Most front brakes today consist of the disc brake system. The front brakes on a vehicle typically endure up to 70 per cent of the braking force required to stop the vehicle. Brake disc pads offer more stopping power than drum brake shoes. The front disc brake system consists of numerous components that work in concert with each other, such as the piston and caliper, brake pads and anti-rattle clips. The anti-rattle clips provide a stable platform for the disc pads inside the caliper housing and stop brake pad vibration and chatter. The DIY repairman can replace damaged anti-rattle clips, or reuse them when performing a standard brake job.
Set the transmission selector in neutral or park, depending upon your transmission type. Apply the emergency brake and raise the hood. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket. Use a tire wrench to loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels, but do not remove the nuts. Use a floor jack to raise the front and rear of the vehicle and place jack stands under the frame rails. Finish removing the front wheels with the tire wrench.
Locate the two long bolts that hold the caliper housing to the caliper bracket, and use a socket and wrench to loosen and remove them. If the caliper housing has an automatic braking system (ABS) sensor wire attached to it, unplug it.
Slide the caliper housing up and off of the rotor. Support the caliper by tying it to the frame with a bungee cord, so it does not hang down, putting pressure on the brake line. Use a flathead screwdriver to wedge open the seam between the caliper piston and brake pad.
Unclasp the pads from the anti-rattle clips. The clips have spring-loaded designs that hold the pads against the housing. Some clips appear as small thin clamps, while other foreign makes will look like thin angled wires that reach over the top of the caliper and fasten down on both sides. Replace the new anti-rattle clips into the indentation mounts, in the same way you removed them.
Use a C-clamp to compress the caliper piston back into its cylinder bore. Place one arm of the clamp on the piston and the other end on the outside of the caliper housing. Turn the C-clamp knob until the piston moves backward.
Remove the C-clamp. Snap the disc pads back into their anti-rattle clip sockets. The tangs on the clips will hold the pads in place. Release the bungee cord and set the caliper back down over the rotor. Note: if shim plates came with the pads, reinstall them behind the brake disc pads in the same position.
Install the two long caliper bolts through the caliper and into the caliper bracket housing. Tighten both bolts with a socket and wrench. Reconnect the ABS sensor wire, if you have removed one. Replace the wheels on the axle hubs. Install the lug nuts on the rim and tighten them only snug with the tire iron. Refer to your owner's service manual for the correct foot-pound torque for your wheels, and tighten them with a torque wrench.
Perform the same anti-rattle clip installation on the opposite front wheel. Use the floor jack to lift the vehicle and remove all the jack stands, then lower the vehicle to the ground. Pump the brake pedal very slowly about three times to set the pads. Reconnect the negative battery cable with a socket. Test drive the vehicle.
Things you need
- Tire wrench
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Socket set
- Bungee cord
- Anti-rattle clips
- Owner's service manual
- Torque wrench