How to Inspect the Wheel Cylinder

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Learn how to inspect the wheel cylinder on a car with expert automotive tips in this free online auto repair and car maintenance video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Adjust Brake Drums on Cars
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Video Transcript

In these clips we?re going to talk about the proper way to inspect and adjust your drum style rear brakes. In this clip we're going to talk about the proper way to inspect your drum brakes wheel cylinder. Your wheel cylinder is the device that converts the hydraulic energy from the master cylinder into the mechanical energy that applies yours shoes. Pretty much what happens is that as you step on the brake peddle, fluid rushes through the brake lines and fills the cavity inside this cylinder here is the metal device. What that does is apply pressure to the pistons and the piston is what converts that hydraulic energy into mechanical movement. The mechanical movement is going to push on the pins here, and extend the shoes until they engage the drum surface. This is going to cause the vehicle to slow down. Since it's a hydraulic device, the one main failure that it has is fluid leakage. They will begin to seep. What you're going to want to do is peel back the dust boot on the wheel cylinder and see if we have any fluid present. As you can see it's dry inside here, which indicates that this side of the wheel cylinder is not leaking. We're going to perform the same inspection on the front side of the wheel cylinder, going to peel back the dust boot and we have no fluid. What that does is indicate that the wheel cylinder is in tact as far as hydraulic sealing goes. Your wheel cylinders can also freeze up. If it's ran without an adjustment for an extreme amount of time, those pistons may stick in place. What you're going to want to look for is movement in the pins. And the best way to check for that is with your hands. What you'll do is take flap the shoes back and forth, if those pins move that means your pistons are moving; which will indicate that they're not seized up. You can see the piston pin move, and we'll try it this way and the piston pin moved. That indicates that the pistons are free moving and that they are not hung up at all inside of their cylinder. And that's the proper way to inspect your vehicle's wheel cylinder.

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