5 Steps to Replacing Brake Pads

Brakes get worked pretty hard, and since it’s very important to keep them working well, that means they can need repairs fairly frequently. One common brake fix done by professionals in careers in the auto industry is the replacement of the brake pad. This is the component that applies friction to the brake rotors of the car, which slows the vehicle down. The heat and rubbing, unfortunately, also causes pretty quick degradation of the brake pad, making brake pads a particularly vulnerable part of a car’s brake system.

Fortunately, replacing brake pads is an easy task for a well-trained automotive maintenance technician, and follows a few basic steps. As you get familiar with these steps during your training, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of the brake pad replacement.

Ready to get started? Here’s a look at the basic steps involved in replacing a car’s brake pads.

ATC Montreal_Infographic_5 Steps to Replacing Brake Pads

5 Steps to Replacing Brake Pads

Keeping brakes in good shape is important

In fact, 22% of accidents are caused by brake issues

Important parts of a car brake:

Brake calipers: Hold the brake pads and apply/remove them from brake rotors

Brake rotors: Spin with the axles, and are slowed by the brake pads

Brake pads: Apply friction to the brake rotors to slow the car down

Axles: Are shafts that link the wheels and rotors of the car

Brake pads by the numbers

The average brake pad will last 3.75 years

The cost for a replacement is $100 – $300 per axle

How to Replace a Brake Pad

Step 1: The Setup

  • Set the parking brake
  • Put blocks behind the wheels to keep the car from rolling
  • Loosen the lug nuts of the car until they spin easily
  • Use a jack to raise up the wheel with the brake you’ll be working on

Important! To prevent damage, only place the jack on designated areas of the car

Step 2: Removing the Wheel

  • Double-check that the parking brake is set
  • Remove the lug nuts
  • Carefully pull the wheel away

Pro tip: For alloy wheels, clean the studs and apply an anti-seize compound before replacing the wheel

Step 3: Removing the Caliper

  • If working on back wheels, disengage the parking brake
  • Make sure the caliper isn’t hot
  • loosen bolts and remove the caliper
  • Rest the caliper on the suspension or zip tie the caliper up

Pro tip: If the caliper is allowed to hang, the brake cable can get damaged. Don’t let it!

Step 4: Replacing the Pads

  • Note how the current pads are installed
  • Remove the old brake pads
  • Connect the new pads the way the old ones were

Important! Don’t get lubricant on the inside of the brake pads—this can stop them from working

Step 5: Put Everything Back Together

  • Reverse the order to put the rest of the brakes back together
  • Set the car on the ground
  • The job is done!






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