Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Change Automobile Brake Pads

    • 1). Apply the parking brake and chock the rear wheels with bricks or blocks. This prevents the car from rolling backward while you jack it up. Using the lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels. Do not remove the lug nuts yet.

    • 2). Slide the jack under the front of the car, positioning it under the front cross member. Jack the car up until you can place jack stands under the cross member, right by the control arm. Remove the lug nuts and wheels from the vehicle.

    • 3). Use the large screwdriver to pry the brake pads away from the rotor. Then, still using the large screwdriver with the tip against the pad, pry the caliper piston into the caliper body. You will have to do this on the inboard and outboard pads. Brake fluid might drip from the master cylinder but this is normal.

    • 4). Inspect the brake rotor for gouges. If you find gouges you replace the rotors. If the rotors look good, use the small flat-bladed screwdriver to remove the two clips from the slides that hold the pads in place. Slide the pins out carefully. Watch for the anti-rattle clips because they can fly out.

    • 5). Remove and inspect the brake pads from the caliper. The pads should have brake pad material on them with no signs of rubbing against the rotor. If there are signs of rubbing you should replace your rotors.

    • 6). Inspect the new pads to ensure that they are the same as the old pads. Put anti-seize compound on the sides of the pads to help them slide smoothly in the caliper. You should also put anti-seize on the back of the pad then install the shim and put anti-seize on the back of the shim. Put the anti-rattle clip on the top of the pad and put Anti-Seize in the curves where the slide pins will go.

    • 7). Carefully slide the outboard pad, shim and anti-rattle clip into the caliper and put the two slide pins in. Then install the inboard pad, shim and anti-rattle clip and slide the slide pins all the way through the caliper. Make sure the brake material is facing the rotor. Once the caliper pins are fully seated, install the retaining clips.

    • 8). Put the wheels and lug nuts back on the car. Tighten the lug nuts only finger tight at this point. Jack the car up enough to remove the jack stands, then lower it completely. Torque the lug nuts to specification. If you don't know the specification, read through your car's owner's manual, or ask a local auto parts store.

    • 9). Press on the brake pedal a few times to regain firmness in the pedal. When the brake pedal is firm, remove the wheel chocks and disengage the parking brake. Take the car around the block for a short test drive to test the brakes to make sure they are working properly.

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