How to Change Your Car Brake Pads
– Step 1: Choose your brake pads
– Step 2: Prepare the car
– Step 2: Remove the worn pads
– Step 3: Clean the pistons
– Step 4: Install new brake pads
– Step 5: Repressurize the system
Brake pads are part of the braking action on a car. Called “consumables”, they are changed regularly depending on the model, driving style and use.
To know if your brake pads need to be replaced, there are three possibilities:
– The wear indicator on the dashboard lights up to indicate wear. Most cars are equipped with one.
– A drop in brake fluid in the master cylinder can indicate brake pad wear. This can be indicated by a warning light (red exclamation mark in a circle with brackets around it).
– Otherwise, you can look directly at your brake pads to see if they are visually accessible or by removing them. A pad has a groove that serves as a wear indicator. If you don’t see them anymore or hardly see them, it means that your pads need to be changed.
Here is how to proceed to change the brake pads of your car.
1. Choose your brake pads
You have two choices when it comes to changing your brake pads:
– either you choose the so-called original parts sold by the brand itself in its dealer network;
– or you buy so-called adaptable parts made by specialized brands and also sold by dealers on the internet via commercial sites.
In any case, always buy your brake pads by referring to the serial number of your vehicle and its year of production. Sometimes, manufacturers make changes from one year to the next, and the systems may differ.
2. Prepare the car
– Make sure you have the proper equipment and set up in a flat, well-lit covered area, so you don’t get rained on.
– Place the car (front or rear) on jack stands using the jack.
– Remove the wheels from the same axle (front or rear).
– Locate if there is an electrical wire connecting to the calliper. This wire is connected to the wear indicator light on your dashboard. Disconnect the wire and check its path to put it back in the same way when reassembling.
3. Remove the worn pads
– Push the pistons with a flat screwdriver by leaning on the calliper and pushing the old pads. If the rear callipers are connected to the parking brake, use a piston presser to push the piston out.
– In all cases, check the direction of the pads during disassembly, this will facilitate reassembly.
– In the case of a fixed calliper, remove the pin and the springs holding the pads. Then remove the pads.
– For a floating calliper, unscrew the lower part of the calliper held by two screws, then tilt this part upwards. This releases the pads.
4. Clean the pistons
– Using a soft cloth, clean the pistons of the brake calliper.
– If they are dirty, apply a specific non-corrosive seal cleaner.
– Push the pistons back in using a piston plunger or a pair of pliers.
5. Install the new brake pads
– Lightly rub the pads with fine sandpaper to chamfer them.
– Position the new pads in their housing.
– Screw in the pins, screws and springs according to the callipers.
6. Repressurize the system
– Depress the brake pedal several times so that the fluid presses on the pistons, causing the pads to move closer to the disc.
– Check the brake fluid level in the jar under the engine hood. Top up with the appropriate fluid if necessary.
– Reassemble the wheels and remove the wheel spindles.
– For the first few kilometres, do not brake suddenly so as not to “freeze” the pads and give them time to break in (a few hundred kilometres). However, if you have to make an emergency stop, don’t hesitate to brake!
Materials needed to change car brake pads