How to Fix Brakes That Are Sticking

Updated March 23, 2017

Nothing stops you in your tracks like screeching brakes that slide or stick while driving. Prevent an accident by replacing your brake pads. There's no need to consult a mechanic; you can replace your own brake pads within a few hours.

Although brake pads and brake shoes complete the same function, stopping the motion of the vehicle, the pair act upon different areas of the brake system. Specifically, brake pads clamp to a rotating disc to create friction to stop motion. Therefore, the thickness of the rotor disc and brake pads remains crucial to creating the proper stopping force. Brake pads also keep rotor discs from dust and build-up.

Jack up your car and remove the wheels. Make sure to leave an entire side assembled so that you have a reference. Use the impact screwdriver if necessary.

Loosen the brake reservoir cover. Use the brake cleaner to clean the build up and also check the brake fluid level.

Remove the rotor disc without stripping the mounting screws. Use the hammer and impact screwdriver if necessary.

Remove caliper bolts if necessary. Torque the fasteners to proper specification. Bolts are responsible for handling the stopping force created, so make sure to secure a tight fit.

Remove the caliper if required. Certain makes and models require caliper removal. If you can access the brake pads without removing the caliper, then go ahead and remove the old brake pads. Note the position of the clips, shims, and tabs.

Compress the caliper piston back into the caliper before installing the new brake pads. Again use the brake cleaner to clean excess build up.

Install your new brake pads. Make sure all shims, clips, and tabs are aligned to proper positions.

Apply a small amount of high temperature grease to caliper slider pins.


Test the brake pads after installing. Before you go on the highway, be sure to drive your vehicle down a street. Make eight to ten quick stops at a moderate speed. Remember that your new brake pads have to be broken in. There are a variety of brake pads made from different material to enhance performance and to match the demands of the braking system. Consider what brake pads will best fit your driving routine. You won't need high performance brake pads for routine trips to your local grocery store.


Never install new brake pads onto worn rotors or malfunctioning calipers. Make sure that rotors and calipers are free from unwanted build-up before installing new pads.

Things You'll Need

  • New Brake Pads
  • Hammer
  • Impact Screw Driver
  • Brake Cleaner
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About the Author

Maikeisha Cuyler has been writing since 2009. Her work appears on eHow, specializing in topics related to health and women's issues. Cuyler earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Florida State University.