Contact pressure distribution is one of the key influence factors and the essential causes of brake squeal. In this study, a drum brake finite element model is established using ABAQUS. The contact pressure distribution is simulated and the brake squeal instability is predicted based on the complex eigenvalue analysis method. Different contact pressure distributions are obtained by changing the structure and material parameters of the drum brake as well as altering the friction coefficient and the brake pressure. Then, the effect of contact pressure distribution on brake squeal is investigated, and the mechanism of the key contributing factors of brake squeal is studied. The innovation of the study is that it correlates squeal properties directly to the contact pressure distribution characteristics, which is considered as the essential influence mechanism of brake squeal. Results show that contact area and the asymmetric level of contact pressure distribution, represented by the maximum contact pressure and contact area, have significant influence on brake squeal.