Properly working brakes are something that every car needs. You have to make sure that they work as good as possible because this is the only thing that prevents you from crashing into the car in front of you. Many people believe that the braking system is complicated, but it’s not at all. As a matter of fact, it's a simple hydraulic system that translates the force applied by you at the braking pedal to clamping force at the wheel.
Most people decide not to change the brake pads because they are afraid that something goes wrong, and when they start driving, brakes won’t work. It sounds like a nightmare, right? That’s the reason why almost everyone prefers to pay and have it done by professionals.
There’s a lot of car maintenance things that you pay for, even though you could do them on your own. Changing brake pads is one of them. Usually, it costs around $50-$100 and takes up to 1-2 hours. But if you’re fed up with car maintenance costs, this is a great opportunity to save some money.
How often should you change brake pads?
According to experts, you should change brake pads every 50 000 miles. Of course, it also depends on various factors, for example, your driving style. If you don’t have to brake suddenly, and you don’t break that often at all, you can drive longer distances. But you will easily save a few hundred bucks if you always change the brake pads on your own.
And don’t worry. Replacing the pads sounds much more complicated than it actually is. People don’t even bother to open the owner's manuals to check if it is explained there. But much more often they have no idea how to do that. Fortunately, you won’t be one of them after you read this “how to change brake pads” guide.
How to change brake pads?
The very first thing you have to do is get new brake pads and rotors. If you’re not sure which type of pads you should pick, go for ceramic ones. They give you the best feeling of brake and last the longest.
Now that you have everything you needed, make sure that your car is cooled down. If you recently drove, wait some time, for the brake elements to cool down. Using the wrench, loosen the lug nuts for about ⅔ of the way. After that jack up the car, until you can easily remove the wheels. Put a brick or anything similar behind the wheels, which you didn’t loosen. It will prevent your car to move backwards or forwards. Also never rely on car jack only, secure it with something else, for example, jack stands.
When the car is raised, remove the wheels. Now you’ll have to remove the calliper bolts (usually 2 or 4 bolts secure it). Calliper is made of two pieces, and its purpose is to slow the wheel using hydraulic pressure. When you remove the bolts, pull the calliper upwards and hang it to the wheel well.
The time to change the brake pads has finally come. Remove the old pads. When you do that, pay special attention to how they’re attached. Most likely they won’t let go that easily, so you have to use a little force (but be careful not to damage anything). Now, put the new brake pads on. You can apply some brake grease on the back of the pads to prevent squeaking. Attach them the same way that old ones were installed.
Now replace the calliper, place it over the rotor and tighten the bolts. The last thing you need to do is put the wheels back on their place, and tighten the lug nuts using the star pattern to make sure that they won’t come off. Eventually, the time to start your car has come. Do this and pump the brake pedal several times to make sure that the brake pad is correctly installed. If it is, there’s the last thing to do. Go on a low-traffic street, and start driving. At first, drive 10 km/h and stop. If there are no problems, increase the speed and repeat this process a few times to make sure that you can safely slow down.
As you can see, changing the brake pads seems hard only in theory. The whole process won’t take you more than 1-2 hours, and contrary to popular belief, it’s very easy car maintenance that you can do even if you don’t have much knowledge about the cars.