Silencing that ear-piercing squeal every time you step on your brakes starts here, with learning how to replace brake pads (and rotor). Before you pay a mechanic, consider this easy at-home remedy. 

It may save you time and a wallet-load of costs as well. From the weekend warrior to the frugal family driver – this guide holds the key to a smoother, quieter journey every time you get behind the wheel. 

Rest assured; you don’t require a mechanic’s expertise; armed with dedication, patience, and the right tools, you’re just a read away from achieving vehicle maintenance autonomy.

Tools Needed To Change Brakes

  • ⅜” Ratchet
  • Small Hammer
  • Pliers
  • 12 mm Socket
  • 15 mm Socket
  • Caliper Tool

How To Replace Brake Pads (And Rotor)

Change The Front Brake Pads and Rotors
Change the lousy ones. Source: arcpublishing

Change The Front Brake Pads and Rotors

  • Begin by removing the brake caliper from its position. Next, slide out the existing brake pads carefully. 
  • Proceed to detach the caliper bracket from the spindle. However, be aware that removing the retainer may require some effort, so consider using needle nose pliers or a pry bar if necessary. 
  • If the rotor is stuck in place, gently tap it with a hammer to loosen it before removal.
  • Once removed, introduce your new rotor into its designated spot and take note of its labeling for correct installation – there is a specific right and left side orientation. 
  • Before greasing them, clean and degrease the slides using brake cleaner.
  • Apply fresh grease generously onto these slides for proper lubrication. 
  • Reinstall your caliper bracket securely back into position with bolts treated with a thread locker for added stability.
  • Insert your new set of brake pads into their appropriate slots accordingly. 
  • Take care when applying grease to prevent any contact with the friction surface on the backing plate of these new pads – this helps minimize potential noise issues while in use.
  • Return both parts of your caliper assembly into place before securing them firmly with bolts properly reinserted within their designated spots on each side of said assembly.
Insert your new set of brake pads into their appropriate slots accordingly. 
Locate the brake pads. Source: repairsmith

Replacing Your Rear Pads and Rotors

  • Begin by loosening the bolts that secure the caliper in place. 
  • Gently lift the caliper off its mounting bracket, ensuring you have disengaged the emergency brake if working on a rear caliper. 
  • Proceed to remove the bolts holding the caliper bracket and slide off the bracket. 
  • Take out the old rotor and replace it with a new one, correctly positioning it according to its designated side (right or left). 
  • Reattach and securely tighten the caliper bracket using the appropriate tools. 
  • Adopt a caliper tool to screw in and adequately align the piston so that its notches are facing vertically up and down. 
  • Apply a layer of grease onto both sides of each new brake pad before inserting them into their corresponding slots within the bracket assembly. Slide

How To Bed In New Your New Brakes

How To Bed In New Your New Brakes
Follow the right steps of bed-in schedule. Source:

Once you have installed your brake pads, try to bed them in properly. It ensures that the friction material on the brake rotor is evenly distributed from the brake pads. The ultimate result is a smoother and quieter braking experience and higher braking efficiency.

Although bedding in your brake pads may sound complicated, it is actually quite simple. It involves repeatedly heating and cooling the brakes quickly to establish optimal performance.

  • When choosing a location for this process, find an ideal driving destination with minimal traffic interference. An empty parking lot during non-business hours would be a far-out choice.
  • To begin bedding in your new brake pads, gradually increase your speed up to 35 mph before gently reducing it back to approximately 5 mph. Repeat this braking action around 6-8 times.
  • Level up to 55 mph before decelerating again close to about 5 mph while making a firm stop. Repeat this step another 6-8 times.
  • Drive for several miles while lightly tapping on your brakes intermittently so that they cool off uniformly throughout their surface area.

These simple steps will ensure you properly bed in your new brake pads and maximize their performance for safe and efficient braking.

How Long Does It Take To Change Brake Pads?

The replacement process may take roughly 30 minutes to an hour. This is regular upkeep in that the technician removes the tires, replaces the worn brake pads, and then reattaches the tires after changing the new brake pads. 

Depending on the braking system, your mechanic might suggest switching to ceramic brake pads. While ceramic pads are commonly used in high-performance vehicles, they also minimize damage to the rotor. 

By switching to ceramic pads, you can avoid costly rotor repairs if it appears worn out.


Do You Have To Bleed Brakes After Changing Pads?

The necessity of bleeding brakes when replacing brake pads relies on the method used to change the pads. Bleeding the brakes is not required during a brake pad replacement unless the brake fluid comes into contact with air.

Suppose you replace the brake pads without opening either the brake line or reservoir for the brake fluid. In that case, there is no opportunity for air to enter these components, therefore eliminating the need to bleed the brakes.

However, if additional work were performed on the brakes that involved opening either the brake line or reservoir for the fluid, bleeding would be necessary when changing your pads.

The decision to bleed brakes while changing pads hinges solely on whether you have accessed and exposed your brake line or reservoir. The exposure of your brake fluid to air justifies needing to bleed your brakes.

How Many Brake Pads Does A Car Have?

The quantity of brake rotors per wheel is one. Additionally, how many brake pads per wheel? Long story short: Each wheel has two brake pads, namely the inner and outer ones. 

How Many Brake Pads Does A Car Have?
Brake pads and rotors. Source: ebcbrakes

Key Takeaways!

Nothing is more essential to your safety on the road than the effectiveness of your car’s braking system. With this comprehensive guide on how to replace brake pads (and rotor), put the power of maintenance back into your hands. 

Even if you’ve never picked up a wrench, our step-by-step walkthrough will empower you to tackle this project confidently and precisely. Grab your toolbox, Roll up your sleeves, and embrace the hands-on satisfaction of enhancing your vehicle’s performance while saving valuable cash on mechanic fees. 

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