Car brakes experience a lot of wear and tear, especially if you drive regularly or commute in heavy traffic. That takes a toll on these components, which eventually compromises their performance. If the brakes are too worn down or damaged in some way, you need to change them without delay. It is risky to drive a vehicle with damaged brakes as you can quickly lose control of it.
Here we will discuss how to change the brakes on your car in detail, so you can skip the high cost of taking your car to a repair shop.
Before You Begin
You should always wait for a few hours after you have driven the car before attempting to carry out any repairs. This allows the system to cool down enough, so you to handle the components safely. Brake parts are very hot right after a drive and might burn your hands while you are replacing them.
Brake systems are intricate and carefully designed. If there's even the slightest error during the replacement process, you might face serious problems. That's why it is essential to study the car manual and make sure you understand the steps well before attempting any repairs.
Before Starting, this article goes over The Most Common Mistakes When Replacing Your Braking System.
Tools You Will Need
The first step to any brake replacement or repair is to raise the car and ensure you have all the tools needed to carry out the replacement smoothly.
You Will Need:
- Open-ended Wrenches
- A C-Clamp
- Hydraulic Jack
- Pry Bars
- Jack Stands
- Wire Brushes
- And A Good Pair Of Gloves
How to Change Brake Discs
- The first step is to loosen the nuts on the wheel before raising the car on the jack. Make sure the car is raised securely before you start working on the wheel.
- Take the wheels off completely to get access to the brake disc. This allows you to access the entire disc and work without any obstructions.
- Remove the caliper that holds the brake disc in place. This component is usually bolted down to the disc. You will need to remove the bolt before accessing the caliper.
- Remove the caliper and set it aside, so it is out of the way and doesn't get damaged during repairs.
- The component that holds the caliper in place is bolted down by 2-3 bolts. Remove them and the component to gain full access to the brake disc underneath them.
- The disc is held in place with a few screws, and they need to be removed. This might take time and effort because these screws are often too tight to come off easily.
- Once you have removed the screws, the old disc will come off the housing without effort. If it is stuck in place, give it a few gentle taps on its side with a hammer to loosen the hold. That should help you slide the disc off completely.
- You can then position the new replacement disc in place. Take time to clean the area underneath the disc as it helps keep the disc safe for longer. Fix the screws and make sure they're holding the disc in place securely.
- Put the component that holds the caliper and the caliper back in position. You need to use the bolts in the same order as you did before to ensure everything is safely in place.
- You can repeat the same process with every wheel for the discs you want to change. Remove the jack and lower the car to the ground carefully.
Once the repair is done, take your car to an isolated road and test the brakes. Don't drive too fast unless you're confident the brakes perform well. If you encounter any problems, contact a professional mechanic immediately and let them check the system to ensure you did the job properly. It isn't a good idea to drive with unstable or unreliable brakes.
How to Change Brake Pads
Brake pads are essential components of the brake system. They can become damaged with regular use, especially in harsh driving conditions. However, you can replace these two components without replacing the entire disc brake. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Loosen the nuts of the wheels and raise your vehicle on a jack to gain easy access to the brake system.
- Take off the wheel and set it aside so you can work without obstructions.
- You'll see a caliper and the bolts holding it in place. You need to remove one of these bolts, specifically the one at the bottom. Make sure you place the bolt in a secure area where it doesn't get misplaced
- The moment you remove the bolt, the caliper will move upward. Don’t disconnect any hydraulic lines because you can easily work around them.
- You should be able to see the brake pads once the caliper has moved. Examine them carefully to determine whether they need to be replaced.
- If the indicators, which are small metal tabs on the pads, make contact with the rotors, you need to replace the brake pads. If the pads aren't an eighth of an inch thick, they're too worn down you'd have to replace them.
- Remove the brake pads from the base. Make sure you remove them with their clips because your replacement pads won't have clips. Don’t use old clips for new brake pads because they won’t fit well or stand up to the wear and tear.
- Clip the replacement pads back in place securely. This is quite easy to do, and you don't need to screw anything in place.
- Apply a small amount of grease to the clips to ensure they don’t make much noise and are safe from damage caused by friction.
- You will need to push the brake pistons back a little to make room for the thicker pads. Check the brake fluid levels before this because pushing the pistons back increases the levels and causes overflow if the tank is too full. You can remove some of the brake fluid to ensure nothing spills over.
- Use the C-Clamp to push the pistons back safely. If there are multiple pistons, make sure they're all pushed back at the same time. Take care not to damage the rubber seal around the pistons or the component itself. This can be expensive to repair and cause problems down the line.
- After the pistons are in position, you should be able to put the caliper back in place without problems. If the calipers feel a bit too tight, you might need to push the pistons back a little further
- Secure the caliper with the bolt in the same position as before and place the wheel back on.
You can repeat this process with other wheels if needed. The procedure to remove the rotor is the same for each wheel. If both pads and rotors are damaged, you can replace both at the same time.
How to Change Brake Shoes
Brake shoes are metal friction plates that play a vital role in slowing the vehicle down. They press against the inner surface of the brake drum to create enough friction to stop the movement gradually. These components are designed to handle a lot of wear and tear, but they can become worn down over time. Here’s a brief guide on how to replace the shoes:
- Loosen the lugs on the wheel and lift it on the jack to gain access to the brake system.
- Remove the wheel once the car is securely on the jack. Follow up by removing the caliper and the brake drum.
- Carefully clean the area with the brake cleaner so you can see all the components.
- Remove the hold-down spring assembly with a removal tool. Make sure the retaining post doesn't turn while doing this by holding it in place from behind.
- Find the brake shoe return spring and carefully remove it with a tool or your fingers.
- Remove the adjuster assembly before removing the adjuster. You will need to put this component back in the same direction, so make a note of how it is coming out. You might also need to remove the emergency brake clip based on your car design.
- Clean the area under the components with a brake cleaner. Allow it to dry, and then apply a thin layer of high-temperature grease over it. This ensures the surface the shoe comes in contact with is smooth and won't damage the new shoe.
- Install the new shoe and the new spring just as you had removed it. Press the adjuster down to make some room for the brake drum. You should be able to place the drum back in its original housing quickly at this point. Secure the calipers after you install the drum.
- Clean the area with a brake cleaner once again before adjusting the shoe position. Turn the adjusting star and the brake drum simultaneously until the shoe moves against the drum. Old vehicle models don't have this option so you have to drive in reverse and hit the brakes for the shoe to set in position.
- Install the wheel, tighten the lugs, and remove the jack once you have assembled the entire brake system. Make sure all the bolts and lugs are tightened well, and there are no loose parts that can come off while braking.
Test the brakes on an empty road at a slow pace to make sure they’re working well. If you encounter any problems, it is a good idea to contact a professional immediately. They will examine the entire system and fix any issues they find.
Another key thing to keep in mind is the importance of OEM parts. Whenever you’re making a repair to your braking system, it’s key to use parts made specifically for your car so you can ensure they fit. We sell brake pads, rotors, discs, and shoes.