Brake Adjustment

See also our Brake Adjustment discussion.


  1. Raise the car and support it securely on jackstands. Release the parking brake.

  2. Note: You need not remove the wheels unless you need the extra space for your big bod!

  3. Depress the brake pedal several times, using firm pressure, to center the brake shoes in the drum.

  4. Remove the rubber plugs from the brake backing plate (if they are missing, get new ones).

  5. Using a flashlight, look through the hole in the brake drum and check the brake lining thickness. If the lining is 1/16" thick or less, replace the brake shoes. (See our Brake Shoe Replacement procedure.)

  6. Insert the brake adjustment tool into one of two holes in which you can see the adjusting stars.

  7. Note: The adjusting stars are accessed through holes in the brake backing plate; they are located on the bottom inside of the wheel on both the front and the rear.

    Note: Some people use a large screwdriver to adjust the brakes. A large screwdriver doesn't work very well in this application, as it doesn't give you enough levering room before the handle hits the front suspension. A brake adjustment tool, especially designed for the purpose, is best; however, make sure the blade is narrow enough to fit through the holes in the backing plate to reach the adjusting stars. Note that the blade on the brake adjusting tool used on regular cars is too wide for use on VW brakes.

  8. Turn the star wheel (in the direction indicated below) until the brake shoe slightly drags on the drum when the wheel is turned. Then back it off 2-3 clicks. Be sure to adjust both brake shoes.

    • Right-hand star -- turn upward to tighten.

    • Left-hand star -- turn downward to tighten.

  9. Repeat Step 6 on all of the other wheels.

  10. If you have disc front brakes, you wont have to adjust them of course - disc brakes are self adjusting.

  11. If you're going to bleed the brakes, do it now while the car is elevated. (See our Brake System Bleeding Procedure.)

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