This Article is About
metric sockets
lug nuts
first timers
different designs
How To Change Your Front Brake Pads And Rotors
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How to Change Your Front Brake Pads And Rotors

You hit your brake pad and all of a sudden you have this terrible shake that goes away when you let off the brake. This is a sign that your brake rotors are warped and need replacing. Or, worse yet, you hear this grinding sound when you apply the brakes. This article will cover how to change your front brake pads and rotors.

What will I need?

This job is not for the beginner. I highly recommend for first timers to have an experienced partner there to guide you through the job.

Here is a general list of what you will need.

  • Jack
  • Jack stand
  • Wheel blocks
  • Set of 3/8 drive metricsockets and ratchet
  • Set of 1/2 drive metric sockets and ratchet
  • Can of brake clean
  • Can of anti seize lubricant
  • Can of slider grease
  • C Clamp 10 inch minimum
  • Pry bar
  • 20 Ounce hammer
  • Tire lug wrench
  • Wire brush

This list may need to be modified depending on what type of vehicle you own. Some bolts are Allen head, torx head etc...

How to I change them?

First we will loosen all the lug nuts on one front wheel. We will do this one side at a time.

Next jack up the vehicle on the jack point on the frame behind the wheel, and block the rear wheel on the opposite side of the wheel you are working on. Place the jack stand under the car in a secure spot and lower the vehicle onto the jack stand. leave the jack in its place with just a touch of pressure against the car frame.

Remove the lug nuts and the tire.

Next you need to locate the bolts that hold on the brake rotor. Different models will have different designs. Most vehicles have two bolts. Once you have found these bolts remove them, take your prey bar and remove the caliper. Inspect the brake hose and make sure it is in good condition, if not you will need to replace it. This is best done now but you may have to wait until another time to do this job, depending on available info on how to do it and parts availability. Hose should be clean with no cracks in it.

Next you want to remove the brake rotor. Some vehicles will require you to remove the caliper mount. This is usually held on by two bolts behind the wheel. Once you have the mount removed, if required, take your hammer and firmly hit the rotor repeatedly until it comes loose. Make sure you do not hit the lug nut studs.

You are now ready to install the new parts, but first I recommend cleaning all the mating surfaces of the brake pads.

remove the new brake rotor and read any inserts that might be packed with the new rotor. Some require you to clean them with soap and water, others with brake clean.

After cleaning slide the rotor in place and install the caliper mount if applicable.

before you install the new brake pads you will need to take your c clamp and compress the caliper. Using one of the old brake pads over the rotor, turn the c clamp until the caliper is fully compressed.

Now install your new brake pads, making sure to install any anti rattle clips that may be included.Use your brake grease on all mating surfaces between the pads and pad mounts. Note, keep the braking surface of the new pads clean and dry.

Slide the caliper over the new pads and install the bolts.

Install the wheel back on the car, using your anti seize, apply to lug nut threads. Install lug nuts and snug them up, we will finish tightening these after we jack down the car.

Lift the car off the jack stand, remove the stand, and lower the car.

Tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can in a cross pattern , remove the wheel blocks, and move them to the other rear wheel.

Are we done yet?

As soon as we repeat this process on the other front wheel.

Make sure when you are finished to get in the car and depress the brake pedal until it is firm. It may go to the floor a couple of times, this is normal.

You now have installed a new set of brake pads and rotors.

Again, it is always easier to do this the first time with someone experienced beside you.

Feel free to share this article and leave any questions or comments below.

Happy driving!


Street Talk

Good article and info Shawn

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Kevin

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Another good one, but one I would not recommend for the inexperienced, stuff this one up and you could be in trouble at the next robot.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yes you could.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

thanks for an informative article. I leave it to the pros.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Quite a few people do. I have found John that a person who is not mechanically inclined needs to be armed with all the information they can get to avoid getting talked into work they do not need, and that is the number one complaint with repair shops. Just reading the article makes one aware of the work involved. Always ask for your old parts.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I just search Google for free clip art. Most of them need to be re sized in my paint program, which is real easy. Another how to article? :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Shawn, Aha! Good idea. Yes - another how to article! Please. blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yikes! Thanks, Sean -- I liked the detailing of a car way better! This one was better left a mystery... or as a project for more than one person. At least this one!! How do you get such great pictures? I meant to ask on that cute red car picture in your, "How to Detail A Car?" article. blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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