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic
    Rear shoe brakes are common on many cars. (Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from
  2. 2

    Remove the wheel. If the drum is secured to the hub with a Phillips head screw, remove it with the Phillips screwdriver. Use an end wrench if a small bolt is present. A few taps of the hammer against the flat face of the drum can free the drum from the hub, if stuck. If wedged tight, place the 2 M8x20mm bolts into the holes provided on the hub. Alternately turn the bolts with a wrench an even amount of turns until the drum pulls away from the hub. Wedging the two flathead screwdrivers between the backing plate and the drum also works. Inspect the inside of the drum. If grooved, take it to a shop for measurement and turning; replacement might be necessary.

    How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic
    Rims are bolted to the inside brake drum and must be removed. (tire image by sonya etchison from
  3. 3

    Use a pair of pliers to twist the shoe hold-down spring until the small notch in the middle lines up the small holding pin flange. It should come loose. Do the other side on the same wheel.

    How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic
    Use sharp-nosed "dikes" to remove springs and horseshoe clips (pliers image by Jim Mills from
  4. 4

    Use wire cutters to remove the adjuster spring on the bottom. Set the "star" self-adjuster and the self-adjusting lever aside. (Turn the adjuster all the way in for ease of reassembly.) Make sure to remove both pieces of the clevis that go between the two shoes--it's the rod under the top spring. Use the wire cutters to unhook one end of the top return spring. Flip the rear shoe over and use the wire cutters to remove the "U" clip that is attached to the emergency brake cable. Place both old shoes aside.

  5. 5

    Spray clean the entire backing plate, including the wheel cylinder, and wipe with rags. Four raised notches on the backing plate indicate the shoe resting platforms. Apply a small dab of grease to each.

    How to Replace the Rear Brake Shoes on a Honda Civic
    Use a good spray cleaner solvent to clean the backing plate. (colourful spray bottle tops image by Warren Millar from
  1. 1

    Place the new rear (trailing) shoe on the floor and attach the emergency brake cable to it. Connect a new "U" retaining clip on it. Turn the rear shoe over and align it with the mounting hole on the backing plate. Run a new spring pin through the backing plate and align the new hold-down spring over it with one hand. With pliers in the other hand, compress the spring and turn. You might have to hold the pin steady from the backing plate side.

  2. 2

    Place the clevis rod between the shoes. Place the new front shoe over its mounting hole and re-hook the small return spring to both bottom sides of the shoes. Turn the adjusting wheel of the "star" in all the way. Make sure to place the "star" adjuster between the shoes, by rotating its slotted pins to fit into the top of both brake shoe frames.

  3. 3

    Place the self-adjusting lever in its guide hole, with its spring attached. Place the other hold-down spring over the front shoe hole and secure it in the same fashion as you did with the rear shoe.

  4. 4

    With both shoes attached, and the hold-down hardware in place, turn the "star" adjusting wheel out until it expands the shoes. Fit the drum back on and rotate. Keep adjusting the "star" out until you feel slight friction when rotating the drum.

  5. 5

    Secure the drum onto the hub using whatever spotting screw or bolt was used. Adjust the "star" through a slot in the backing plate to further set the shoes against the drum, but allowing the drum to rotate with slight force.

  6. 6

    Replace the drum and tire. Tighten the lugs on the wheel. Repeat the same procedure and sequence for the other drum brake.

  7. 7

    Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle. Test drive the vehicle, performing numerous slow stops. Adjust the pedal height by raising the car again and adjusting the "stars" through the backing plate.

Tips and warnings

  • Buy specialised brake tools to make the job easier.
  • Make sure the brake sits high before test-driving the vehicle.

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