How to Change Brake Disk Pads

Written by allen moore
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How to Change Brake Disk Pads
Brake calipers (brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from

Changing disc brake pads is an entry level mechanical operation in automotive repair. The job requires basic automotive repair skill, a grasp on tool usage and a dose of mechanical inclination. Modern automotive technology forces repair technicians to specialise as they advance; however, nearly all are well versed in brake repair. This job is also one of the most undertaken do it yourself repairs by laymen. If you possess the time, skill and tools, you can do this job yourself as well.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Safety glasses
  • Lug wrench
  • Floor jack
  • 2 Jack stands
  • Dripping pan
  • Brake clean
  • Socket set
  • White lithium grease
  • Caliper piston tool
  • Torque wrench

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  1. 1

    Set the parking brake, chock the rear wheels and put your safety glasses on.

  2. 2

    Loosen the front lug nuts with the lug wrench but do not completely remove them yet.

  3. 3

    Slide the floor jack under the front end and lift the vehicle up from a safe jacking point, such as the front frame. Place the jack stands under the front frame on both sides and then lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.

  4. 4

    Remove the wheels and lug nuts by hand. Place the drip panel underneath the brake assembly and spray it down completely with the brake clean to remove as much brake dust as possible. Brake dust is hazardous to your health, so cleaning it away with the brake clean spray will minimise the amount you breathe in.

  5. 5

    Remove the caliper retaining bolts with the socket set. This may require some solid muscle to accomplish. Pull the caliper up and away from the brake rotor and place it in the suspension so that it does not hang from the brake line. If the vehicle has a brake caliper bracket, remove that with the socket set also.

  6. 6

    Remove the retaining clip from the back of the caliper and then pull the old brake pads out by hand. Spray the inside of the caliper thoroughly with brake clean and then lubricate the caliper slides with the white lithium grease.

  7. 7

    Push the caliper piston back into the caliper with the caliper piston tool. You can pick up a tool at the local auto parts store. Make sure the specific tool you purchase works with your vehicle.

  8. 8

    Insert the replacement brake pads into the brake caliper and reinstall the retaining clip.

  9. 9

    Bolt the caliper bracket back in place, if so equipped. Slide the brake caliper back over the rotor and bolt it back on with the socket set. Repeat on the other side.

  10. 10

    Reinstall the wheel and lugs nuts, lower the vehicle off the jack stands and tighten the lug nuts with the torque wrench. You can get torque specs for your particular vehicle's lug nuts by calling the manufacturer's local dealership or any tire shop.

Tips and warnings

  • It is best to machine or replace the rotors (brake discs) whenever you perform a brake pad replacement. Always replace both sides on the same axle every time you perform brake repairs.

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