1. How To Change Brake Pads On A Car

    Brake pads have their own unique and unmistakeable way of saying they need to be replaced.  As they wear down, a metal tab makes contact with the brake rotors every time you stop, and squeals loudly.  If you ignore this squeal, the pads continue wearing down, the squeal gets much louder, and the brake pads can damage or destroy your rotors.  Replacing brake pads is a simple task, and this article will show you just how to do it.


    Things You Need:

    • Brake pad kit
    • Anti-seize lubricant
    • A jack
    • Two heavy wooden blocks or bricks
    • Two jack stands
    • Brake fluid
    • Lug wrench
    • Small selection of wrenches and sockets with the appropriate socket wrench (inches for American cars, metric for Japanese).  You may also need an extension for the socket wrench.
    • Flathead screwdriver.

    To Replace Brake Pads:

    Step 1:  Block the rear tires and set the parking brake firmly.

    Step 2: With  the lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts just enough to break them free.

    Step 3:  Jack up the car on one side, using the flat spots on frame immediately behind the front wheels.

    Step 4:  Place a jackstand under the end of the axle.  Lower the car onto the jackstand.  Repeat on the other side of car.  Remove both sets of lugnuts and tires.

    Step 5:  Look at the rotors- those large, round metallic objects behind the wheels.  Can you see your reflection in the surface of the rotor?  If you cannot, then they need servicing or replacing.  Take rotors to a mechanic before proceeding.  A mechanic can service them by turning them, which simply means shaving a small amount of metal off the surface of the rotors.  If they are too worn down, however, they will need to be replaced.  A mechanic can tell you which you need to do.

    Step 6:  The caliper is that large thing sitting on the rotor that holds the brake pads.  On many vehicles, removing the lower bolt lets it move easily off the rotor to where you can work on it.  Use the appropriate sized socket or wrench to loosen caliper.

    Step 7:  The piston, that round thing in the caliper, must return to its “open” position when installing new pads.  It has closed some to compensate for the wear of the brake pads that causes them to become thinner.   The piston should move easily with a flathead screwdriver, but if not, a C clamp works well.

    Step 8:  Remove the old brake pads from the caliper.   Sparingly grease the back sides of new brake pads to prevent squealing. NEVER grease the front sides!  Put the new pads in the caliper. 

    Step 9:  Reverse steps to put everything back together, and put tire back on.

    Step 10:  Repeat for the other side of the vehicle.  Check brake fluid level in the master cylinder.  Test your brakes.  Drive slowly in an area that is not crowded.  Drive about ten miles per hour, apply the brakes.  If they work fine, drive slightly faster, and try the brakes again.  Try this several times to be sure your brakes work as they should.

    Now, you can drive your car safely once again.  And, the next time you hear that tell-tale squeal coming from your brakes, you will know just how to fix the problem.


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