*** NOW UPDATED *** with new retaining clips. See photos step 14.
This project won the Technical Video Rental 'Cool Project' award!
Step 1: Gather materials
- new brake pads
- brake disc lube (high temperature synthetic grease)
- probably, new retainer pin spring clips
- floor jack or other jack
- lug nut wrench
- assorted screwdrivers and pliers
Brake pads come in several flavors, named (in order of increasing high-techiness):
1 organic -- old style asbestos
2 semi-metallic -- fitted to most new cars
3 metallic -- usually used on race cars
4 ceramic -- the New New Thing in brake pads
Since you're saving beaucoup $$$ by replacing your own pads, it certainly does not hurt to spend a few extra bucks for the next better pads than the factory pads.
For instance, in my case, my car (1997 Ford Escort LX wagon -- not-too-sexy!) was factory equipped with semi-metallic in front, and organic in rear. I bumped up to ceramic in front, for $18 more, and if I were to do the rear, I would probably fit semi-metallic.