One of the most important parts of your vehicle is the braking system. It's the one thing you want to work well when you're driving as it keeps you safe from coming into contact with other cars. That is why getting a brake service & repair from a trusted auto repair shop is essential for every driver.
However, you don't always have the time nor the extra resources to visit auto repair services. If you do, you can easily take your car to the shop and have it checked by professional mechanics. But if you don't, you can always do the checking and maintenance yourself.
Yes, that's right, regularly checking your braking system is imperative to your safety on the road. The reason is that your brake pads could wear down and compromise the one thing that helps your vehicle slow down and stop. We have covered all the things you need to know about car brake repair & maintenance and you'll read there why it's important to have your brakes checked every now and then.
This time, we'll be focusing more on your brake pads. As you keep using your vehicle, brake pads can get thinner and eventually wear out. It's easy to tell if your brake pads have gone bad.
How to know if your brake pads need to be replaced:
Do a visual checkup. You can easily tell by looking at your brake pad. If the depth of the pad is less than 0.6cm, it needs to be replaced soon. If it's less than that, don't waste any time and have it replaced immediately, or else your rotor will be in deep trouble.
Listen to your car. If you hear any squealing, screeching, or clicking noise, that means trouble. Especially if it sounds like your brake's scraping metal every time you step on it, then your rotors are possibly damaged and need to have them fixed and replaced right away to avoid any further damage.
As mentioned, you can either have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic or on your own, just as long as you inspect it before it's too late. If you're planning to check and replace your brake pads by yourself, we're here to guide you all the way.
Step-by-Step Process of Changing Worn Brake Pads
Changing your brake pads is actually quite simple; anyone can do it, even you! So after checking your brake pads and seeing that they’re actually worn and need to be replaced it’s time to get into action. If it’s your first time changing your car’s brake pads, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. First things first: prepare the tools that you're going to need.
What you're gonna need:
- New brake pads
- Brake depressor
- Jack - to raise your car
- Jack stand - to hold your car from falling
- Wheel chocks
- Gloves - makes it easier to clean your hands later on
- Rachet set
Step 1: Press the emergency brake if it's a foot pedal and pull it up if it's a hand lever.
Step 2: Place the wheel chock under the wheel and place the jack under the vehicle.
Step 3: If you have a wheel cover, make sure to remove it first. Take out your nut remover bar and break each nut on the wheel.
Do this with the car on the floor because it will be a lot easier to remove the bolts unless you have an impact drill.
Step 4: After the nuts get loose, go ahead and start jacking up the car.
Once up, adjust the jack stand and place it under the vehicle. Lower the vehicle slowly to your jack stand and finish removing the nuts.
Step 5: Remove the wheel. Place it under the vehicle for extra precaution.
In case for any reason your car drops, this will keep it from hitting the floor. After removing the wheel, you now have access to your brake caliper.
Step 6: If you’re not initially sure that your brakes are worn, use a flashlight and look inside to verify how your brakes are doing.
Step 7: Remove the caliper so you can access your brake pads.
There are two screws that hold the caliper in place; one on the bottom and one on the top. Break the nut loosely. Once you break the initial pressure, you can take it off with your hands. Do the same for the other bolt.
Step 8: Now that the bolts are out, you can go ahead and remove the caliper.
You may need to wiggle them out but they should come out with ease. Take a piece of rope or zip tie and tie it to a part of a vehicle so that it won't be in your way or fall down.
Remember, the caliper is connected to the brake fluid line. When removing it, don’t pull it too hard or too far away from the vehicle to avoid damaging the fluid line.
Step 9: Remove the worn brake pads to the side.
You may need to wiggle them out but they should come out with ease. To check your brake pads’ condition, the only thing you have to do is just look at the other one and see how they're placed. If they're still good to go, put them back. If they're already worn down, this would be the best time to change them.
You can also add some brake lubricant at this point if you want. Do this on each end of the brake pad and on the outer back plate of the pad. Just don’t get grease anywhere else. If your brake system needs cleaning, spray brake cleaner on it.
Step 10: Now it's time to place the new brake pads.
You can basically do this the same way you took them out. Just slide them back in from the side. Remove the rope or the zip tie from the brake caliper and place your brake caliper back.
You'll notice that it won't fit and that's because they're adjusted to the amount of waste that the brake pad had.
Step 11: After placing the new brake pads, you would need more space to place the caliber back and this is where you're gonna use the brake depressor.
To do that, take one of the old brake pads and place it next to the cylinder. Place the brake depressor on the other side of the metal and start twisting. If you don't have a brake depressor you can also use the old brake pad and push it down. Use your hands or anything you can use to depress the cylinder.
Step 12:Now that you have enough space on the caliper, you can go ahead and place the caliper back.
Take your two bolts back and place them by hand. Once you can't tighten them by hand, go ahead and use the ratchet. Tighten them as most as you can with your hands but don't over-tighten them.
If you haven't removed the brake lines from your brake caliper, you don't have to bleed the brake line.
Pro Tip: You can always use an empty bottle of water to catch the brake line fluid if you're ever gonna do so.
Step 13: Place the wheel back.
Step 14: Now that you have done one side, you can repeat the same process on the other side.
Step 15: After doing the same process to the other side, turn on your car and get behind the wheel. Pump your brakes a couple of times on parking to get it back to normal.
If you notice air still on your brakes, then you might need to bleed your brake lines.
See? It’s as simple as that! These simplified steps on how to change your brake pads should be easy peasy for you to follow. Don’t wait till something horrible happens before you give your brake pads a look. If you hear any metal scratches, screeching, or squeaking every time your step on your brake, take a look at it right away. Those noises are not normal.
If you have no time to do all these things on your own, you can always count on auto repair services to help you out. One of the most reliable auto repair shops that you can find near you is Car Geeks. Their quick brake repair and replacement services are the best in the area. Schedule a call or book an appointment now for your regular brake maintenance.