Damage to the brake rotors on your Volkswagen occurs most often from bad or incorrectly installed brake pads. Under normal driving conditions, your rotors should last through three sets of brake pads. However, strenuous operating conditions--such as repeated stop and go city driving--can cause abnormal wear on the rotors. As a safety feature, Volkswagen equips its vehicles with a small screw that retains the brake rotor, keeping it in place for tire mounting and dismounting. With a few tools you can remove the screw and complete your brake rotor repair right at home. The total repair time should take no more than 40 minutes.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Lug wrench
- Hydraulic jack
- Jack stand
- Socket wrench set
- 5-gallon bucket
- T-30 Torx bit socket
Apply the emergency brake on your Volkswagen. Loosen the lug nuts on the front driver's side tire with a lug wrench no more than a 1/4-turn counterclockwise.
Raise the car with a hydraulic jack and place a jack stand under the frame rail to support the car during the repair. Loosen and remove all of the lug nuts but one. Hold the tire in position against the rotor to prevent it from falling onto the threads of the wheel studs. Remove the final lug nut and slide the tire off the wheel studs without letting it drag across their threads.
Remove the inner upper and lower caliper mounting bracket bolts with a socket wrench. Do not remove the two bolts from the brake caliper. The caliper mounts over both brake pads, and the pads themselves mount within the metal bracket surrounding the brake caliper.
Place an empty five-gallon bucket inside the Volkswagen's wheel well on the same side as the brake caliper. Grasp the brake caliper and mounting bracket simultaneously. Lift both components, as an assembly, off the brake rotor and set them down on top of the bucket. Untwist the rubber brake line attached to the brake caliper if you unintentionally twisted it. If the brake line appears taut or has limited slack, move the bucket closer to the hub.
Attach a T-30 Torx bit socket to your ratchet. Remove the single Torx screw from the face of the Volkswagen's brake rotor. The screw mounts between the wheel studs. Remove the rotor by carefully pulling it towards you off the wheel studs.
Tips and warnings
- If you're replacing the rotor, in order for you to remount the brake caliper and bracket, you have to compress the brake caliper's piston. You can do this with an 8-inch C-clamp. Remove the brake fluid reservoir cap, before you compress the piston, to avoid possible brake line rupture from the pressure associated with the process.
- Before you take the vehicle for a test-drive, pump your brake pedal to set the brake pads.
- Never replace a single rotor on your Volkswagen. Damage to the entire brake system can occur. You should always replace the brake rotors in pairs to create even wearing.
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