Autobarn Know How


    Replacing Brake Pads

    Replacing Brake Pads



    Obviously one of your vehicles most important features and safety aspects are the brakes, and in particular, ensuring your Brake Pads are in good working order and have plenty of life left in them. Brake pads are a component of disc brakes used in automotive and other applications. Brake pads are steel backing plates with friction material bound to the surface that faces the disk brake rotor. They are designed to press on the disc of the disc brake.


    Replacing brake pads is a simple procedure; most amateur mechanics can complete it using the right auto tools and car parts. In order to maintain your vehicles stopping power it is vital that brake pads are checked and replaced regularly. To learn how to replace brake pads, follow this simple guide. If you require more assistance please see the attached video.


    Why should you replace your brake pads?


    Brake pads are made up of a metal backing plate with a friction material bound to the surface that makes contact with the brake rotor. The friction applied to the brake rotors helps slow the spinning wheels and bring your car to a stop - if your brake pads have worn down, you may not be able to stop you car safely!



    When is it time to replace your brake pads?


    Every 25,000 kilometres (check for pad wear) - As previously mentioned, maintaining your vehicles braking system is vital to the safety and performance of your car. It is therefore imperative that you check your brake pads for wear every 25,000 kilometres and replace worn out pads.


    When they become noisy- If you have driven a car in traffic you are most likely familiar with two of the most common noises that indicate brake pad problems; squealing and scraping. A squealing noise while braking can be caused by a number of other reasons (e.g. loose anti-rattle clips, calipers or pad insulators) the most common reason is due to worn brake pads. Likewise scraping noises while braking can sometimes be caused by loose brake parts, or even a stone stuck between the pad and rotor, the most likely occurrence is that your brake pads have worn all the way down to the metal backing plate. If this situation is left for too long damage to the brake rotors is a certainty and they will also need to be replaced or repaired.


    When they don’t stop as effectively- If your brakes are starting to ‘fade’ after heavy braking, or are simply not pulling the car up as effectively, you may have worn out brake pads. When reduced stopping ability occurs you should immediately check your braking system for wear, tear or lack of maintenance.


    Other signs of trouble include:

    -The brake pedal pushes down farther than normal

    -The brake pedal feels like it is pulsating when the brakes are applied

    -Brake fluid is leaking from the brake caliper

    -The car pulls to one side when braking


    The golden rule is a simple one: You should IMMEDIATELY investigate any unnatural noise, sensation or lack of stopping that occurs while braking - failure to do so may result in a dangerous loss of braking.



    How to replace your Brake Pads


    You will need;

    -Auto Tools & Equipment

    -A lug wrench to remove road wheel

    -A jack and supports to safely elevate your vehicle

    -A flat headed screw driver to force the brake piston back

    -A turkey baster to remove excess brake fluid from reservoir

    -The correct size wrench or allen wrench/key to undo the caliper bolts

    -2 feet of string to support the brake caliper

    -A c-clamp to further compress the brake piston

    -Pliers to remove clips and springs

    -The new Brake pads (make sure you buy the right type for your vehicle)


    Replacing brake pads is easy, just follow these steps:

    1. Loosen, but DON’T remove, the wheel lug nuts of the wheel that is being serviced

    2. Safely and securely support the car in a high enough position to work on the brakes. Now remove the lug nuts and road wheel.

    NOTE: Now is a good time to check you brake system for leaks, wear and/or damage.

    3. Use your flat headed screw drive to force the brake piston back into the brake caliper - NOTE: This will force brake fluid back into the fluid reservoir - loosen the reservoir cap and keep an eye on the fluid level so that it doesn’t overflow (you may need to remove some fluid using a turkey baster)!

    4. Loosen the appropriate nuts and bolts on the brake caliper so that it can be removed.

    5. Remove the brake caliper using pliers to remove any clips or springs holding the brake pads in place.

    6. Suspend the caliper safely using string - this will stop it hanging by the brake lines and doing potential damage.

    7. Using the c-clamp, compress the brake piston so that the new brake pads (which will be wider) can be fitted.

    NOTE: Remember step 3 and keep an eye on the fluid levels in the brake fluid reservoir.

    8. Replace the worn pads with new brake pads (after removing the c-clamp) and refit the caliper, tightening the caliper bolts to the appropriate torque settings for your vehicle.

    9. Top-up the brake fluid if required and replace the reservoir cap.

    10. Gently depress the brake pedal to reduce the gap in between the pad and brake rotor.

    11. Replace the road wheel and lug nuts, and then lower the car down to the ground. Once the car is safely on the ground tighten the lug nuts to the appropriate torque settings for your vehicle.

    12. Once this has been completed for all required wheels, get in the car and check the brakes. If they feel soft and/or spongy you may need to bleed your brakes. A tutorial on how to bleed brakes exists on in this content section.

    Pat yourself on the back - You’ve mastered the art of replacing brake pads!



    Helpful Hints

    • If you are a little bit unsure about completing these steps. Seek professional help. It would generally take a mechanic under 30mins to complete.
    • If you have any questions about any of these steps, either call your local mechanic or contact your nearest Autobarn store for expert advice. 
    • Ensure you have all the right tools and right sized tools and brake pads before beginning. There is nothing more frustrating than getting half way through and realizing you don’t have something or something doesn’t fit!

    Great Brake Products Available at Autobarn

    Brake Pads

    Brake Fluid



    This information is provided as a guide only and professionals should be consulted when doing any work to a vehicle. Autobarn is not liable for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss) for any personal injury or damage to property suffered or sustained as a result of using the information provided.