How to Change Brake Pads
Knowing how to change your brake pads can save you a an unnecessary spend on mechanic services. By following these simple steps, you can swiftly and safely replace your brake pads with only a few basic tools and just a little bit of effort.
1- Prepare you’re tools. You’ll need: A lug wrench, a c-clamp, an open end or adjustable wrench (depending on your car), allen wrenches (depending on your car), a hammer, a small bungee cord.
2- Loosen the lugs and then properly jack your car up, concentrating on one wheel at a time. Remove the lugs and then the wheel.
3- Remove the brake calliper so the brake pads will slide out through the top. Few cars allow the pads to be removed without first removing the caliper. You’ll see the brake caliper in the 12 o’clock position just above the lug bolts, sitting above the large brake disc. On the back of the caliper you’ll find a bolt on either side. It will either be a hex bolt or an allen bolt. Remove these two bolts and place them somewhere safe. Hold the caliper from the top and pull upward. If proving difficult, give it a few taps upwards to loosen it a bit. Pull it up and slightly away to avoid disrupting the brake line/cable. If there’s somewhere to safely place the caliper do so. If not, use the bungee cord and hang the caliper from the coil spring. Don’t allow the caliper to disrupt the brake line/cable, as it can lead to brake failure!
4- See how everything is set, maybe even take a picture, before you remove the old brake pads. The brake pads should slide right out although on an older car they may need a bit of encouragement. Put the new pads in the slots with any metal clips you removed.
5- Compress the brake piston. The caliper would have adjusted itself to compensate for the old, worn out brake pads. Placing the caliper over the new pads will prove difficult and result in unnecessary damage to the new pads. Take the c-clamp and place the end with the screw on it against the piston on the inside of the caliper with the other end of the clamp around on the back of the caliper assembly. Slowly tighten the clamp to press the piston in far enough to allow it to slide over your new brake pads.
6- Replace the bolts you removed from the caliper and tighten them. Press the brake pedal to test for solid brake pressure. The first pump or two will be soft as the piston finds its new starting point on the back of the pad. Put your wheel back on securely.
I find it easier to remove the lower lugs first when removing a wheel as this place less pressure on the last remaining lug and makes it easier to remove.