Any part of your car made of metal, brake drums included, will rust when exposed to water and oxygen. The risk is even higher when you drive on road salt.
The latter is often a catalyst for rust and corrosion. Due to their location, brake drums come into close contact with all the above recipes for rust.
When your brake drums rust, they won’t only look bad, but excess rust may hinder the performance of the vehicle’s braking system.
Because of these reasons, you have to prevent your brake drums from rusting. Below, we will list some of the best ways to prevent brake drums from rusting.
Table of Contents
- Painting – The Best Method of Preventing Brake Drums from Rusting
- How to Remove Rust from Brake Drums?
- Should I Add a Clear Coat?
- Should I Replace Rusty Brake Drums?
- How Effective are Rust Converters?
- How Long Does It Take for Paint to Cure on Brake Drums?
- Other Ways to Prevent Brakes from Rusting?
- Is Rust on Brake Drums Unavoidable?
- Can I Use Vinegar to Remove Rust?
- What about WD-40?
Painting – The Best Method of Preventing Brake Drums from Rusting
Most cars come with brake drums made out of cast iron. Not unless you own a high-end car. Cast iron is a great choice because it works exceptionally well and is quite durable. The problem with cast iron is that it rusts easily.
The first step to preventing brake drums from rusting is by painting them.
Paint covers the surface of the metal and prevents the above rust ingredients from making contact with it.
Every part of the drum brakes can be painted except for the part that directly faces the disc. This part must not be painted. The only thing you can use on this part is the brake cleaner.
Painting drum brakes is the best method for preventing rust since it’s a relatively simple procedure. Plus, if you use quality paint and apply it properly, it can last for an incredibly long period.
Please note that painting can only keep safe a brake drum that is rust-free. If it has already started rusting, the paint will only cover the rust, and the process will continue.
Similar to all painting gigs, preparation is crucial. For the paint to hold, you must clean the brake drums using a stiff bristle brush and a brake cleaner.
This will remove contaminants preventing the painting from holding on to the brake drums. You should also conceal the surrounding areas with masking tape. This ensures paint doesn’t stain the surrounding areas.
The ideal paint for brake drums should be able to withstand a lot of heat. Ordinary paint will be burnt the first time you take your car for a drive, and it will look terrible.
Unless you love flashy colors, we recommend using black or silver paint. These colors blend well with most rims and car paint. It’s also a good idea if you can get some anti-rust paint.
How to Remove Rust from Brake Drums?
If your wheels look rusty, you should avoid painting them directly since you won’t prevent anything. What you must do is remove the rust first. Removing rust from brake drums is simple and fast. Here is a step-by-step guide.
- You should start by removing the wheels.
This will give you more access to the brake drums. You will need all the room you can get to remove rust from brake drums.
- Before doing anything else, you should sand the surface.
Sanding is an excellent method of removing surface rust. Grab some sandpaper from your nearest store and start scrubbing. Depending on how rusty the brake drums are, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Your goal should be to ensure the brake drums are rust-free.
- Having confirmed that the brake drums are now rust-free, wash them with soap and water.
If there is still some rust after washing them, repeat step number two. When washing the brake drums, feel free to use a hard bristle brush. It will thoroughly clean the brake drums.
- Wipe the brake drums, and they will now be ready for painting.
You already know the features to look out for in brake drum paint.
Should I Add a Clear Coat?
Absolutely. The role of a clear coat in protecting the paint beneath can’t be dismissed. Though not necessary, especially if you are using anti-rust or heat-resistant paint.
A layer of clear will cover the paint beneath. Therefore, it won’t peel or cheap easily. If you have the time to add a clear coat to the brake drums’ paint, please don’t hesitate to do so.
Should I Replace Rusty Brake Drums?
Unless the brake drums are super rusty, there is no need to replace them. In most cases, rust on the brake drums is usually at the surface level.
This can be easily sanded off the surface of the brake drums, and they should regain their shine. Brake drums should be replaced when they start to wear out which happens around 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
You don’t have to replace them just because of some rust.
How Effective are Rust Converters?
Rust removers do a commendable job of making your brake drums shiny once more. When applied to metal, they absorb and loosen rust from the surface, allowing you to wash it off easily.
There are several rust converters in the market. Research is fundamental if you want to identify the best ones.
If you plan on using a rut remover, it is crucial to clean the brake drum before applying it. The cleaner the surface is, the easier it will be for the rut converter to absorb the rust on the metal surface.
For the rust converter to work, leave it on for at least an hour. This is enough time for it to absorb.
How Long Does It Take for Paint to Cure on Brake Drums?
30 to 60 minutes is enough for the paint to dry on brake drums. It is, however, advisable that you let it sit for much longer than that so it can cure completely. If you don’t give the paint enough time to dry, it will peel faster.
Other Ways to Prevent Brakes from Rusting?
Besides painting, there are a couple of ways to prevent brake drums from rusting. They include;
- Parking your car in a dry and moist-free environment.
Most cars that rust quickly are those that are parked outdoors. In such an environment, the brake drums and other parts of the vehicle are consistently exposed to moisture and air. When you park your car inside a garage, you minimize exposure to these elements.
- Clean the brake drums frequently.
Investing in a brake cleaner is the first step. Always make time to clean the brake drums with a strong cleaner. This will remove contaminants such as road salt, which accelerates corrosion.
- Avoid driving the car during winter.
When it snows, most local city councils apply road salt to prevent snow build-up on roads. Road salt speeds up the rusting process, and if you haven’t painted the brake drums, you should avoid driving on road salt.
As long as the brake drums are made of cast iron or steel, they are bound to rust eventually. There isn’t much you can do to prevent this. However, you can slow down how soon the brake drums rust.
Painting is one of them. Painting won’t protect the brake drums forever. You will have to keep applying it every once in a while.
Cars that are driven in certain areas are more vulnerable to rust. For instance, if you live in the salt belt, your brake drums will rust faster.
Can I Use Vinegar to Remove Rust?
If you don’t have a rust removal product, you can use vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent DIY rust remover. It may not be very effective, but it gets the job done.
When using vinegar, spray it on the brake drums and let it settle for around thirty minutes. Wipe off the brake drums with a dry cloth. That should reveal a set of shiny brake drums.
What about WD-40?
WD-40 is also another great option for removing rust when you don’t have a rust converter around. Unlike vinegar, if you use WD-40, you may have to engage in some slight scrubbing. A hard bristle brush should do the trick.