Step by step guide on replacing a handbrake cable yourself.
Estimated time: approx 2 hours Difficulty: Medium
First of all you will need to jack the vehicle up using a car jack. Do this at the rear of the vehicle so that you can gain access to the rear wheels.
Remove the rear wheel by taking off the wheel nuts using either a wheel wrench or whichever tool suits you. Now remove the wheel.
You will see the brake drums and you will need to get a big hammer to hit the drum a few time to loosen it up. When it’s loosened up you can just pull the drum cover off over the bolts which hold the wheel on.
If you are having trouble getting it off, there are two small holes just inside where the bolts are. You can screw two bolts into these which will loosen off the drum cover.
The next step is to loosen the springs inside the drum which hold the brake shoe in place. You will need a pair of clippers to grab hold of the top spring and pull it off. Using a pair of pliers you will now need to pull off the retaining spring by twisting it and pulling it at the same time. This should loosen it off and eventually pull it out.
The shoe should just pull right out at one end and you will have to remove the spring from the other end to completely remove the shoe. You will be able to pull the other shoe out, but the handbrake cable will be attached to it.
To remove the handbrake cable you will need a pair of clippers to lightly squeeze the end, pull up and twist to free the cable. The cable is fitted through the backing plate and is held in place by some teeth. To get the old cable out you may have to prize it out with a screwdriver.
The cable will be clipped in place or tied in place with cable ties, you will either need to unclip the clips or cut the cable ties off. The handbrake cable joins onto another cable which goes straight to the handbrake lever. At the connection point you can use a couple of pairs of pliers to grip onto the connection at one end and the old cable at the other. You will be able to twist the old cable free.
Connect the new cable to the connection and clip it in place down towards the brake drum. You may need some new cable ties to hold it in place. Put the cable through the little gap in the backing plate until it grips onto the teeth.
If the brake shoes are worn down you may want to replace them at this point, if not use the ones you’ve just taken off. Clip the end of the cable into the shoe which you took it from.
Place the back shoe in place inside the drum, putting the retaining spring back on. You will need to press it on hard and twist a little with the pliers until it clicks in place.
Now get the other shoe and put the bottom spring on the bottom hole connecting the two shoes together. Place the second shoe inside the drum and connect the top. Now you will have to grab the top spring and pull it into place until it connects.
Put the retainer spring in with the pliers, pulling and twisting until it clicks in place. You need to loosen the automatic adjuster which you do with a screwdriver. This is located on the top spring. It has to be done because the new shoes are thicker than the old ones.
Now you can slide the drum cover over the bolts which fit the drum back in place. When you turn the drum now, it should drag slightly. If it moves to easy then you need to tighten the adjuster slightly.
Place the wheel back on and tighten the wheel nuts securely. Remove the jack and the job is done.
You will want to test that the handbrake is now working correctly.