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DIY: Replacing Your Disc Brake Pads

These instructions will help you change the disc pads on most popular vehicles. Be sure to READ these instructions completely before you begin.

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Before You Start:

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid, level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.
  • Do one wheel at a time so you can use the other wheel as a reference in case you get confused.
  • Check for any fluid leaks or cracked brake lines. Replace them as necessary.
CAUTION!!!
Brake linings contain asbestos. Avoid creating or breathing dust when changing linings or cleaning parts. Use water to wash down the brakes before starting and wear gloves to avoid prolonged contact with your skin.

Step One:

  • Remove about half the brake fluid from the master cylinder and put it into a sealed container. Dispose of it properly. Do not reuse old brake fluid; always use fresh brake fluid from a sealed container. Brake fluid will eat paint so do not get it on your vehicles finish. If you do, wash it off (brake fluid is water soluble) with plenty of water.
  • Using a lug wrench, crack the wheel lugs loose one or two turns. Do not remove them completely.
  • Jack one side of the vehicle up and support it with a jack stand. Do the same for the opposite side.
  • Remove the lugs and take the wheels off.
  • To remove the calipers:
Floating Caliper:
  • Remove the two caliper guide pins or bolts. Look at the locations and positions of any bushings or guides so they can be reinstalled properly.
  • Rock the caliper back and forth to push the piston back enough to slide the caliper off.
  • Remove the caliper. Use a large C-clamp and push on the inboard pad to move the piston back into the caliper. Do it slow and steady. If you did not remove half the brake fluid, make an appointment to have your vehicle repainted.
Sliding Caliper:
  • A support key or retaining clip holds the caliper to the caliper bridge. Remove the retaining bolt or screw holding the key and drive the key out with a suitable tool. Note the position of any springs or clips before you remove them. The retainers will simply lift off. Note the position of the retainers before you remove them. Remove the caliper.
  • Remove the caliper. Use a large C-clamp and push on the inboard pad to move the piston back into the caliper. Do it slow and steady. If you did not remove half the brake fluid, make an appointment to have your vehicle repainted.

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Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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