How to replace brake pads and rotors

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Replacing your brake pads and rotors can save you hundreds of dollars and a trip to a mechanic. Find out how in this episode Wounded.

See us all Autoblog Ranched Video of more tips on how to diagnose, fix and repair a car from professional dealer Larry Kosila. While you’re at it, watch a video series of Larry’s other car cleaning and maintenance Autoblog Details!

Materials used:

Instructions (video transcript):

[00:00:00] – [Narrator] Replacing your brake pads and rotors can save you hundreds of dollars and a trip to a mechanic. Here’s what you need to get the job done: Brake pads, screwdrivers, socket sets, brake cleaners, grease, scotch-bright pads, gloves, zip tie, breaker bars, rotors, C-clamps and high-temp grease. I am Larry Kosilla, Pro Detailler and Trainer for the last 15 years. But when it comes to what happens under the hood, I’m a student. Follow me because experts teach me how to diagnose,

[00:00:30] Fix and modify cars in Autoblog’s Wrenched. How often should you change brake pads and rotors? – Depends on the type of vehicle you drive, pad material and how fast you drive. Some of our race cars go through a set of brake pads in one day. – [Larry] Some of the methods you are going to see will change from car to car Consult a shop manual or an online resource for your specific vehicle. The brake pads have a squirrel that tells the driver when a replacement is needed. Some metals and sounds,

[00:01:00] When some electronics and trigger a warning light. Make sure your replacement pads have this feature, as it is vital to your safety. For the first step, Joe turned the steering wheel to give me easy access to the front and back of the brakes. Then, we remove the slide pins, which hold the caliper in the rotors. Depending on your specific vehicle, this may require an Allen key, torque or other special socket. If the pin gets rusty, you can use penetrating oil and a breaker bar, which is basically a long ratchet,

[00:01:30] Giving you more leverage to loosen the bolts easily. Some calipers have a spring retention clip that may have to be popped off with a screwdriver. Next, remove the caliper and use a screwdriver if necessary, especially if it has rusted. Then, slide out the old brake pad. It’s a good idea to hook a zip tie through the caliper and attach it to the shock, so it’s not just resting on the brake line, which will damage the rubber and cause it to leak.

[00:02:00] To remove the rotor, you must first completely remove the caliper holder with two rear bolts. Now, remove the rotor from the hub, but in some cars a screw is holding it, like here it is. The rotor will not stop at this point, and especially if you do not reuse it, you can gently hit it with a hammer to quickly remove it from the hub.

[00:02:30] Next, rub the hub with a scotch-bright pad or a wire brush. So the flush can sit on the new rotor cap. Before installing a new rotor, wash it with a quick brake clean, remove its protective coating to protect shipping from the factory. Then the next time we change them add some high-heat grease to keep the rotor from sticking to the hub. Tighten a log nut to hold the rotor in place, or in our case, a screw is used to hold the rotor in the cap. After that, clean the caliper container quickly

[00:03:00] With a scotch-bright pad, add a little grease where the outer metal beans touch the caliper and piston. This is done to help reduce squeaking and potential possession in the future. If you use the original equipment that came with the car, your torque spaces will be in your manual. However, if you use aftermarket parts, the type of bolt and threading may be different, so consult your manufacturer for specific torque specs.

[00:03:30] Apply grease or high temperature silicone to the slide pins so that the brakes are compressed and released. We’ll need them in a minute, so keep them close. Now it’s time to put a new brake pad on the caliper. But since the new pads are thicker than the old pads, we need to compress the hydraulic piston into a caliper so that they fit properly. You can do this in two different ways.

[00:04:00] Any basic C clamp fitted to the bottom of the piston and simply twist, or this cheap piston compressor. Place the tool on the caliper, press the handle, and compress the piston until it flushes against the housing. By doing this, we have created more space in the caliper to fit the new thick brake pads into the rotors. Before installing the new brake pad, add grease to the back of each pad before placing it on the caliper for a smooth and scream-free movement.

[00:04:30] The pad with the metal clip on the back snaps into the piston attached to the caliper. And sometimes it can take a bit of force to clip ৷ Try not to touch the abrasive side of the pad with greasy hands With the pads in place, snip the caliper zip tie and hold the weight from being tugged at the brake line. Carefully place the caliper on top of the rotor and other pads. Once in place, install
We lubricated the slide pins before and torque them according to the specs of your vehicle.

[00:05:00] This is a very important step, you don’t want the bolts to be too loose or too tight. If you are unsure, call your local part section for advice. Some, but not all, calipers have pads and an extra metal clip to secure the calipers. Similarly, if your car has an electronic brake pad sensor, like this modern car, clip them now. Once you have finished the four corners and reinstalled the wheels, be sure to apply the brakes gently first while driving, which is known as brake betting.

[00:05:30] To do this properly, drive the car up to 35 miles per hour and apply the brakes slowly until you reach about 10 miles per hour. Then, increase the speed to 35 again and repeat the process a few more times. Avoid hard braking first, to prevent pads and rotors from glazing. The goal here is to create gradual heat in the rotor and pad compounds, which will place a thin layer of film on the surface of the rotors, for better performance and ultimately smooth braking for the life of the pads. The brakes are the most important feature of any car

[00:06:00] And special care and attention should be paid to ensure proper safety of its passengers and our co-drivers on the road. To learn more about car repair videos, visit As always, thanks for visiting Larry Kosilla from

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