How to Replace Brakes on a Honda CRV

Updated March 23, 2017

The Honda CR-V is equipped with anti-lock disc brakes that require regular maintenance to function properly. Honda recommends replacing the brake pads every 50,000 miles, while the brake rotors require less frequent service. Check the rotors for damage from the brake pad wear indicators. Light scoring on the rotor's surface can be resurfaced to a smooth shine. Heavy gouging warrants rotor replacement as soon as possible. You can choose to have your Honda's brakes replaced by a professional or you can do it yourself.

Park the CR-V on a flat stretch of road or driveway and apply the parking brake. Pull the hood release lever, located under the dashboard on the driver's side. Move to the front of the vehicle and raise the hood. Remove the cap from the master cylinder located to the right of the Honda's engine. Siphon half of the brake fluid from the reservoir with a syringe or turkey baster. Place a shop rag over the container to keep debris from the remaining fluid.

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels corresponding to the brakes you will be replacing, with the tire iron included in the Honda wheel maintenance kit. Lift the CR-V and rest the frame on at least two jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off.

Pull the retaining clips from the outside of the brake caliper with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Make note of the way the clips fit into the caliper for future reinsertion. Remove the two caliper slide bolts with the wrench. Lift the caliper from the brake assembly and suspend it above the wheel hub with a bungee cord.

Slide the brake pads from the sides of the caliper. The pads are fixed to the caliper by metal clips that may require some prying with a flat screwdriver to remove them. Remove the rotor pin (or screw) with a #3 Phillips-head screwdriver. The pin is located on the centre section of the disc rotor, called the "top-hat" section. Pull the rotor straight from the wheel hub.

Remove the packaging from the new rotors and clean the discs thoroughly with a cloth towel and brake parts cleaner. Slide the new disc onto the wheel bolts with the top-hat section facing outward. Replace the rotor pin with the screwdriver.

Place the C-clamp or channel lock pliers over the caliper piston and the back side of the caliper wall. Squeeze the piston into the side of the caliper until it is flush with the inside of the caliper's side. The caliper piston forces the brake pads against the rotor. You need to open it to allow for the thicker pads and rotor. Remove the clamp or pliers once the piston is fully depressed.

Apply brake grease to the inside of the caliper. Slide the new brake pads onto the sides of the caliper. Place the caliper over the rotor and screw in the caliper pins with the wrench. Replace the retaining clip on the outside of the caliper by hand.

Place the wheels back onto the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts by hand. Lift the Honda with the jack to remove the jack stands, then lower the tires to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Repeat Steps 2 through 8 for each additional sets of brakes that require replacement.

Return to the engine compartment. Remove the shop rag and place a funnel inside the master cylinder. Fill the reservoir with brake fluid and replace the cap. Close the bonnet.

Things You'll Need

  • Syringe or turkey baster
  • Shop rag
  • Tire iron
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Pliers
  • 13-millimeter wrench
  • Bungee cord
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Brake parts cleaner
  • Cloth towel
  • Rotors
  • Brake pads
  • Brake grease
  • C-clamp or channel-lock pliers
  • Funnel
  • Brake fluid
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About the Author

Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.