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Brake Pads and How to Change Them

Posted by on in H.Heaven Easy Auto Repair
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Replacing Your Brake Pads

brake-padsTaking a little extra care when you're installing brake pads will ensure that you will get the maximum life out of them. One of the often overlooked items would be to either recondition or replace the hardware.

This can ensure proper caliper movement and can also help prevent brake noise and uneven pad wear. 

H.Heaven can check and replace your Brake Pads or you can take your time and do it yourself. Repair Hint; also replace the retention clips if they come with the new pads!

When ever I am replacing front or rear disc brake pads I take the extra time to replace the caliper slides or at least disassemble clean and properly lubricate the slides. We use specialized caliper lube for this.

It lasts longer and is water proof. If you use regular grease or even worse something like Vaseline the lubricant will not stand up to the extreme heat that it is exposed to. If you use the wrong kind of lubricant on the caliper slides they can begin to bind down the road and cause problems.

The incorrect stuff like petroleum jelly can melt and drip onto the replacement brake pads and the rotors. As you can imagine lubricant on the actual braking surface of the pads or rotors can cause a lot of problems like increased stopping distance or pulling conditions.

Replacing Disc Brake Pads

brake-caliperIt is the design of the calipers that will determine what procedure needs to be followed on your particular automobile. Fixed calipers and floating ones will have different steps for installing brake pads.

When in doubt consult an online car repair manual for your specific vehicle. But to follow will be some general tips and instructions.

When you are installing brake pads on some vehicles the caliper retaining bolts will actually hold the pads in place. On these types of systems sometimes the caliper bolts will be secured with thread locker to prevent them from backing off. When thread locker is used it may be difficult to remove the bolts.

But more importantly the old thread locking compound should be cleaned off and fresh loctite should be applied when you reassemble. This will prevent thread damage and make future brake jobs easier. Also take the time to torque the bolts to the recommended specifications.

When you're replacing disc brake pads the new ones will be thicker than the old ones. This means that the caliper piston needs to be pushed back into its bore to make room for the new and thicker pads. There are several methods and tools available.

They make specialized tools not surprisingly called a caliper piston compressor. Some mechanics use a C-clamp and a block of wood to seat the piston back in its bore (not at H.Heaven). No matter what method you use it is most important that the piston be pushed back evenly and with some patience.

When you apply pressure to the piston the fluid must move back up through the system. You want to take care that you do not cock the piston when pushing it back in. If the piston does get cocked it could damage the seals or the caliper bore and possibly the piston itself.

Reinstalling the Brake Caliper

After the pads are installed on a floating disc brake caliper type braking system it is time to remount caliper to the steering knuckle. In most cases people do not disconnect the brake line during a standard service.
You must make sure that the rubber brake hose that feeds the caliper is not twisted or kinked. On a front disc brake system it is the rubber brake hose that allows for the wheel to turn left and right when the driver is steering. If you remount the caliper and the hose is twisted it may pull tight when the vehicle is turning and leak fluid out.

After installing brake pads it's time to check the hydraulic fluid level. Do not perform this step until after the maintenance repairs are completed.

Because of the new and thicker brake pads the piston will be seated further back in its bore and this will push fluid up into the master cylinder reservoir. If you were to fill the fluid first the master cylinder reservoir may wind up overfull when you're finished.

You also want to make sure that you follow the manufacturer guidelines on what type of fluid is being installed. In most cases the type of hydraulic brake fluid to use is printed clearly on the master cylinder cap and in the owner's manual as well.


H.Heaven Automotive is conveniently located in central Huntington Beach, just minutes from the 405 Freeway. We proudly repair all makes and models of vehicles. If you require a car repair in Huntington Beach, come to H.Heaven. For expert Automotive repair while in Huntington Beach call H.Heaven at (714) 841-1949. Call us today or make an appointment now by clicking below. All repairs have a 3yr/36k mile warranty!