How to Replace Brake Pads & Calipers
Removing Brake Pads and Calipers
- 1). Locate the brake pads on your vehicle. They should be between a pair of caliper mounting bolts. Calipers apply pressure on a car's rotors, bringing the car to a stop. Calipers do not come in direct contact with the brakes and do not wear at the same rate as the brakes.
- 2). Remove the caliper mounting bolts by using a wrench to turn them counterclockwise. Make sure the bolts are in good condition. If they appear to be stripped down, install new bolts at the end of the process.
- 3). Grab the caliper from the front of the brake unit with your hand and remove it. Move the caliper to the side. The caliber remains attached to a flex hose, so do not twist, bend or jerk the hose.
- 4). Check the brake flex hose and the caliper brake for cracks or leaks. Replace them at the end of the process if necessary.
- 5). Loosen the secondary caliper mounting bolts using a wrench, and remove them. Remove the brake pads with your hands and set them aside. Check local regulations for correct disposal methods. Retain one temporarily to use in a later step in the replacement process.
- 6). Remove secondary mounting bolts using a wrench. Take the caliper and brake rotor off by hand. Set all three parts to the side. Gently rinse off all these parts using warm water. Clean the parts with a soft rag. Inspect the pieces for cracks. Replace these parts at the end of the process if necessary.
- 7). Depress the caliper piston by using one of the used brake pads that you removed and a C-clamp. The used brake pad helps protect the caliper piston. Tightening the C-clamp helps you apply the appropriate amount of pressure on the piston, allowing it to retract.
Installing New Brake Pads and Calipers
- 1). Install a new brake rotor by putting the piece in place by hand, and using a wrench to secure it. This step may not be necessary if the existing rotor was in good condition.
- 2). Put the cleaned caliper mount back in place by hand. This part must be reinstalled before the brake pads can be affixed to the braking system.
- 3). Affix the new brake pads to either side of the caliper mount by hand. Try to achieve a snug fit that isn't too tight against the rotor. If the fit is too tight, the brake pads will wear more quickly, forcing you to replace them sooner.
- 4). Secure the secondary caliper mounting bolts and the primary caliper mounting bolts with a wrench. Replace the caliper by hand. Replace the pieces that appeared faulty or broken when you removed them.
- 5). Bleed the brake system according to the directions in your vehicle's owner's manual. Bleeding the brakes removes excess air from the system, but the method can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. Step on the brake pedal a few times while the car engine is off and in park to ensure the brake pedal is working properly.