How to replace brake pads? Our Step-by-Step Guide (With Pictures)

If you know how to change brake pads , it will save you a lot of money.

When you step on your brake pedal, you start to hear a high-pitched squealing noise, that means that it’s time to replace your brake pads. So this sound helps a lot to protect you from the unsafe drive and to avoid an accident on the road.

Whenever you press on your brake pedal, brake pad lining gets worn out, because it is a friction material.

If you are a lover of high speed, or carrying a lot of stuff in your car, frequent downhill travel, that brings the brake pads to wear out quickly, there’s nothing left except metal-to-metal, ear-piercing contact between brake pads and rotors. It can be the cause of lower stopping power.

Brake pads can last between 20,000 and 40,000 miles. Again it depends on the way how you drive.

To change brake pads, you need some basic tools and supplies, mechanical knowledge and a few hours. Here are some tips on how to change them and how to recognize that they are worn out.

What you will need:

  1. Brake pads

  2. Brake fluid

  3. Brake cleaner

  4. Basic hand tools

  5. Wheel bearing grease

  6. Caliper grease

  7. Brake bleeder pump/tool

  8. Drip tray

  9. C-clamp or caliper spreader

  10. Bungee cord or 24-inch piece of wire.

1. Even after turning off your car, most modern braking systems maintain line pressure. So before changing your brake pads, even if your vehicle is turned off, depress the brake pedal 10 to 20 times before to start the process. This will release any residual pressure.

2. Release the lug nuts. Raise your vehicle on jack stands. Make sure that you support it on jack stands at the right points on the frame. Never recommended to support by a floor jack and never place the floor jack's pad under the oil pan or transmission pan.

3. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

4. After removing wheels, check for a brake fluid leakage, if there is any, contact your mechanic for advice.

5. Using brake cleaner, clean the brake assembly.

6. Remove the brake caliper fasteners without removing the caliper itself.

7. Some of the vehicle's brake pads are connected to the caliper using special retaining clips. If it is so, try to find their original location before removing the clips.

8. Remove the caliper and attach it to the vehicle using the wire or bungee cord so that it isn’t allowed to hang by the brake line.

9. Remove the outer pad.

10. With a spreading tool or a c-clamp, compress the caliper piston. You can place the c-clamp on the back of the caliper and on an old brake pad to recess the piston back to its seated position.

11. Remove the other pad.

12. Install the new retaining clips and apply the grease to the new clips to prevent squeaking.

13. After removing pads and compressing the caliper pistons, check the caliper for brake fluid leakage as well. If the leaks are on caliper and piston boot, then replace them. The problem with the calipers can cause to the uneven brake pad wear. When replacing the calipers don’t forget to bleed the brakes to empty any air from the lines.

14. Another step is to check your brake rotors. If you see any excessive grooves, scoring, cracks, bluing, or shiny spots, then it’s better to replace them as well, or maybe some professional technician can resurface them. But we recommend buying new ones because the price of brake rotors has come down significantly and it can cost a lot more if you are going to resurface them.

15. Repeat all these steps at the top when reinstalling the brake assembly and complete the brake pads and rotors replacement and double check your work.

The job is done!

Also read our article “ How Long Do Brake Pads Last ”.