How to Change the Rear Brake Pads on a Mazda6

Brake pads are an important part of your Mazda6's braking system. They are the replaceable friction pads that pinch the brake disc or drum when the brakes are applied. You should replace the brake pads before they wear beyond a quarter inch or risk damaging your Mazda6's brake discs.

Park your car on a level surface. If you have a stick shift car, make sure the car is in gear. Do not set the parking brake. Place blocks in front of the front tires so the car does not move while you are working on it.

Open the hood of your car. Locate the master cylinder and brake fluid container. If necessary, remove brake fluid until the level in the container is less than half full. A turkey baster is a good tool for this. Put the brake fluid in the plastic container and dispose of it the way you dispose of motor oil.

Raise the rear end of your car with your car jack. Remove the rear tire or wheel assembly.

Disconnect the parking brake cable from the brake caliper. The cable is usually held in place with a retaining clip. You can use pliers to remove the clip and disconnect the cable.

Remove the upper caliper bolt. Rotate the caliper downward until you can comfortably work on it. Remove the springs, pads and shims from the caliper.

Use the recommended tool to press the caliper piston back into the piston assembly.

Insert the shims, springs and new pads into the caliper. Reconnect the parking brake cable.

Rotate the caliper upward and back into place. Use the socket wrench to tighten the upper mounting bolt to 27 to 36 foot lb. (37 to 49 Nm) if you have a Mazda6, or to 16 to 23 foot lb. (21 to 31 Nm) if you have a Mazdaspeed6.

Replace the tire wheel assembly. Lower the car to the ground.

Add fluid to the master cylinder container to replace any you removed before you removed the old brake pads.

Season the brake pads by making only gentle stops when you are driving for the first week after you install the new brake pads. Try not to do any hard stopping when you are seasoning the brakes.


The master cylinder is a metal cylinder located in front of the steering wheel on the metal firewall that separates the engine from the body of the car. On top of the cylinder there is a plastic container that holds brake fluid for the system. When you work on the brakes you adjust the level of fluid so that the container is less than half-full. The caliper is the arc-shaped, cast iron piece attached to the brake rotor. It is usually on the upper-rear of the brake rotor. Caliper bolts are located on the back side of the caliper. The caliper piston is the large, round piston that presses on the inboard brake pad, which is the pad closest to the inside of the car. Parking brakes are operated by a long, steel cable that runs between the handle in the cockpit and the rear wheels. The parking brake cable is the cable that runs from the caliper backing plate to the car body. The brake cable is very thick and rubber-coated. Be careful as the brake cable is easily confused with the brake hose, which is a steel tube connected to the car body with a short rubber hose. Use pliers to remove the parking brake cable. It is held in place with retaining clips.


Be careful using brake fluid. It is an eye irritant and is hazardous if swallowed. Always wash your hands thoroughly after you have been handling brake fluid. If brake fluid does get in your eyes, immediately use clear, running water to flush your eyes for 15 minutes. If your eyes are still irritated after you rinse them or if you swallow any brake fluid, get medical assistance immediately. Be careful when you are handling used brake parts. The dust and dirt on the brake parts may contain asbestos fibers that can be hazardous to your health if they are inhaled. When you clean brake parts, always use a damp cloth, not compressed air, wire brushes, scouring pads or anything else that could move the dust and dirt particles around. Throw away any cleaning cloths that you use and swept up dirt and dust in a sealed, impermeable container. For more information, visit the library or go online to view the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and procedures for handling or throwing away anything that might contain asbestos fibers.

Things You'll Need

  • Blocks
  • Car jack
  • Lug nut wrench
  • Turkey baster
  • Heavy-duty plastic container
  • Allen head, star head, or 6-point socket wrench
  • Pliers
  • New brake pads
  • Caliper piston reseating tool (49 FA18 602)
  • Allen head, star head or 6-point socket wrench
  • Brake fluid
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