How to Change Brake Pads
Your car is one of the most expensive items you have bought in your life. But buying it is not enough. You need to maintain it too, and this can consume a lot of your hard earned money. There are certain jobs that you cannot do on your own and you have to pay for it to get it done by a professional. But you can save a good amount of money by doing certain jobs yourself, such as changing the brake pads of your car. The professional car garage will ask for a hefty amount for this simple job, and you can save it by doing it on your own. Changing the brake pads sounds difficult, but it is not. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out how to change brake pads yourself.
Gather the required tools. Most of the tools that you require for changing your brake pads are easily available at home. You may need to buy some of these tools, but you can use them forever and take it as an investment rather than as a spending. The tools required are the following:
- Owner’s manual
- Jack stands
- Floor jack
- Brake tool
- Replacement rotors
- Replacement brake pads
- Brake grease
- Socket wrench and tire iron
Before you start, make sure that they actually need changing. Brake pads work by tightening around the brake disc, producing the friction needed to make the wheels stop turning. These pads are protected by a coating and a metal support that loses effectiveness every time you brake. When they are too worn, they don't exert enough pressure on the brake disc and the car can't brake as effectively, a very dangerous situation to be in when driving.
Today, most cars have warning lights to let you know about the condition of your brake pads and brake fluid level. If, however, your car is a bit older, you will have to remove a wheel and check the thickness of the pads yourself. If they really are worn, it's time to change them.
Lift your car. Remove your car’s tires to reach your brake pads. Loosen your lug nuts using a tire iron, and then jack up the car. Locate the jack point in your car and use a floor jack to lift it up. Place jack stands beneath your car, and lower down your car to safely rest it on them. Then, you can remove the floor jack. Now, you can unscrew the lug nuts completely and remove the tires.
Remove the old brake pads and the caliper assembly. Once you have removed the tires, you will be able to see the brake caliper assembly and the rotor. Use a socket wrench to remove the bolts located on the back of your caliper assembly. Now you can slide off the caliper assembly from your rotor, letting it hang safely from the well of your wheel. After doing this, remove brake pads from your rotor using a popping or sliding motion. Make sure that you do not damage the clips or the rotor during the process. While removing the brake pads, notice their orientation so that you can re-insert them later correctly.
Replace your brake pads and the brake caliper assembly. Now that you have removed the old brake pads, it’s time to insert the new ones. First of all, apply brake grease on the back of the new brake pads so that annoying squeak sound does not come when the caliper piston presses against them. After that, insert them at the right place of the old pads. If you are changing the brake pads for the first time, it is better to remove and replace one pad at a time. Once you have re-inserted the brake pads, you will have to replace your brake caliber assembly as well using your brake tool. Now, insert the bolts and use a socket wrench to tighten them.
Replace the tires and finish. If you are satisfied with your new brake pads, fix your tires back on the rotor and tighten the lug nuts with your hands. Place the jack beneath your car and lift the car off the jack stands. Now, remove the jack stands and slowly lower down the car on the ground. Now, use the tire iron to tighten the lug nuts properly. A torque wrench can be helpful in deciding whether you have tightened them appropriately or not. Once you have finished doing everything, drive your car down the block to make sure that everything is done properly. Drive at a low speed to test your brake pads, and ensure that there is no scraping or squeaking sound.
To make the most of changing the pads, check the brake fluid level, and to check the brakes before driving, step on the brake pedal a few times while the car is still parked, until you feel the brakes get hard, so that the pistons are set in the correct position.
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