Introduction: Changing Brake Pads- Disc Brakes. (1995 GTP Grand Prix)

Here is a simple step by step on how to change your brake pads on your vehicle in this case I used a 1995 Grand Prix but the equipment is the same for most models with disk brakes.

You will need
-Jack Stand
-Floor Jack or Lift
-New Brake Pads
-A Normal Hammer
-Large Hammer**
-Impact wrench or a breaker bar
-3/4" socket ***
-15 mm socket***
-Ratchet
-Flat Head Screw Driver
-C Clamps ****

**Large hammer may not be necessary but its a good idea to have one just in case.
***Size may vary depending on the vehicle check a manual or have a variety of sizes on hand.
***Allen wrenches may be required instead of a socket
****Used to compress the cylinder I needed two sizes you may not.

Step 1: First Thing

First and foremost, do not attempt repairs that are beyond your ability. If you feel unsure about a repair, you should seek out a competent professional to do the work for you. Better to pay someone who knows what they're doing than to attempt to fix it yourself and screw it up. Many systems on vehicles today are very complex. Repairs often require considerable skill and expertise, not to mention special tools and equipment. A simple mistake could ruin sensitive (and expensive!) electronic components. So don't tackle jobs that are beyond your abilities.

Know your physical limits, too. Don't attempt repairs yourself if you're not physically able to do the work. Replacing certain components may require heavy lifting (changing or removing tires, pulling a cylinder head, etc.), crawling under the vehicle, laying or working in an awkward position, reaching, bending, twisting, pulling, tugging, straining, jerking and motions you may not be accustomed to making. Use common sense. If you have a bad back, joint problems or lack the physical strength to do something, then don't. Hire someone to do it for you.

Also, do not attempt to undertake any maintenance or repair work on your vehicle if you're tired, not feeling well, tipsy, on medication or otherwise impaired. Exhaustion, illness, alcoholic beverages and even some medications may affect your judgment and perception creating a potential for injury or error.

Step 2: Now You Have Your Tools

Have your vehicle on level ground and in park. For front breaks apply your parking/emergency brake. For rear brakes blocking the front tires is a good safety measure. 

You do not want your vehicle to move while you are working on it especially if you are under the car, or have a tire off.

Step 3: Jack It Up

Now that your vehicle isn't going to move find a good jacking point (Frame or a mount work well). If you are having difficulty finding a jack point your user manual lists the locations to use a jack on your vehicle.

Step 4: Secure It

All floor jacks manufactures recommend the use of a jack stand so put one in place encase the floor jack loses pressure.

Step 5: Now Remove Your Tire

Now you simply take the 5 bolts off that secure your tire (can be anywhere from 4-16) place them in a place where you will not lose them or kick them on accident. Then remove your tire.

Step 6: What Is What?

Now that your tire is off you can see your brake caliper rotor as shown in the picture.

Step 7: Now Remove the Brake Caliper

It is much simpler then you would expect most vehicles only have 2 bolts restraining the caliper you will find them on the back on the caliper. Locate them and use a ratchet and socket or a wrench to loosen them and remove them. This may prove to be difficult and require the help of a strong person, "cheater bar", hammer, torch, liquid wrench, or all of the above.

Step 8: Feeling Lucky?

If your lucky you can just pull of your caliper in most cases this wont work. If it dose not slide off you will need to use a large c-clamp to compress the cylinder so you can remove the caliper from the rotor.

Step 9: Your Caliper Is Off

Your brake pads simply pop off or slide off of the caliper.  In my example the brake pads were completely gone. It is generally recommended if you have 3 mm or less of pad material to replace your pads. While you have your tire off you should check your rotor for groves, cuts, or warping, any of these appear you should get your rotor machined at a shop, or replace it entirely. Also use this opportunity to look at the brake lines for any kinks, cuts, or wear.

Step 10: Compress the Cylinder

Now that the pads are off you need to compress the cylinder to so you can fit in your new larger brake pads I used a c-clamp and a piece of metal to go across both of my pistons. Cars can have any where from one piston to five. In this picture you can see liquid that is because I had to open up my bleeder on the caliper (this is not recommended because you then have to bleed your brakes). Most models you will not have to open up your brake lines in any way. 

Step 11: Now for the New Stuff!

Here is the moment you have been waiting for. Now that your pistons are compressed and your car has not rolled off or crashed to the ground you simply need to slide in your new brake pads just the opposite as they came off.

Step 12: Put It Back Together

Now place the caliper back on the rotor and slide your two bolts in place, make them finger tight to start then tighten them up with a ratchet they should be tightened to 35-37 ft-lbs . Make sure these are tight you don't want them coming loose when you need your brakes! 

Step 13: Almost Done!

Now you have your new pads installed and everything is nice and tight and secure you can put your tire back on. To tighten your bolts it is suggested to hand tighten each bolt then to progressively tighten them in a star pattern to disperse the pressure evenly across the tire and rotor. In the end you should have every bolt tightened to a minimum of 80 ft-lbs your owners manual will have the specifications for your vehicle. Once again you need to make sure these are tight a bolt flying of your car will not ruin your car but if you lose more then one it could be bad news.

Step 14: Good Work

Now simply put your tools away, remove your jack stand, lower your floor jack slowly, remove the parking break and or blocks, check your break peddle for stiffness (might need a couple pumps). Then take it for a easy test spin to make sure you vehicle is road worthy.

Comments