Introduction: Replacing the Brake Pads on a Standard Passenger Car.
Are your car's brakes making a grinding noise every time you apply the brake? Are you running low on cash or just don't trust any mechanic with your special baby? Do you have access to a few basic tools and not afraid to get your hands a little dirty? Well if you said yes to the three questions listed above then your in luck. With this short and simple tutorial I will show you step-by-step how to change the brake pads on your passenger car.
*Note: By careful when changing your brake pads on your or anyone else car. I do not hold responsibility for any injury to anyone*
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Step 1: The Tools That You Will Need.
The tools that you'll need to complete this afternoon project are very simple and easy to acquire tools. These tools consist of:
-An open ended or an adjustable wrench (it depends on what kind of a car you are working on)
-A hammer (one that you can swing around in a somewhat tight area)
-A set of Allen wrenches (standard or metric, it depends on the make and model of your car)
-Car jack (the one that was provided with your car will work just fine)
-Your new brake pads
Step 2: Breaking the Lug Nuts
Start off by taking your lug wrench and breaking the lug nuts on the rim before jacking up the car. This is much safer then waiting to do it while the car is in the air. Once the lugs are loosened up, go ahead and start jacking the car up. To make sure the car jack is put in the right area on your car's undercarriage, consult your owner's manual. Once the car is raised up, insert a few jack stands under your car which will make it a little safer to work on.
Step 3: Take the Tire Off
Now that the car is raised in the air, you are ready to take the wheel off the hub assembly. Start at the bottom of the lug nuts and work your way to the top of them. I like to do this because it makes it easier to keep the tire in place in till your ready for it to come off. Once all of the lug nuts are off you can take the tire off and roll it to the side and out of your work area.
Step 4: Removing the Caliper
Now that the tire is off the and you can access the brake caliper, its time to unbolt it. On a majority of the cars on the road today you have to take the brake caliper off the get to the brake pads. To do this, locate the back of the caliper. Once you do that you will see a bolt on either side of it. This bolt will most likely be an Allen bolt, so you can then use your Allen wrenches to take it off, but if it is not an Allen bolt it will be a Hex bolt.
Remove the two bolts and put them in a safe place, like on your workbench. Once you remove the two bolts, grad the caliper on the top and pull upward. The caliper may be stuck and not want to come off, so if that's the case just start wiggling it a little bit to make it come off. If it still wont come off, then give it a few little taps with your hammer.
Once you got the caliper off, safely set it down on the ground. Be very sure not to put any pressure on the black hose connected to the caliper because that is your brake line.
Step 5: Take Out the Old Brake Pads
Before you start taking the pads out of the caliper, it is very import to look inside the caliper and see how the pads are aligned and how everything is set up. You can take a picture of the caliper assembly to make sure that you put it in back correctly.
Now the pads should just fall out, if they don't its probably because of a few little metal tabs holding them in place. If that is the case, then you can just put the metal tabs to the side and the pads will fall out.
Step 6: Put in the New Pads
With the old pads out, its now time to put new pads in. Put the new pads in the same way as the old ones were in. If had to remove any of the metal clips, be sure to put those back in place.
If you took a picture in the previous step, now would be a good time to refer to it for a reference picture.
Step 7: Compress the Brake Piston
Since your brake pads were out, the caliper adjusted itself. To make the piston fit the new pads, you will need to push the piston back into the starting point. To do this, take the c-clamp and place the end with the screw on it against the piston with the other end of the clamp around on the back of the caliper assembly. Now start slowly tighten the clamp until the piston has moved in far enough that you can put the new brake pad in without much work.
Step 8: Re-Install the Caliper
Now that the piston is compressed and the pads are on, you can re-install the caliper. Replace the bolts that were previously taken off, and tighten them.
Go and pump the brakes to make sure that there is proper brake pressure, it may take a few pumps to get the pressure back up.
Step 9: Put the Tire Back On
With the caliper back on and the brakes are pumped with enough pressure, it is now time to put the tire back on. Place the tire back on the hub assembly and put the lug nuts on the same way you took them off, with starting putting them on with the top first and working your way down.
Go ahead and let the car back down to the ground and tighten the lugs the rest of the way.
Step 10: All Finished Up!!!
Now with the car back on the ground and your brakes pumped and the braking system is back to normal pressure you are all finished up and ready to drive your car.
But keep in mind the brake pads are new and you need to slowly break them in. A good way to do this is to avoid really heavy braking for 400-500 miles. This will insure that they are fully broke in. And always remember to be safe on the road.