Breaking Bad: How to Replace a Brake Pad

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Replacing a brake pad is a relatively simple job. However, because brakes are such a key component of any car, you will want to ensure you perform this bit of motor maintenance correctly. Below is a complete guide to replacing a brake pad.

Find a Flat Surface

To begin, park the car on a flat surface and double check that the handbrake is on. Place heavy objects such as rocks or wood behind the rear tyres to make sure the car doesn't roll when it is jacked up. Locate the wheel brace and loosen the wheel nuts without removing them.

Jacking Points

Next, locate the jacking points on your car. The jacking points for specific cars will be listed in the owners manual. If you cannot find the owners manual, most cars have seams in the structure near the front and back wheel which indicate the jack points. If you are unsure, look underneath the car to check that the frame is reinforced at these points. Jack the car up until the wheels are a couple of inches clear of the ground. You can then remove the wheel bolts.

Compress the Caliper

You should focus on changing one brake pad at a time. Turn the steering wheel towards whichever side of the car you are working on, as this will give you more space when working. Use a C-clamp to compress the piston on the caliper until it is pressed into the housing of the brake caliper. Use a ratchet and correctly sized socket to unbolt the caliper mounting bolts. You should then be able to remove the caliper assembly. The caliper should slide cleanly away from the rotor.

Brake Pad Removal

You can now remove the old brake pads. You should check the pads for any signs of uneven wear, as this can indicate further problems such as a leaky caliper piston or blocked brake line.

Installing New Pads

Place the inner pad into the caliper first before adding the outer pad. Once you are happy that the pads are in place, put the caliper back onto the rotor and bolt it into position. You can then refit the wheels. You should tighten the wheel bolts by hand before lowering the car back down the ground. You can then use the wheel brace to finish the job.

If you would rather have a professional take care of your brake repairs, you should take your car to a mechanic.


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