Car brakes are a vital component that ensures a safe ride for its passengers. For this reason, it is extremely important to keep them well-maintained and replace them when there is need. Disc brakes are the more preferred option in comparison to drum brakes as they last longer and are easier to replace. Amazingly, you can even do it on your own without technical assistance. The first thing is to be vigilant as brakes making weird sounds signal that it is time to change them. Once you know that it’s time to replace the car brakes, here are the tips you should follow:
1. Allow the car to cool down:
Before you check the brakes, give you car enough time to cool down otherwise you may burn your hands. Car brakes tend to get very hot when in motion, with the brake pads becoming particularly hot.
2. Raise the car using a jack stand:
Once the car cools down, raise it using a jack stand. Let it reach a safe height so that the tires can be dislodged to access the brakes. Ensure that the wheel nuts are loosened before raising the car. Leave the car key in the ignition and gear in neutral so that the wheels can be moved while you work on them.
3. Remove the tire:
After raising the car, remove the tire by using a wrench to dislodge the wheel nuts. Keep them safe so that you can easily find them while putting back the tire again. Once the tires are removed, the brakes are visible and you can work on them.
4. Open the brake fluid reservoir cap:
In the next step, open the cap of the brake fluid reservoir that lies under the bonnet near the engine. You can go through the car’s user manual to identify its exact location. This will release the pressure as you pull back the pistons.
5. Remove the brake caliper:
Next you will have to remove the brake caliper to reach the brake pads that lie inside. This can be done by unscrewing the slider bolts at the top and bottom of the caliper using a wrench. Start by removing the lower bolts followed by the upper bolt. The caliper is free and can now be removed from the rotor. However, ensure that you do not disconnect the hydraulic line that connects it with brake fluid.
6. Dislodge the brake pads:
Now dislodge the two brake pads that are housed in the caliper. These are the inner and outer pads; the inner ones moves forwards and the outer one remains stationary to halt the vehicle.
7. Tighten the piston:
Before replacing the worn out brake pad, push the piston back to accommodate the new, larger one. A C-clamp is to be used for this purpose and a lot of pressure may be needed.
8. Remove the rotor:
Next, pull out the rotor by unscrewing it from the hub. It may be challenging if the rotor is jammed due to rust. Application of rust preventer on the studs and the hub prevents rusting in future.
9. Lubricate the new pads:
Lubricate the back of the new brake pads by applying the brake lubricant that comes with them. Cover the outer clip before applying the lubricant and do not lubricate the pad material.
10. Install the new brake pads:
Now fit the new brake pads inside the caliper using the new set of clips that comes with the new pads. Just place the pad in the caliper and push it in place. They will easily slide in position if you have pushed the piston back enough.
11. Install the new rotor and bolt the caliper to it:
Install the new rotor by pushing it inside the hub and aligning them with the studs. The caliper will fit back on the new rotor smoothly. Secure the rotor by screwing the slider bolts, the top one first followed by the bottom ones. Put back the cap of the brake oil reservoir.
12. Mount back the tire:
The job is almost done and now you need to mount the tires back and lower the car down by removing the jack. Make sure that the wheel nuts are secured tightly. Now pump the brake pedal several times to get the air out.
With the disk brakes replaced, it is time to take a test drive to ensure that all is working well. If you are not too confident about the procedure the best way is to opt for a brake job by Elite Auto Repair or some other reputed professional service provider. This is one maintenance cost that you should not fret about because proper functioning of your car brakes determines its performance and safety.