Brake pad replacement is one of the most vital aspects of motor vehicle maintenance and is a major contribution toward safe driving. Although many drivers choose to take their cars to a garage or mechanic center for brake-pad replacement, it is possible to do the job yourself. This should be a relatively simple task for any persons with an intermediate level of mechanical knowledge.
Step 1 – Remove the Wheels
Park your car on a flat, even surface and make sure that the parking brake is completely engaged. Place the wooden blocks behind the rear tires to keep the vehicle in position when it is jacked. Loosen the wheel bolts but do not remove them completely.
Then, locate the jacking points on each sides of the car and use the trolley jack or portable car jack to lift the front end of the car off of the ground. Place the axle stands in place and lower your vehicle onto them. The wheel bolts can now be fully loosened, and you should now bring out the wheels.
Step 2 – Compress the Brake Caliper
You might want to concentrate on changing one side at a time because if you take both calipers off, it’s possible you could lose the piston out of one of them when compressing the other. You may also turn the car’s steering wheel toward the side you’re working on. Doing so will give more space and therefore better access to the calipers and brake pads.
When you’re set, take the C-clamp and compress the piston of the caliper until it is forced into the brake caliper housing unit. This allows for the caliper assembly to be removed, and it also makes for the additional space required to mount the new brake pads. If your brake calipers need repairs, you should fix them before you continue.
The mounting bolts of the caliper can be unbolted with the use of a ratchet and an appropriate-sized socket, and the caliper should easily come away from the rotor. Occasionally, special keys in hexagonal, torx, or star shapes are needed to do this. Take care not to bend or break the brake hose.
Step 3 – Remove and Inspect the Pads
The old brake pads can then be removed. If they are 1/8 inches thick or less, they need to be replaced.
Check for signs of uneven wear, as this will show that your vehicle has other problems. It also helps to know the condition of the rotors; if they are covered in deep grooves, you will need to get them turned or changed.
Step 4 – Install New Pads
You can now take your new set of pads and install them into the caliper. Usually, it is easier to place the inner pad into the caliper first and then add the outer pad afterward. You may have to tighten the C-clamp further to depress the piston enough to create space for the new pads. Once the pads are in place, the caliper can be put back on the rotor and bolted into position.
Step 5 – Refitting the Wheels
Once a visual check has been done to make sure everything is in the correct position, the wheels can now be replaced. Tighten each by hand before dropping them back to the ground, and finish tightening with the wheel brace as soon as the car is back on all four wheels.
Step 6 – Perform a Safety Check
Check brake fluid levels before testing the brakes. It is advised that you drive slowly and check the brakes in a quiet area before entering traffic again. Remember that you may need to bleed the brakes before moving the car if the foot pedal feels spongy when depressed.