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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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Fixed Caliper:
  • Remove the caliper mounting bolts only if the pads won't come out the back of the caliper.
  • Push back the piston before removing the old pads. If you did not remove half the brake fluid, make an appointment to have your vehicle repainted.

Check the rotor for scores, rusting or pitting. It is recommended that the rotors be resurfaced to remove any imperfections and true up the braking surface to prevent brake pulsations.

  • Remove the pads from the calipers
Fixed Caliper:
  • Remove any pins or retainers (push pads back and pull them out).
Sliding Caliper:
  • Separate the pads from the caliper. The inner pad must be clipped to the piston. The outer pad may be pinned, clipped or pressed tightly on the caliper. Some pads may remain on the adapter or anchor when the caliper is removed.

Clean the caliper mounting surfaces with a wire brush and remove all the rust and dirt. The sliding surfaces must be as clean as possible for proper brake operation. Wet down the area with water to prevent dust. Allow parts to dry.

Step Two:

  • Install the new brake pads in the reverse order of removal. Make sure any shims, clips and anti-rattle springs are in place. Some brake pads have ears that need to be crimped to the caliper when installed. You can use a large pair of Channel locks or a hammer to crimp the ears. If they can move, they will squeal. You can apply a high temperature, copper based grease to the back of the pads to help prevent squealing and transfer heat from the pads. Do not get any grease on the pad material itself.
  • Replace the caliper on its mount and reinstall the guide pins, retainers or clips that you have removed. Use some of the high temperature, copper based grease to lubricate sliding surfaces. Some retaining keys need to be tapped into place with a hammer.
  • Tighten all bolts being careful not to over tighten. Never use standard "hardware store" bolts. If you have to replace hardware, get the proper parts from the auto parts store. Special high-tensile hardware are used exclusively in this application.
  • Fill the master cylinder with new brake fluid from a sealed container and bleed the brakes if required.

Typical Floating Caliper
Typical Sliding Caliper
Braking-Related Symptoms

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

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