How to change brake padsTools to Change Brake Padsgather your socket set, torque wrench and screwdrivers, along with a drill and wire wheel, an 8-in. brake pads rewind tools, a small spool of mechanic’s wire, 2 ft. of 1/4-in. vinyl tubing and a jar to hold the brake fluid that bleeds out as you compress the caliper piston.StartStart by loosening (not removing!) the lug nuts while the tire is on the ground. Raise one side of the vehicle with a floor jack or spare-tire jack. Then place a jack stand under the engine cradle for added safety. Then remove the tire and proceed with changing brake pads.Remove the wheel.Then loosen the caliper retaining bolts with a socket and ratchet (Photo 1). Next, loosen the caliper bleeder screw and lightly reseat it. You’ll loosen it again when you retract the caliper piston. Then lift the caliper off the rotor and set it on top of the caliper bracket.
Remove the caliper
Loosen the caliper bolt heads with a ratchet. Then remove and store the rubber cap on the bleeder screw (if equipped) and loosen the bleeder screw with a box-end wrench. Reseat the bleeder screw and remove the caliper bolts.
Remove the caliper, retract the piston
Connect one end of the drain tube to the bleeder screw and place the other end in a catch jar. Then open the bleeder and force the caliper piston back into the bore with the brake pads tools(Photo 2). When you’re done, tighten the bleeder and disconnect the drain tube. Secure the caliper to the coil spring or strut with mechanic’s wire while you complete the brake job. Never let the caliper dangle by its hose.
Retract the caliper piston.Place the inboard pad against the piston and center the brake pads tool on the pad. Locate the clamp screw on the back side of the caliper. Open the bleeder and retract the piston
Next, remove the caliper bracket so you can replace the rotor. The caliper bracket bolts are quite large and are usually coated with thread locker. So you’ll need a large ratchet or breaker bar or an impact wrench to remove them (Photo 3).
Unbolt the caliper bracket.Break the caliper bracket bolts loose with an impact wrench or a breaker bar. Store the bolts and lift the bracket off the steering knuckle.
As you remove the bolts, note whether they’ve been coated with red or blue thread locker. Recoat the threads with the same type when you reinstall them.
Remove the rotorMany carmakers secure the rotor to the hub with a screw, and it rarely comes out without a fight. So assume it’s rusted in place and soak it with spray rust penetrant before you try to remove it. Otherwise you can strip the head, and you’ll be forced to drill it out. Let the penetrant work for about 15 minutes. Then remove the screw (Photo 4) and pull the rotor off the hub.
Remove the rotor hold-down screw.Smack the rotor hold-down screw with a hammer to shock it. Then insert a Phillips or star socket. If the screw doesn’t loosen, try tightening. Rock the socket back and forth until it comes out. Then wiggle the rotor to remove it from the hub.
It’s all about clean
Brake noise, vibration, harsh braking and brake pedal pulsation are the most common brake complaints, and they’re all caused by improper cleaning and installation procedures. So trust us on this point and follow all of our cleaning and greasing instructions on how to change brake pads.
Clean off the rust.Toss the old anti-rattle clips (see Photo 1). Remove all traces of surface rust in the pad slide areas using a wire brush or a drill with a wire wheel. Coat the areas with a light film of brake grease. Install new anti-rattle clips.
Remove the old anti-rattle clips and toss them (they can’t be reused). Then clean all the rust off the caliper bracket (Photo 5). Next, clean the caliper bolts with aerosol brake cleaner and check for corrosion. Replace the bolts if they’re corroded. Install new anti-rattle clips (Photo 6). Then grease the bolts and install new rubber boots (Photo 7).
Add the hardware.Apply a very light coat of high-temperature synthetic brake grease to the caliper bracket. Then snap in the new anti-rattle clips.
Lube and install new boots.Apply a coat of high-temperature synthetic brake grease to the bolt and the bores in the caliper bracket. Seat new boots into the caliper bracket and slide in the greased caliper bolts until the boots seat on the bolt recess.
Then clean all the rust and debris from the wheel hub. All it takes is .003 in. of rust or crud on the hub to cause brake pedal pulsation and ruin a perfectly good brake job. So take this part seriously. Chuck a mildly abrasive polishing pad into your drill and clean the wheel hub (Photo 8).
Polish the hub.Spin the polishing pad around the face of the wheel hub. Then clean the rust off the center of the hub. Wipe off the debris and apply a light coat of nickel anti-seize to the face to minimize future rust buildup. (Don’t get antiseize on the wheel studs.)
Next, clean the new rotors. Use aerosol brake cleaner to remove the rust preventive coating. Then perform the second cleaning step shown here (Photo 9). It’s a pain, but skipping this step can also ruin your brake job.Wash the rotor.Dunk the rotor into a tub of hot soapy water and scrub the entire surface with a stiff brush. Rinse with clear water and dry with paper towels.
Slide the rotor onto the hub, aligning the rotor retention screw hole with the threaded hole in the hub. Tighten the screw to specs. Next, apply the correct thread locker to the caliper bracket bolts and reinstall the caliper bracket. Apply a thin film of brake grease to the back side of the noise reduction shims, slide them into the caliper bracket and install the springs (Photo 10). Reinstall the caliper.
Add the springs.Slide the pads into the anti-rattle clips. Squeeze the pads together as you install the drag reduction springs. Make sure they go back in the same way they came out. Continue squeezing the pads and slide the caliper over the pads.
Install the wheel, torque the lug nuts, and test the brakes
Now that you’ve followed all the cleaning and greasing tips, don’t wreck your work by using an impact wrench or ratchet to tighten the lug nuts. They must be tightened to the same torque to maintain the critical rotor-to-hub fit (Photo 11). If they’re torqued unevenly, the rotor will cock slightly and you’ll get pedal pulsation.
Torque the lug nuts.Remove the jack stand and lower the vehicle until the tire just touches the ground. Set the torque wrench to one-half the specified torque and tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern. Then set the wrench to the full torque and tighten again in the same star pattern. Lower the vehicle the rest of the way and remove the floor jack.
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