With this guide for brake pad replacement, it should be possible to grasp a general idea on how to perform the task. Assuming your car has standard disc brakes, and we’ll demonstrate how to replace a pad on one wheel only. It should be the same all around the car, but if you have drum brakes, refer to an article on how to replace brake pads in a drum braking system. Here are a couple of important points before you get to work with a brake pad replacement:
As a rule of thumb, never replace the brake pads on one side or one wheel only – uneven braking may occur and could cause your car to pull heavily to one side.
Dust created by the wear of brake pads may contain asbestos, which is highly toxic. Be careful not to breathe in this dust and wear a mask if possible.
Brake Pad Replacement
Make sure that the car is in a safe place and on flat ground, where you will not be disturbed by passersby. Apply the handbrake and jack up the vehicle on the side that will be worked on. If possible, try to use axle stands, as these are a lot safer than simply relying on your jack. Remove the wheel.
Have a look for the brake pad sensor wiring (if fitted) and disconnect it from the wiring connector.
Examine the back of the brake caliper and you will see two bolts that hold the caliper to the disc. Remove any rubber grommet that may be protecting the bolt and loosen with a hexagon key or screwdriver. This can be difficult if it hasn’t been done for a while. Make sure you’re using the right size tool for the job, or you could damage the bolt.
Lift the caliper and slide it away from the brake disc. Tie it to the suspension strut to prevent the brake lining from being damaged.
Remove the brake pads. If they have retaining clips, make a note of where they go and how they are fitted.
Your replacement brake pads should have a non-squeak material brushed onto them to prevent the brakes squeaking. Be sure that there are no contaminants on the new brake pads.
Spray brake cleaner over the disk and calliper and wipe off with a rag.
The piston needs to be pushed back into the caliper. You can use a g-clamp or a special caliper piston tool to accomplish this. Once the piston is pushed all the way back, you can begin the next step.
Reapply the new brake pads to their position on the caliper and clip in place with their retaining clips.
Slide the brake caliper with new brake pads onto the disc and replace the two bolts that hold them in place.
If applicable, reconnect the brake pad sensor.
Once the brake caliper is back in place, depress the brake a number of times until pressure is restored.
Put the wheel back on the car and that’s one brake done.