How to Replace the Rear Brakes on a Volkswagen MK4 GTI

Written by william zane
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The MKIV VW GTI was the fourth generation of this popular, widely-loved model and carried on the tradition of a fun-to-drive, practical and reliable German hatchback. The brakes on an MKIV GTI should be replaced approximately every 10,000 miles. This is a job that can be done by a professional shop or by the reasonably-experienced home mechanic.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Rubber mallet
  • VW Caliper tool
  • Brake cleaner
  • Rags
  • New brake rotors
  • New brake pads

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  1. 1

    Park the VW on a flat, level surface. Place it in gear but do not engage the emergency brake. Loosen the lug nuts that hold the rear wheels in place. Raise the vehicle with a floor jack and lower it onto jack stands. Remove the rear wheels and set them out of the way.

  2. 2

    Remove the brake caliper from the caliper carrier by removing the two bolts that hold the caliper on. Use a 13-mm deep socket to remove the bolt and a 15-mm wrench to hold the flat side of the bolt to keep it from turning while you loosen it. Slide the caliper off of the rotor. Remove the inner and outer brake pads.

  3. 3

    Remove the caliper carrier by removing the two bolts that hold it on with an 8-mm hex wrench. Remove the set screw that holds the rotor on with a Phillips screwdriver. Soak the screw with WD40 if it is frozen on. Pull the rotor straight off of the hub to remove it. You may need to give the rotor a tap from behind to free it.

  4. 4

    Spray brake cleaner on the hub and caliper and wipe them down with a rag. Place the special caliper tool onto the caliper piston and then bolt the caliper carrier and the caliper back on. This will hold the caliper still while you retract the piston. Tighten the tool according to the directions that came with it until the caliper is fully retracted. Remove the caliper and carrier again.

  5. 5

    Slide the new rotor onto the hub and install and tighten the set screw with the screwdriver. Reinstall the caliper carrier. Slide the new brake pads into position onto the rotor so that the notches on the carrier are holding them in place. Slide the caliper over the brake pads and tighten the caliper bolts. Check all of the bolts for tightness. Repeat the above steps for the opposite side of the car.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the wheels. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Break in the new pads according to the pad manufacturer’s directions. This usually involves a few consistent but quick stops from 60-mph to a full stop.

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