Changing brake pads is an essential maintenance task for every car owner, but what if you want to take this task on your own? While it may seem intimidating at first, with the right tools, knowledge, and a little patience, you can confidently replace your brake pads at home. Here's a step by step "tutorial" on how to change a brake pad at home with minimal frustrations and problems:
Before We Start to Gather These Supplies:
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Brake grease
- New brake pads
- Potentially a brake caliper tool
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace
Ensure you have a safe and well-lit area to work on your vehicle. Park on a level surface, engage the parking brake, and place wheel chocks behind the rear tires for added security.
Step 2: Loosen the Lug Nuts
Using a lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel where you'll be changing the brake pads. It's important to loosen them before lifting the vehicle off the ground to avoid any complications.
Step 3: Lift the Vehicle and Secure it with Jack Stands
Using a jack, lift the vehicle off the ground, following the instructions provided in your car's manual. Once lifted, place the jack stands beneath the vehicle for added stability and safety. Double-check that the stands are securely positioned before continuing.
Step 4: Remove the Wheel
Now that the vehicle is properly secured, remove the lug nuts and carefully take off the wheel.
Step 5: Remove the Brake Caliper and Old Brake Pads
Locate the brake caliper, which is typically held in place by bolts or slide pins. Remove the bolts/pins and gently pry the caliper off the rotor. Be mindful not to damage the brake line. Once the caliper is removed, carefully extract the old brake pads from their housing.
Step 6: Install the New Brake Pads
Apply a thin layer of brake grease to the back of the new brake pads - not the front! This helps reduce noise and promotes smoother operation. Insert the new brake pads into the caliper housing, ensuring they align correctly with the rotor.
Step 7: Reset the Brake Caliper Piston
Using a C-clamp, reset the brake caliper piston by placing the clamp across the caliper body and the inner brake pad. Slowly tighten the clamp until the piston is fully compressed. This step is crucial to accommodate the increased thickness of the new brake pads.
Step 8: Reattach the Brake Caliper and Wheel
Carefully position the brake caliper back onto the rotor and secure it with bolts or slide pins. Ensure the caliper is aligned properly and tighten the bolts/pins to the manufacturer's specifications. Next, place the wheel back onto the hub and hand-tighten the lug nuts.
Step 9: Lower the Vehicle and Test the Brakes
Using the jack, lower the vehicle to the ground and remove the jack stands. Once the vehicle is on the ground, use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the recommended torque specifications. Finally, start the engine, pump the brakes a few times to restore pressure, and test the brakes by gradually applying pressure while driving at low speed.
If you are having any issues with this DIY project, make sure to visit us at inMOTION Auto Care!