Mechanic Tips

Brake Pad Replacement: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having properly functioning brakes is important for safe driving. Over time, your brake pads wear down from friction and eventually need replacement. Replacing brake pads is an essential maintenance task that drivers can often do themselves. 

With some basic mechanical skills and the right tools, you can swap worn brake pads for fresh ones. This article provides a step-by-step guide to safely replacing brake pads on a typical disc brake system.

Gather the Necessary Equipment

Before getting started, assemble all the equipment you’ll need for the job near the work area. Essential tools include a tyre iron, a c-clamp, a wrench set, brake lubricant, brake cleaner, and replacement brake pads. For brake hardware replacement, you’ll also need a jack and jack stands, gloves, eye protection, and shop rags. Ensure you have the proper brake pads for your vehicle’s make and model. Refer to the owner’s manual if unsure.

Lift the Wheel

Start by loosening the wheel lug nuts with the tire iron while the car is still on the ground. Then, locate a safe jacking point on the vehicle frame to lift the wheel well off the ground. Pump the jack until the tyre lifts evenly off the pavement. Slide a jack stand beneath the frame for secure support.

Detach the Brake Calliper

Before removing the brake pads, you need to detach the brake calliper from its mount. Start by unscrewing the slider pins on the backside. Carefully pull the calliper away from the rotor to access the pads behind it. Use a bungee cord to suspend the calliper above without disconnecting the brake line. This is where your knowledge of rotor resurfacing would be useful. 

Take Out the Old Pads

With the calliper out of the way, you can now see the brake pads behind it. Pay attention to how the pads are oriented with the retaining clips so you can properly install the new ones later. Use a screwdriver or pliers to pry the old pads and clips loose from the calliper bracket. Dispose of the worn pads properly.

Retract the Caliper Pistons

Before installing new pads, the pistons inside the calliper assembly must be pushed back into their bores. Use a C-clamp to slowly crank the Pistons into a retracted position, making room for the thicker replacement pads. Take care not to damage the piston seals during calliper piston retraction.

Add Fresh Brake Pads

Once the old hardware is removed and the pistons retracted, slide the new pads into place on the calliper bracket. Refer to the brake pad wear indicator tabs to position them correctly. Use brake lubricant on the pad contact points to prevent squeaking. Re-attach any clips or anti-rattle brake pad shims that came with the new pads. Confirm that the pads can move freely in the bracket.

Reassemble the Brake Corner

With the fresh brake pads seated properly in place, you can reassemble everything in reverse order of disassembly. Carefully slide the calliper assembly back over the new pads to meet the rotor and re-tighten the slider bolts. Ensure no brake lines are twisted or pinched. Top off the brake fluid flush reservoir if needed. Finally, remove the jack stands and carefully lower the vehicle.

Inspect Your Work

Before driving the vehicle, confirm that the brake pads are aligned evenly, and nothing is rubbing. Rotate the wheel slowly checking for clearance. Then start the vehicle and pump the brake pedal several times to seat the new pad material to the rotor surface. It would vary depending on the brake pad material types. Check for fluid leaks underneath. If any problems are observed, fix them before operating the vehicle.

Protect Your Investment

Proper brake pad bedding is needed to achieve maximum performance and longevity. Consult the pad manufacturer’s instructions, but typically a series of moderate stops at various speeds builds an optimal friction layer on the pads and rotor surface. Avoid heavy braking for the first 200 miles. Properly installed new pads keep your vehicle stopping safely for tens of thousands of miles down the road.

Extending the Life of Your Brake Pads

Once you’ve invested the time and money into installing new brake pads, you’ll want them to last. There are a few driving habits and car maintenance practices you can adopt to maximise brake pad longevity and minimise wear, getting the most from your new parts.

Avoid Excessive Braking

Aggressive braking that engages the anti-lock brake system puts extra wear on the pads. Allowing extra following distance permits more gradual braking. This gives the pads time to gently dissipate speed using lighter brake pressure before needing to stop more abruptly. Coasting to red lights and stop signs also minimises pad usage. This will help you with enhancing brake system safety. 

Carry Less Weight

The more mass a vehicle has to halt, the harder the brake pads must work during deceleration. Removing unneeded items from the trunk and backseat reduces overall car weight and related pad wear over time. Also, be mindful of max payload if towing or hauling heavier items.

Inspect Brake Parts Routinely

Check brake fluid levels, lines, calliper function, and pad thickness during routine oil changes. Addressing minor brake issues early on prevents bigger problems requiring premature pad replacement later. Listen for scraping, and grinding noises signalling thin pads.

Avoid Prolonged Braking on Steep Hills

Extended downhill braking builds substantial heat in pads and rotors, glazing the pad material. Allow brief cooling cycles between brake applications on long grades by modulating pressure. Brake fade on mountains means pads likely need service upon reaching the bottom.

With conscientious driving and regular inspections, you can safely prolong the functioning lifespan of new brake pads. Good maintenance saves money over the vehicle ownership period.

Getting Expert Help 

If you don’t have a clear idea on how to proceed with brake pad replacement on your own, you need to seek expert help. This is where you can get in touch with a car repair shop Brendale. Anyone seeking such a shop can reach out to SNC Automotive. They have expert mechanics, who can help you with replacing your worn-out brake pads. You just need to drive to the car repair shop, replace your brake pads, and enjoy a hassle-free driving experience on the road. 

this page: