Changing Brake Pads: Step-by-Step Instructions
Does your car come with ABS?
If your vehicle is equipped with Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), it may be necessary to temporarily disconnect or remove some of the ABS parts before changing brake pads. (ABS is a computer-controlled system that requires additional mechanical and electrical parts to prevent the wheels from locking up during braking.) Check an appropriate manual to ensure that all brake parts have been properly. reinstalled and reconnected.
Do you have the right tools and equipment?
Before you begin changing brake pads, you’ll need to have the following at your fingertips:
- Large C-clamp
- Jack stands
- Wire brush
- Screwdriver (or pry bar)
- Pliers (or vise grips)
- High-temperature lubricant
- Replacement brake pads (get the correct brake pads for your vehicle from your local NAPA Auto Parts store)
Mind the dust…
Some brake linings contain asbestos. Try to avoid creating or breathing dust when you’re changing brake linings or cleaning brake parts.
Set the stage
Choose a solid, level place to work, and ensure the vehicle’s parking brake is set.
Siphoning the brake fluid
Siphon roughly half of the brake fluid from the brake fluid reservoir into a container and dispose of it properly. (Never reuse removed brake fluid.)
Handle with care
Brake fluid is so corrosive, it will dissolve paint!
Jacking the vehicle
Loosen the lug nut. Regardless of whether you’re using bumper, scissors or hydraulic jacks to raise the vehicle, never attempt to work under a vehicle supported only by a jack. Ensure the wheels remaining on the ground are blocked, and support the vehicle with adjustable jack stands or drive-on ramps rated for the weight of the vehicle. After you’ve jacked up the wheel or axel you’re working on, remove the lug nuts and the wheel.
Take it one wheel at a time
If you work on just one wheel at a time, you’ve got the other side intact for use as a reference.