Most owners of new and used cars choose not to work on their own vehicles, we generally instruct a motor trade garage or dealer to perform repairs, replacements, and servicing on our behalf. However, it is possible to carry out many routine maintenance tasks at home, like oil changes for example, although you may need to invest in some tools and materials to do so.
All modern cars have disc brakes at the front; and replacing a car’s front brake pads is one task that is relatively simple to carry out, although, you do need to take the time and care to carry the job out safely.
When you apply the brakes, pistons push the brake callipers which hold the pads against the brake discs, creating friction to slow the vehicle down.
Brake pads wear down as part of normal use and are usually replaced when your vehicle is serviced annually, or after a certain mileage is reached.
It’s very important to replace the brake pads when they near the end of their life as the car’s braking power reduces, you can also damage the brake discs which are expensive to replace.
It’s important to remember if involved in an accident, driving a vehicle which has not been properly maintained could invalidate your private or motor trade insurance policy.
Some cars have a light on the dashboard to warn drivers when the brake pads are getting worn. Other indications that it’s time to replace the pads are low brake fluid, a squealing sound when you brake, or the car pulling to one side when braking, this indicates uneven wear.
If there are no obvious signs and you are concerned about your brake pads, check the pads thickness, this will involve removing the wheels. The pads will need changing if there is less than 3mm of braking material left.
You should always replace both sets of front brake pads at the same time, just as you would replace vehicle tyres in pairs. You will find a choice of brake pad materials available to buy, these will include metal, synthetic, and ceramic, as well as performance pads designed to improve feel and braking power.
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The most important thing when making a purchase is to ensure the brake pads being fitted are compatible with the make and model of your car. Here is a step-by-step guide to changing a car’s front brake pads and the tools you will require:
1. Brake system cleaner aerosol
2. Wire brush
3. Floor jack
4. Jack/Axle stands
5. Screwdriver with flat head
6. Allen key set
8. Socket set
9. Torque wrench
13. Brake pads
14. Copper grease
Step by Step
1. Make sure the brakes are cold and that you have the correct tools for the job.
2. Raise the car on a jack then support the car on jack or axle stands.
3. Remove the vehicle wheel.
4. Clean the brakes using the degreaser, then remove the calliper.
5. Remove the pads from the calliper and examine the disc and brake lines.
6. Insert the new pads and replace the calliper and any clips.
7. Check the brake fluid level.
8. Refit the vehicles wheel.
9. Jack up the car, remove jack or axle stands and then lower.
10. Use the torque wrench to tighten up the wheel nuts.
That’s it, your car’s front brake pads are now changed, you will probably notice the difference straight away, happy motoring!