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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Replacing Brake Pads
By Mike Bumbeck/autoMedia.com
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyDifficult
Difficult
Estimated Time240 minutes
240 minutes
Make Your Bed
Like a fresh baseball glove or a new set of shoes, the brake pads should be broken-in, or bedded-in for best results. After making certain the system is in operating order and the installation is complete, hit the road and bed-in the brake pads. One method is to drive the vehicle and make 8-10 full stops at moderate speeds followed by a cool-down period. Pick a boulevard with a good amount of stoplights but not a ton of traffic. After the eighth or tenth stop, park the vehicle and allow the brakes to cool for around 20 minutes. Go grab a burger and shake or quadruple latte. Do not apply the parking brake during this cool-off period. Do not drag brakes during cool off. After lunch or latte perform exactly the same procedure on the way back to home base. Eight to 10 roll-and-stops followed by a cool-down period without use of the parking brake. This procedure heat-cycles the materials in the pads so that they can keep a balance of friction while preventing the discs from getting gummed up with pad material.
 
Keep in mind that brake pad bed-in recommendations vary by manufacturer. Performance pads may require specific bed-in procedures unique to material in the pad. Performing a bed-in prior to normal use is a good way to insure peak performance and longevity of any brake pad after an install. Follow along with the step-by-steps for more tips for slowing down.
After removing the wheels, use brake cleaner to remove dust and grime. Do not use compressed air. Do not breathe brake dust. Always leave one side assembled for reference.
After Removing the Wheels, Use Brake Cleaner to Remove Dust and Grime
Loosen the brake reservoir cover to allow air to escape. Note the brake fluid level.
Loosen the Brake Reservoir Cover to Allow Air to Escape
Do not strip out any mounting screws if rotor removal is required. A light tap on the screwdriver with a hammer may be enough to loosen. If not, use an impact screwdriver.
Do Not Strip Out Any Mounting Screws if Rotor Removal is Required
On some brake systems, removal of the caliper bolts may be required to change the pads. Always consult the service manual for the proper procedure. Always torque fasteners to specification.
Some Brake Systems May Require Removing the Caliper Bolts in Order to Change the Pads
Remove the caliper if required. Never allow a caliper to hang from the brake hose. Remove the old pads and note the position of the clips, shims, and tabs.
Remove the Caliper if Required
In this case, the locating tab on the in-board rear pad must ride in the groove of the caliper piston for proper operation. Note that the rear in-board pad has no shim installed for this reason.
No Shim is Usually Installed When the Locating Tab on the In-board Rear Pad Must Ride in the Caliper Piston Groove
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