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Brake pads are an essential component of your vehicle’s braking system; they lie between your brake shoe (the portion that clamps down, reducing the rotation of your tires) and your brake drum.
Other components of your car, such as the discs, rotors, and calipers, will begin to wear away if your brake pads fail. Maintaining effective brake pads is critical to preventing costly repairs and dangerous driving situations.
That is why knowing how and when to replace your vehicle’s outdated brake pads is critical.
How to Change Brake Pads: Step-by-Step Guide
1. Open the hood and prop it up
The first step is to open the hood and prop it up. You’ll need to be able to see the brake pads and calipers to change them.
Once the hood is open, locate the brake fluid reservoir. It will be a large, clear plastic container with a black cap. Do not remove the cap yet.
2. Remove the wheel
Before you can replace your brake pads, you need to remove the wheel. To do this, first, loosen the lug nuts with a wrench. Then, jack up the car and place a jack stand under it to support it. Finally, remove the lug nuts and wheel.
3. Use a C-clamp or brake piston tool to push the piston back into the caliper
If your car has disc brakes, you’ll know when it’s time to change the brake pads. The pedal will feel softer, and you may hear a squealing noise when you brake. Changing your brake pads as soon as possible is vital to prevent damage to your brake rotors.
The good news is that changing brake pads is a relatively easy task you can do at home with a few tools. This guide will show you how to change the brake pads on your car in just a few simple steps.
1. Jack up your car and remove the wheel. You’ll need access to the caliper to remove the old brake pads and install the new ones.
2. Use a C-clamp or brake piston tool to push the piston back into the caliper. This will make room for the new brake pads.
3. Remove the old brake pads and install the new ones. Be sure to check that they are correctly seated before putting the wheel back on.
4. Pump the brakes a few times to get them working properly before driving off.
4. Remove the old brake pads.
With the caliper, Pistons pushed back in, and the brake line no longer under pressure, you can now remove the old brake pads from the caliper. With the old pads out of the way, look at the brake rotor.
Be careful not to damage the caliper as you do this. Sometimes they will just fall out, but other times you may need to use a flathead screwdriver or other prying tool to get them started.
5. Install the new brake pads.
- Open the brake caliper using the brake piston tool.
- Remove the old brake pads and insert the new ones.
- Reassemble the brake caliper and make sure it is secure.
- Repeat this process for the other brake caliper.
5. Reinstall the wheel.
After the new brake pads are in place, it is time to reinstall the wheel. To do this, first, put the lug nuts back on loosely by hand. Once the lug nuts are in place, use your socket wrench to tighten them until they are snug. Be careful not to over-tighten them, as this can damage the threads.
Next, lower your car back to the ground and give the brake a few pumps to ensure it works properly. Test drive your car at a low speed in a safe location before driving it at average speeds.
6. Repeat for the other wheels.
Once you’ve finished with the first wheel, repeat the process for the other three wheels. When you’re finished, check your work by depressing the brake pedal and ensuring that the brake pads are engaging properly.
How Long Do Brake Pads Last
Brake pads are typically expected to last between 30,000 and 35,000 kilometers. However, the true answer to how long they may last varies by vehicle and driver.
For example, if you often drive in metropolitan regions or heavy commuter traffic, you will use your brakes far more frequently than someone who travels in rural areas or on highways. Some people also “ride the brake,” which means they push and depress their brakes more frequently than other drivers, causing the brake pads to wear out faster.
Knowing when to change brake pads on your car may be straightforward with a bit of attention and planning.
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