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Change your Brake Pads

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All car brake pads wear out eventually - read this guide to learn how to change yours.

Change Your Brake Pads

All modern cars have disc brakes on the front wheels, and a lot of models have discs at the rear as well. Disc brake pads gradually wear out. They have to be inspected at every service, and renewed when they have worn to a specified minimum.

Change Your Brake Pads

Checklist

You'll need:

New brake pads of the correct type

Safety glasses

Brake pad fitting kit (if applicable), New brake discs (if applicable)

A Car Jack, Copper Grease, Protective gloves, Spanner, and a G-Clamp

Warning:

Brake pads are part of the brake system of your car and as such are safety critical parts. For this reason, all work must be carried out with the utmost care, and by persons competent to do so. Incorrect work may lead to total brake failure. Wear protective gloves and eye safety glasses at all times.

Step 1 - Remove Your Wheel

Raise your car with a jack using your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended jacking points - see your vehicle handbook or Haynes manual. Ensure it is securely supported on a level surface. Place axle stands under the vehicle in addition to the jack for extra safety. Remove the wheels where you're replacing the brake pads (front or rear).

Step 2 - Remove the Guide Pin Bolt

Use one spanner to hold the guide pin, and unscrew and remove the guide pin bolt.

Step 3 - Remove the Brake Pads

Unbolt the calipers and swing them free, then remove the clips holding the brake pads in place and remove the brake pads from their mounting bracket.

Step 4 - Check the Brake Disc

Inspect the brake disc. If there's any scoring, you need to get that replaced too.

Step 5 - Tighten the Clamp

Take the top off the brake fluid reservoir to give the pressure you create in the system somewhere to escape. Keep a careful eye on the fluid level as you tighten the clamp - overflowing could be dangerous. See your vehicle handbook or Haynes Manual for more details.

Step 6 - Apply Grease

Apply a little copper grease to the edges and backs of the new brake pads. Avoid touching the friction linings.

Step 7 - Fit Brake Pads

Fit the new brake pads into the mounting bracket and push the calipers back into place so they can slip back over the new, thicker pads. A G-clamp, applied gently, is ideal for this. Then refit and secure the caliper.

Step 8 - Test Brake Pads

When you've done both sides, press the brake pedal a few times to bring the brake pads up to the disc, then check and top up the brake fluid level if necessary.

Top Tips

  • Always renew brake pads in complete sets (e.g. all front pads or all rear pads) to avoid uneven braking
  • Not sure what you're doing? Get advice from an expert - don't take chances with brakes!
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