Auto PartsTech Tips

Brake pad replacement

Brake PadsSo you’re on the road, and you sow down to a stop. As you’re on the brakes, you notice a scraping sound that wasn’t there before. That’s most likely the first indication that your brake pads are worn out, and that it’s time to change them. This isn’t too difficult a job for the novice to medium level home mechanic, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First off, that noise you heard (or the brake pad wear indicator light on your dashboard, if your car is so equipped) is not a friendly reminder to be taken lightly. Either of these conditions indicates a problem you’ll want to remedy as soon as you possibly can. The first thing you’re going to want to do is obtain parts. Thankfully, there is a wide assortment of aftermarket brake parts options for most cars these days, which helps keep the cost down.

New brake pads are an absolute must. But, you may also want to change your rotors. Newer rotors often don’t have enough thickness to be machined for repeated use. But the same rules are now applying to rotor pricing. More options are keeping the cost down. The other thing to keep on hand for the job is brake parts cleaner. Brakes generate a lot of dangerous dust and particles, so you’ll want to wet things down with brake parts cleaner once you have the wheel off.

The first thing you’ll need to do is raise the car (front or rear, depending on which brakes need to be serviced). It’s unlikely that you’ll be working on both the front and the rear. Note that brakes are done front or rear, and ALWAYS on both the driver and passenger side of your car. Once the car is raised and supported properly on jack stands, and the wheels are off, take a moment to clean things off as described earlier. Next, you’ll most likely be removing the caliper lock pin, which will allow the caliper to pivot off its bracket so you can remove the pads. If you’re replacing rotors also, you’ll need to remove the caliper bracket, too.

Before putting everything back together, take note of the hydraulic parts. If you notice a leaky line, hose, or caliper, get those parts too and replace them. A hydraulic failure can leave you on the road with no stopping power at all. If everything looks OK there, press the caliper piston back into its bore, lubricate your caliper slide pins, and reassemble everything, paying attention to the manufacturer’s recommended torque spe

cifications. Once you’re done, take the car out for a spin and make sure to hit the brakes hard a few times. This is the last step, and allows the new pads to bed in. From there, just drive normally and enjoy your new stopping power.

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