DIY Changing Brake Pads

DIY Changing Brake Pads: Can It Be Done?

Changing the brake pads on a car is required from time to time in order to keep the car running efficiently and this is something that you can accomplish on your own with the right tools and the know-how. However, one issue for inexperienced drivers would be to actually determine when the pads need to be replaced.

Hearing an awkward sound when you brake definitely means that something needs to be changed, but this does not always mean it is the brake pads. For example, hearing a high-pitched squeal when braking usually means that the car requires new pads. However, a low-pitched grinding noise usually indicates that something else has worn down such as the rotor. While replacing the latter is a difficult task that should be done by a professional, the former is much easier to accomplish by following these steps.

  • Remove the wheels. Put the car on a jack, loosen the lug nuts and then remove the wheel in order to access the brake calipers. You should perform the entire procedure from start to finish on one wheel before moving on to another and you should always do one side first, then the other.
  • Disconnect the caliper. The brake caliper should be held in place by two bolts. Usually, it is enough to remove the lower one in order to remove the brake pads. You definitely want to make sure that the caliper remains connected to the hydraulic fuel line at all times. There is no reason to disconnect the caliper from the fuel hose during this procedure. If done right, you should be able to access the brake pads which are held in place by retaining clips.
  • Remove the brake pads. They should slide out without too much effort. Compared to the new brake pads, the old ones should be much thinner due to wear & tear. You can also remove the old retaining clips as the new pads should come with new clips.
  • Grease up the retaining clips. Most of the times, the new clips come with a small packet of grease which is used in order to prevent them from squeaking.
  • Slide in the new brake pads. This should be as easy as removing the old ones.
  • Push back the pistons. Cars usually have one or two pistons that push on the brake pads. These will need to be pushed back in order to make room for the thicker, new brake pads. This can be done using a C-clamp.
  • Put everything back in place. If done correctly, the caliper should easily slip over the new pads. Screw in the bolts again, put the wheel back and repeat for the other ones.