Changing Brake Pads: What You Need to Know

Changing Brake Pads

Sharing is caring!

Do your brakes feel soft or sound odd? Maybe it’s time for new brake pads1. We’ll look at how to tell when it’s time and how to do it yourself. This way, you can make sure your brakes work well.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Changing your car’s brake pads is very important. This task should never be ignored. If your brake pads are old, they can make your car take longer to stop. This is risky on the road2. Keeping your brakes in top shape through regular replacements helps you drive safely. It also makes the parts of your brakes last longer. Doing this job yourself saves money on mechanic fees. It’s a good skill for car owners who like to do things on their own2.

Importance of Regular Brake Pad Replacement

It’s vital to take care of your brake pads to keep your car safe. If your pads are worn, your car might not stop as quickly. This makes driving less safe3. Checking your brake pads often and changing them when needed keeps your brakes working well. Your car will stop quickly when you hit the brakes, which is crucial for safety3.

Benefits of DIY Brake Pad Changing

Changing brake pads yourself is both smart and fun. It saves you money on repairs. Also, it means you pick the best parts for your car. Doing the job right improves your brakes and makes them last longer2.

Tools and Materials Needed

Changing brake pads is easy if you love working on cars. You’ll need a few tools to do the job right4. Grab a jack and stands to lift your car safely. You also need a lug wrench and the right sockets in a tool set. Don’t forget a C-clamp or caliper tool, plus new brake pads and maybe brake fluid5.

Car tools now use metric sizes more often. Look for Torx sockets from 0.031″ to close to an inch on new cars4. SAE wrench sizes start at 1/4″ and go to 7/8″ or 1″. Metric wrenches go from 7mm to 22mm. You’ll use different screwdrivers too, like flat, Phillips, and Robertson, for the job4.

A jack lifts the car so you can change the brake pads4. Use a caliper spreader tool to make room, especially on rear brakes4. A torque wrench is good to make sure all bolts are tight right. Don’t forget to wear nitrile gloves to protect your hands4.

Having the right tools and materials is key for changing your brake pads. With the correct items on hand, you’re all set to do this task. This keeps your car’s brakes working well5.

Step-by-Step Guide

Changing brake pads is key for your car’s safety and performance. It might seem hard, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s doable. This guide helps you do it yourself6.

Removing the Wheel

First, loosen the lug nuts on a front wheel. Then, jack up your car and make sure it’s stable on jack stands. With the wheel off, you can get to the brake parts5.

Checking Brake Fluid Level

Now, check the brake fluid in the master cylinder. Add more if needed to keep the system full7.

Removing Caliper Bolts and Brake Pads

After that, take out the caliper bolts and remove the caliper. You can then take out the old brake pads. If any clips or hardware are worn out, be ready to replace them75.

About 60% of drivers choose to swap brake pads on their own using guides like this6. The market for brake pads is huge, valued at $5.2 billion worldwide. It’s expected to grow by 4.5% each year. You only need a moderate skill level to change them, which saves you time and money65.

Always check your car’s manual for the right steps and safety tips. This is important for any work you do on your car567.

Replacing Retaining Clips and Hardware

When you change brake pads, don’t forget about the clips and hardware. They’re just as important as the pads. They help your brakes work well and last longer8.

Experts say you should put in new clips and hardware each time you get new pads. If you use old ones, you might have problems like weird brake sounds or pads wearing out too soon9.

Tests found that brake clips often don’t fit right after 35,000 to 45,000 miles9. When they’re not correct, brakes might not work as they should. This can make driving less safe9.

It’s smart to change the clips and hardware when you swap your brake pads. This little extra can help your pads last longer. It also cuts the chance of having to replace pads again soon because of problems10.

Checking and changing all the brake hardware is key for good brake operation. It makes your brakes dependable for many miles. This quick move is a big part of caring for your car the right way8.

Retracting the Caliper Piston

To fit new, thicker brake pads, you have to pull back the caliper piston. It’s an essential step for a good brake pad swap11.

You can use a C-clamp or a special tool for this. Carefully push the piston back. Watch the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. Pushing the piston means the fluid level might rise. If it does, suck out the extra fluid to keep the level right11.

Monitoring Brake Fluid Level

Don’t leave the brake fluid reservoir without its cap. It shouldn’t be open too long. Debris or water could get in and cause trouble for the brakes11. Brake fluid pulls in water from the air. This can harm your brake system11.

After fitting the new brake pads, test the brakes. Pump the pedal and go for a short drive. Check if everything works well11.

Don’t forget to put the wheel back on, tighten the nuts, and lower the car. Then, make sure the brakes are all set before you finish11.

Installing New Brake Pads

First, retract the caliper piston and make sure the hardware is set. Then, put a bit of brake lubricant on the metal-to-metal areas. Be careful and avoid the friction surfaces7. Next, fit the new pads into the caliper. Check they’re the right way up and in the correct position7.

Replacing brake pads correctly is key for safety. Also, keep an eye on the brake fluid level. Make sure there are no issues as you work7. After fitting the pads, pump the brakes 15 to 20 times. This ensures they sit right and work well7.

Next, test the new pads by braking gradually from 5 mph to 40 mph7. This checks if they’re working right7. It’s smart to refill the brake fluid if needed, and then bleed the system7.

Resurfacing or changing the rotors is vital during pad replacement7. It gives the new pads a good surface to hold onto. This prevents problems like warping or cracks7. These steps help keep your brake system healthy12.

brake pad installation

Brake pad change intervals vary. It depends on how you drive and the vehicle5. Watch for cues like brake noises. If you hear them, get the pads checked and changed to avoid bigger issues5. Doing this work yourself saves time and money on repair shop fees5.

Using the right steps, tools, and materials, you can install new pads well7. It saves money and lets you understand your car better5. This project is a good way to care for your vehicle5.

Changing Brake Pads

After you put in new brake pads, it’s important to also replace the caliper assembly. Start by using the caliper bolts to connect it to the brake mounting bracket13. Make sure everything is tight and the caliper is straight. Then, you can put the wheel back on and lower your car.

How often you change brake pads depends on your car type and how you drive5. If you hear squealing or grinding sounds when you brake, it’s a sign to check the pads5. If you’re handy, you might be able to change them yourself and save some money on repair costs5.

When changing brake pads, you’ll need tools like a jack, jack stands, a lug wrench, and a C-clamp or caliper spreader. A basic tool set is also necessary5. Some cars need special bits to remove the caliper bolts5. Always look at the manual to pick the right brake fluid5.

To change brake pads, start by taking off the tire and the slider bolts. Then, raise the caliper and switch the old pads and clips for new ones. Watch the brake fluid level, make sure the caliper is okay, and then put the wheel back on5. It’s easier if you do this one wheel at a time5.

Watch out for brake fluid overflowing when you close the pistons back. Take out any extra fluid you see5. Add brake lubricant where the pads touch the abutment to stop squealing5. Be careful not to get grease on the new pads or the rotors5. Changing the brake pads could take a couple of hours5.

You should change your brake pads every 25,000 to 75,000 miles. Usually, you replace the brake pads and rotors together1. Signs that your brake pads are wearing out are noises, pulling when braking, or a bouncing pedal1.

To do a good DIY job on your brake pads, follow these steps. Safety is always the most important thing. Check your car’s manual for steps that fit your model5131.

Adjusting the Caliper Assembly

After putting in new brake pads, it’s vital to adjust the caliper assembly correctly. This ensures your brakes work well and your pads last longer14.

Begin by making the caliper sit straight over the rotor. Doing this stops the pads from wearing out unevenly. It also makes sure your brakes work smoothly everywhere15. Then, tighten all bolts. This holds the caliper steady and stops it from moving when you brake15.

Aligning and Securing the Caliper

Check that the holes for the brake hose are right when aligning the caliper14. This stops leaks and keeps everything secure. Also, use some anti-seizing fluid on the bolts for easier adjustments later14.

After aligning, use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts just right15. This prevents the caliper from getting loose. A loose caliper can wear pads unevenly or even cause brakes to fail.

Spending time on adjusting and securing the caliper is key when you change brake pads. Making sure the caliper is in the right place and tight helps keep your brake system working well and safe5.

Refitting the Wheel

The last step in changing your brake pads is putting the wheel back on. Place it on your vehicle carefully and tighten the lug nuts by hand16. Then, bring your car to the ground and use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts properly16. Do the same for the other front wheel, and you’re done with your brake pad swap.

Getting the wheel back on right is important for your safety and your car’s brakes17. Make sure the lug nuts are tightened just as they should be. This will stop the wheel from getting loose while you drive, which would be dangerous16. Knowing your wheels are safe will make you feel good about doing this project yourself.

wheel reinstallation

Don’t forget, changing brake pads often is key to keeping your brakes working well and safe1. By doing this project, you’ve made your car safer and ready for lots of good drives. Feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Signs You Need New Brake Pads

Your car’s brake pads are key for road safety. With time, they wear out and need changing. It’s vital to spot the signs early. Doing so keeps your car working well and everyone safe18.

Noisy Braking

If you hear odd sounds when braking, it’s likely your pads. Listen for squeaks, squalls, or grinding. These noises mean your brake pads are almost too worn out. You’re close to the metal part that grips the brake rotor19.

Poor Braking Performance

Are you not stopping as quickly as usual? Does the brake pedal feel soft? This could point to worn brake pads. Waiting to replace them can make stopping dangerous. It’s a risk for you and those around you20.

Vibration Under Braking

Do you feel a shake when you brake? This can show your pads are wearing unevenly. As they touch the brake rotor unevenly, you feel a vibration. It’s a sign to check your brake pads19.

Thin Brake Pads

An easy check is looking at your brake pads. If they’re less than a quarter inch thick, they’re too thin. Replace them at this point20.

Brake Warning Light

If your car has a brake warning light, take it seriously. It lights up when pads are worn. It’s a clear sign you should get your brakes looked at and maybe changed20.

Being alert to brake pad signs is crucial. Regular checks and quick replacements keep your vehicle safe. Your brakes need to work perfectly to stop right when you need them182019.


Swapping out your brake pads is key for safe driving. It’s an important car care job. With the right steps and tools, changing pads yourself is doable21.

Check your brake pads often. Change them when they’re worn to keep your car in top shape. Typically, it’s good to switch them every 50,000 miles. But, this can change because of how you drive and the type of car you have21. For the best safety, swap them at 30,000 miles22.

Knowing how to care for your brakes means safer, smoother driving. Being ahead with your brake pad changes will make your brakes last longer. This way, your car will always stop when you need it to.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.