How to Replace Volvo XC90 Front Brake Pads

Written by jody l. campbell
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Replacing the front brake pads on your Volvo XC90 is done much as on any other car. There are some subtle differences, but if you have some mechanical skills, you can save some money on expensive labour charges and replace the pads yourself. A quality aftermarket set of pads bought from a reputable auto parts store should also carry the same lifetime warranty as any installation centre.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands (2)
  • Wheel chock
  • Turkey baster
  • DOT approved brake fluid
  • 1/2-inch drive breaking bar
  • 1/2-inch drive metric socket set
  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet
  • 3/8-inch drive 7-mm hex head socket
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Bungee cord
  • C-clamp
  • 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench
  • Shop rag
  • Small stiff bristled wire brush
  • Silicone brake lubricant (supplied with new pads)
  • Acid brush

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  1. 1

    Park the Volvo XC90 on a level paved surface. Apply the parking brake, release the hood latch, and place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. Open the hood and suck out half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir using the turkey baster and discard. Replace the master cylinder cover securely.

  2. 2

    Break the lug studs loose on the front tires with the breaking bar and a socket.

  3. 3

    Lift the front of the XC90 with the floor jack and place the jack stands under the front frame rails. Remove the lug studs and wheels.

  4. 4

    Remove the retaining spring on the left front caliper by prying it off with the screwdriver. Be careful not to bend it or damage it because you will need to replace it.

  5. 5

    Remove the caliper bolt protective caps. Use the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and the 7-mm hex head socket to remove the caliper bolts.

  6. 6

    Pry the caliper off of the pads and rotor with the screwdriver and secure the caliper to the frame or coil spring with the bungee cord so it is not hanging from the brake hose. Compress the piston of the caliper inward using the C-clamp. Compress it slowly until it bottoms out.

  7. 7

    Remove the old pads. Pry them out with the screwdriver if you need to. Use the stiff bristled wire brush to clean the surface of the caliper anchor where the backing plate of the pads contact it. Apply a liberal coat of silicone brake lubricant to the cleaned area using an acid brush to prevent getting the lubricant on the surface of the rotor.

  8. 8

    Place the shims on the pads if not already affixed. The shims will be in the box with the new pads. Install the new pads into the caliper anchor.

  9. 9

    Replace the caliper over the pads and rotor. Apply a liberal coat of brake lubricant to the caliper bolts and insert and tighten them. Replace the protective caps and the retaining spring. Replace the wheel and lug studs. Tighten the lug studs snug.

  10. 10

    Repeat Steps 4 through 9 on the right side.

  11. 11

    Lower the Volvo XC90 and torque the lug studs with the adjustable torque wrench (set at 90 to 95 foot pounds) and a socket.

  12. 12

    Pump the foot brake pedal several times to restore the hydraulic pressure back to the caliper pistons. Check and adjust the level of the brake fluid in the master cylinder only adding new DOT approved brake fluid specified for your Volvo XC90. Secure the master cylinder lid, close the hood. Remove the wheel chock, release the parking brake and test drive.

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