Brake Pad Replacement

Written by Jerry Homolka, Member 1682
Applies to the following vehicles: Virtually any
Created 3/26/2003

Write-Up Rating
Rated by 10 members

Purpose: To replace worn brake pads so that braking performance returns.

How its done:

Parts Needed:


Step 1: Open the hood and take the cap off the brake reservoir. If you have refilled the reservoir because it was low during normal wear, you will now need to remove some brake fluid until the level reaches to the LOW fluid level marking. If not, while compressing the piston with the C-clamp, the fluid will spill over into the engine compartment and if it touches anything painted, will cause the paint to bubble and peel.

Step 2: Place jack-stands under the car on all 4 corners to raise all 4 tires off the ground. Make sure that the car is STABLE, SECURE and safe before starting work. If it takes a little more time to get this part right, then take your time. Refer to your manual for proper jack placement.

Step 3: Remove the plastic lug nut covers and remove the bolts. Remove tires and place out of the way.

Step 4: Remove the lower bolt that holds the caliper in place and slide upwards. This exposes the brake pads.

Step 5: Remove the brake pads and (optional) with a paper towel or tack cloth, wipe it around the rotor (disc) to clean away any loose surface dirt or dust. Take the time and note how the old pads are placed into their positions. Note that the one with the "feeler" (the feeler is a small metal tab that causes that squeaking sound after brake pad wear nears it's limit) goes on the back of the rotor.

Step 6: Using the C-clamp, compress the piston in the caliper to make room for the wider (and newer) brake pads.

Step 7: Place the new brake pads into position.

Step 8: Lower the caliper over the pads, paying attention to not damage the small rubber boot that the bolt goes into.

Step 9: Use some grease around the bolt and replace it into its hole and torque to 40 ft/lbs (I've done this approximately by hand without detrimental results). Use the 15mm socket on the front calipers and 14mm socket on the rear calipers.

Step 10: Replace the tire, put on the lugs BY HAND (to prevent it from cross-threading), and tighten as much as you can, comfortably.

Step 11: After repeating the same process at all the other wheels, lower the car to the ground and now tighten the wheels using a torque wrench to 100 ft/lbs. Do not use an air wrench, they're almost always too tight and can easily strip the bolt.

Step 12: This step is crucial! Before going ANYWHERE with the car, engage the parking brake (hand-brake) and start the vehicle. Now slowly pump the brake pedal at least 3-5 times. The first 2-3 times the pedal may seem very soft and go all the way to the bottom. Keep pumping until the pedal is nice and firm.

Step 13: Take a look at the brake reservoir and add fluid if needed. If not, replace cap on the reservoir securely.

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