The Braking System is the most important safety aspect of a vehicle, and it’s imperative that they are checked and serviced regularly. The front pads and discs will take a high majority of the braking bias, meaning they wear a lot quicker than the rears. A common sign of drastically worn pads is low brake fluid. It may look as though it needs topping up but in reality the pressure within the braking system is low due to worn pads.
Changing Discs and Pads is a lot easier than you’d think, and the tools that you need to do the job are neither excessive nor expensive.
• Trolley Jack
• Axle Stands
• Allen Key or Torx Bit Set
• Piston Wind Back Tool or G-Clamp
• Soft Hammer
• Clutch and Brake Cleaner
• Camera Phone (to take pictures as you go along for re-assembly)
- With the vehicle on the ground loosen all wheel nuts on the front wheels, to the point that they’re loose but not about to fall off.
- Jack up the driver’s side wheel using the indicated jack point, shown in the owner’s manual, until the wheel is a few inches above the ground.
- Place an axle stand under the secondary jack point.
- You can have one side on an axle stand or both at the same time.
- Remove all wheel nuts from the wheel and place to one side. (A magnetic tray is ideal for keeping them in one place) If you have issues with wheel nuts getting stuck in the socket place the bolt back on the hub with the socket attached and tap across the socket with a soft hammer.
- Remove the plastic caps behind the caliper, this will reveal two fixing bolts (Some cars don’t have plastic caps, the bolts should be visible at the top and bottom on the backside of the caliper carrier)
- Remove these bolts using the Torx Bit/Allen Key using a ratchet. This is usually a fairly tight space to work in, but the space can be made bigger if you turn the wheel towards the side you’re working on (carefully).
- Make sure you support the caliper as by letting it hang it may stretch or damage the brake line. (Use a bungee cable to keep it elevated)
- Remove the old pads.
- Open the cap on your brake fluid container as this relieves any pressure in the system and stops any damage to the piston seals. This is important as you’re going to force back the piston using the G-Clamp or the Piston Windback Tool, and increase the pressure once more.
- This is a perfect opportunity to clean the brake caliper, simply scrub with a wire brush.
- Remove the old discs, they should slide off but they may need some encouragement with the soft hammer if they’ve been on there a while. Knock the discs from behind and that should loosen them.
- Before you replace the old discs with the new, clean the friction sides of the disk with Clutch and Brake Cleaner.
- Fitting new pads. Slide the new pads into position within the caliper (it’s easier if you slide them in horizontally and then twist them upright)
- With the piston compressed release the clamp or wind back tool and slide the caliper back into the carrier.
- Place the wheel back on and tighten all bolts. Check that they’re tightened to their fullest.
- Remove the axle stands and slowly lower the car to the floor.