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The Brake Drum is simply the metal casing that goes around the brake shoes on a drum brake system. Unlike a disc brake system, your Brake Drum is an enclosed system and heat does tend to accumulate. Disc brakes typically have ventilation and are more of an open structure keeping the heat to a minimum.
You can extend the life of your Brake Drum by braking smoothly while driving. Pump your brakes or push them on and off to keep them cool and avoid letting them get too hot. Never drive with your emergency brakes on.
It is rare to have the Brake Drum go bad but it can happen. The Brake Drum can become warped or it can have grooves dug into it. It can be overheated which will weaken it and of course it can be damaged in a collision. It is not often that you will have to replace your Brake Drum, but if you do need to, they are relatively inexpensive.
If your Brake Drum is going bad or is getting worn you will feel it when you hit your brakes. You will feel a warped sensation when you try to stop. You may also hear creaks or popping noises when you try to stop.