Changing Your Brake Pads in Three Easy Steps

Changing Your Brake Pads in Three Easy Steps

Cars have many different parts that contribute to their performance and safety, but perhaps no single part or piece of equipment contributes as much to both aspects as your brake pads. High-quality brake pads allow your car to navigate around the track faster by giving you the power to slow your car down faster and more precisely, but also make it safer by reducing your stopping distance and saving you from a dangerous collision. Over time, brake pads wear out and need replacement, which is a service that those with the right tools and even a little bit of skill can perform. On this blog, we explain how in just three easy steps.

Step 1 – Expose Your Pads

Brake pads can be tough to get to since they are inside your wheel and wedged between your brake disc and the caliper. So you’re going to have to remove a few things in order to be able to get to them. First things first, make sure you buy the correct pads you wish for your car, ensuring that they are the right pad for your exact model and type of brakes (remember, any upgrades or aftermarket brakes can use different-sized pads.

When your car is cool (brake pads can get extraordinarily hot even in normal driving conditions), jack up your car and remove your wheel using a lug wrench. Make sure your car is secure by placing it on a jack stand; never trust just the jack alone. On the inside of your caliper, you should find a couple caliper bolts that hold your calipers onto the frame. It may take some force to remove these using a socket wrench or ring spanner but your caliper should come off easily once these are removed. You should now be able to easily access your brake pads.

Step 2 – Change Your Pads

Removing the old pads should be relatively easy, as they are usually held in with a couple small metal clips; simply un-clip them and they should pull right out. Now is a great time to inspect your brake rotors for any damage, including warping, heat damage, or cracks. If your rotors are old or showing signs of their age (i.e. thinning out; they do wear out just like your brake pads do), you should also replace your rotors. Once this is done you can place your new pads in, making sure they clip in properly and are secure.

At this point you can replace your caliper over the pads. Make sure you proceed with caution when doing this, as you don’t want to break anything. Replace the bolts that hold your caliper in place and tighten them down. You want to get these bolts tight and you may wish to use some form of a glue or Loctite liquid threadlocker to prevent them from coming loose. Once you are satisfied that everything is tight and fitting properly, replace the wheel, ensuring that you tighten your lug nuts down properly as well.

Step 3 – Bleed Your Brakes

Over time, your brake fluid will become contaminated with dirt, grime, and moisture from general usage. Therefore, whenever you replace your brake pads, it’s also a good idea to bleed your brakes and replace the fluid. Start by checking your brake fluid levels by examining the reservoir located in your engine bay. If your brake fluid is low, fill it back up to the appropriate level with the correct type of brake fluid (which may not be the top of the reservoir so pay close attention).

Starting with the caliper that is the furthest away from your master cylinder (located right next to your reservoir), fit a small plastic hose to the bleeder nipple and fit the other end into a plastic bottle. Have an assistant pump the brakes with the engine turned off until they experience resistance. Once they feel resistance, loosen the bleeder screw and tell them to hold the brake down. Fluid should pour into the bottle, but keep it elevated above the caliper so air doesn’t get sucked back into the system.

When your assistant’s foot hits the floor, screw the bleeder back into place. Repeat this process as necessary until there are no air bubbles in the plastic tube. Refill the master cylinder reservoir with more brake fluid as necessary to avoid getting any air bubbles into the lines. Repeat this entire process for the remaining three calipers.

Once this is complete, perform one final check by pressing the brake pedal and checking your master cylinder. If any air bubbles float out, start bleeding your brakes again before replacing your wheels and taking your car out for a test drive. Start slow and stop at a normal speed. So long as everything appears to be working properly, bed in your brakes by accelerating to 50-60 miles per hour and then stopping quickly. Repeat this five to six times.

If you need your brakes replaced on your high-performance car, bring it in to HP Motorsports. We offer a wide variety of high-performance brands that can improve your car’s handling and stopping power. Our friendly, passionate technicians can perform a full brake maintenance service and keep your car performing at its peak while keeping you safe.

Get a free estimate for your car by calling HP Motorsports and asking about our brake services today!
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