How to Replace Ford Focus Front Brakes

Updated February 21, 2017

Ford Motors first introduced the Focus in 2000. Marketed as a European-style compact car, it gained a reputation as a reliable and versatile vehicle. In keeping with its sporty image, the Focus was supplied with European-engineered front disc brakes. These brakes are generally reliable and dependable, but from time to time problems arise. Focus owners can benefit from learning how to overhaul their own front brakes. Doing the work yourself gives you a better sense of the condition of your car and can save you both time and money.

Park the car on a firm and level surface. Engage the emergency brake. Put automatic transmissions in park and put manual transmissions in first or reverse gear. Loosen the lug nuts a full turn and then jack the car up at the front wheel to be worked on. Support the car on an axle stand. Completely remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel off.

Remove the rubber caps that cover the heads of the caliper slide bolts. Remove the caliper slide bolts. Remove the caliper from the disc. If the brake pads catch on the outside of the disc, firmly grasp the caliper and rock it back and forth a few times to force the brake pads far enough apart to remove them. Take care not to stretch or damage the rubber brake hose. Hang the caliper out of the way using a wire hook or piece of cord.

Pry the outside brake pad wire retaining clip off the front of the caliper with a screwdriver. Take care not to remove the clip from the brake pad. Slide the outside pad out of the caliper. Slide the inside pad out of the caliper.

Use a brake pad spreading tool to push the brake piston back into the cylinder. Place the metal plate of the tool against the inner surface of the outside of the caliper, then place the spindle swivel against the brake piston. Turn the spindle to push the piston back into the cylinder. Alternatively, hook a large C-clamp over the back of the caliper and tighten it against the piston to push it back into the cylinder. Be careful not to damage the piston seal.

Pull the disc straight off the hub. If the disc is stuck, firmly tap the centre part of the disc with a hammer or mallet to loosen it. Take care not to hit the outer rim of the disc or the braking surface area.

Measure the thickness of the brake pad linings. If the remaining lining thickness is less than 0.060 inches, or if the linings are damaged or have worn unevenly, replace the pads.

Follow the steps in the reverse order to reassemble the brake. Before reinstalling the caliper guide bolts, clean them thoroughly with brake cleaning fluid and lubricate them well with brake grease.


Use a brake disc micrometer to measure the disc thickness at several locations. If the disc thickness is less than 0.787 inches at any location, replace the disc. Note that this minimum disc thickness specification is for the discs that were supplied with the car. If the discs have been changed, the minimum allowable disc thickness should be stamped on the edge of the disc. Examine the disc for signs of damage. If the disc is warped or cracked it must be replaced. Minor damage to the disc surface can be addressed by taking the disc to a brake shop or auto-parts supply store and having the disc machined.


Do not breathe brake dust or fumes from brake cleaner. Work in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Lug nut wrench
  • Car jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wrenches
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Brake grease
  • Brake cleaner spray
  • Brake disc micrometer
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