Recently I got chance to open drum brakes of Japanese kei car, and I was surprised because I couldn't find any star shaped manual adjuster.

Is there a possibility that some vehicles don't have manual adjuster in drum brakes?

Upper portion of the drum Upper portion enter image description here

Lower portion of the drum enter image description here enter image description here

  • Can you post a photo of the brakes with the drum removed? There may be an adjuster but not a self adjuster (star wheel).
    – mikes
    Aug 10, 2021 at 9:50
  • @mikes pictures added
    – ifadey
    Aug 10, 2021 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


If the drum brake has an automatic adjuster, then there is generally no need for a manual adjuster. The ratchet mechanism at the top of your brake is the automatic adjuster. You can see it in this part of your photo. You could manually move the ratchet if you wanted to.

enter image description here

When you talk about a star shaped manual adjuster, are you talking about the component in this photo, which is really part of the ratchet mechanism of an automatic adjuster - enter image description here The arm that has a red arrow on it automatically pushes the ratchet when necessary. You can manually turn the ratchet to take up most of the slack before putting the drum on, but if it is working correctly, pumping the brakes with the drum on should do the same thing.

I got this photo from here.


Yes, drum brakes can have manual adjusters only, one reason why service intervals were short.

As drum mechanisms changed with automatic adjusters, driven by how far the shoes moved to kick a rotating wheel, then service intervals increased.

You don’t show what you have so since there are several systems you can check them out.

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