How to Replace Car Brake Pads

Replace Car Brake Pads
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The ability to stop your vehicle safely when needed is crucial, and a properly functioning braking system can be a matter of life and death. A good brake system is essential for your safety, but it also improves your vehicle’s handling and makes driving more pleasant.

The brake pads are frequently replaced because they wear out until they can no longer generate enough friction through repeated braking.

How Do I Know if My Brake Pads Are Worn Out?

Many newer vehicles include sensors that can tell when it’s time to replace your brake pads, but a visual inspection is generally all that’s needed. Specific warnings that it’s time to get new brake pads are:

  • The sound of metal ripping, screeching, or grating when you apply the brakes.
  • Upon visual inspection, there should be around half a centimeter of the pad; indication lines are typically present to help you assess the maximum wear.
  • The dashboard light indicates a certain condition.
  • A metallic grinding or whirring sound while driving normally; could be a sign of worn pads or damaged disk surfaces, especially if the sounds change when braking.

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

It is commonly accepted that brake pads can be used for another 30,000-50,000 kilometers. In reality, how long brake pads last will depend on the vehicle and the driver.

For instance, if you do most of your driving in overcrowded urban areas or during rush hour, you will use your brakes far more frequently than someone who mostly travels in rural areas or on highways. Some drivers have a habit of “riding the brake” or repeatedly pressing and depressing the brake pedal, which shortens the life of the brake pads.

Replacing Brake Pad Safety

Working on a car can be hazardous and filthy, but with the right equipment, you can hopefully avoid serious injuries and maintain a clean appearance.

  • Mechanic gloves
  • Eye protection
  • An unimportant long-sleeved shirt (things will get messy).

Can a Clean Purge Solenoid Valve Help Improve Car Brake Performance?

A cleaning purge solenoid valve can certainly improve car brake performance. This valve helps regulate the flow of fuel vapor, preventing it from entering the braking system and causing issues. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the purge solenoid valve can ensure optimal brake performance and overall vehicle safety.

Step-By-Step Guide

Brake pads should be changed in pairs at once, such as both the front and rear wheels. The brake pads should be changed as follows.

Getting Ready

When you stop the car on a flat area, apply the brakes. Now, insert a piece of wood in front of and behind one of the rear tires. If replacing the back pads, you should do the same for the front tire.

This prevents the car from moving while the pads are being changed. Don’t touch the brake pads until they’ve cooled down; doing so could cause an accident.

Raise the Vehicle and Remove the Wheel

While the wheel is still on the ground, loosen the lug nuts using a breaker bar and socket. From a safe location, use a hydraulic jack to lift the car. Safely lower the automobile onto the jack stands you’ve placed under the right spots. Take the wheel off, and unscrew the lug nuts.

Remove the Old Pads and Rotor

Make sure there isn’t any stomping or other uneven wear on the old pads. If your brake pads are wearing unevenly, it could be because of a lack of lubrication, worn pads or brake hardware, or a stuck cylinder. There will be a checklist in the brake pad storage box to reference when looking for signs of uneven wear.

Take the rotor out of the hub once the pads have been removed. To get to the rotor on many vehicles, you’ll first need to take off the bracket that holds the calipers. The brake caliper is attached to the spindle assembly via a mounting bracket. Taking apart the brake caliper and bracket is the first step in removing the rotor. The rotor can then be removed and serviced.

Tighten the Clamp

For safety, remove the cap from the brake fluid pump to allow the built-up pressure to escape. As you tighten the clamp, keep an eye on the fluid level to avoid accidents. For more information, refer to the owner’s manual or Haynes Guide.

Apply Grease

Some copper grease should be applied to the new brake pads’ edges and backs. Keep your fingers away from the friction linings.

Compressing the Brake Piston

Since the caliper automatically readjusts as the brake pads are worn, you can count on having effective braking throughout the pads’ lifespan. Inside the caliper is a circular piston. This is what applies pressure to the brake pads from behind the vehicle. The problem is that the piston has shifted to accommodate your worn brake pads.

It’s impossible to park a Cadillac in New York City. You can achieve your goal but expect significant casualties. You can save your brand-new brake pads by returning the piston to its original position.

Put the screwed end of the c-clamp against the piston. Clamp the caliper assembly’s rear with the other end of the clamp. Tighten the clamp until the piston is quite far in to install new pads on the caliper.

Fit Brake Pads

Set the calipers back into position and onto the mounting bracket for the new brake pads. The calipers will then slip back over the thicker brake pads. The use of a gentle G-clamp is recommended. The caliper must be reinstalled and fastened.

Test Them Out

After installing new pads, you should test their contact with the disc by pressing down on the pedal several times. You may also need to top off the brake fluid.

Final Thoughts

Changing the brake pads on your automobile is a must if you want to keep it driving safely and handling well. A metallic squealing or grinding noise when braking, a visual check indicating less than half a centimeter of pad left, and an indicator light on the dashboard are all signs that your brake pads need replacing.

The vehicle is parked on a flat surface, the wheel is removed, worn pads and rotor are inspected and disposed of, the clamp is tightened, lubricant is applied, the brake piston is compressed, new pads are installed, and the wheel and brakes are reassembled.

Chris Turner

Written By

With a lifelong passion for automobiles, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge from his years as a mechanic and a car reviewer. He’s dedicated to providing in-depth, practical advice to car enthusiasts and novices alike.

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