Simple Car Tips: Diagnose & Fix Your Brake Pads

No one can really argue the importance of having good brakes. The following tips will help you diagnose worn out brake pads and help you replace them if you feel mechanically inclined.

Signs That Your Brake Pads Are Failing

Your brake pads use friction to stop your vehicle. These pads are resistant to heat because of their disc formation, which allows air to cool them as they work. Brake pads are usually clamped on a caliper against the brake rotor. The only component of your braking system that suffers the most wear are your brake pads.

The following signs should help you find out if your brake pads are worn:

  • A squealing sound as you press down on your brakes
  • Vibrations under your car as you press down on your brakes
  • Your brake pedal will feel hard or spongy when you press down on it.
  • The brake light flashes on

These are just some of the signs that could indicate your brake pads are worn out. Remember that taking your car to your auto care specialist regularly may prevent these issues.

Replacing Your Brake Pads

You will need the following to replace your brake pads:

  • Mechanical gloves
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • C-clamp
  • Socket wrench
  • Turkey baster (to draw out brake fluid)
  • String
  • New brake pads that fit in your vehicle
  • Brake fluid

To change your brake pads, just follow the steps below:

  1. Work on a level ground. Lift one side of your vehicle with your jack, and sustain your car using jack stands.
  2. Remove one tire at a time, and use the steps below on each. This is important, so don't ignore this step.
  3. Remove the slider bolt or pin using your socket wrench. This slider bold is usually in the back of your caliper on the bottom of the brake system. You can use your owner's manual to locate this.
  4. The caliper should pop open. This should flex the hydraulic line enough to work on the brake pads. Reassemble your car if you believe you need to disconnect the hydraulic line. And seek professional help as you may be doing something wrong.
  5. Slide the brake pad off, and unclip the brake pad holder.
  6. Clip the new brake pad holder on, and apply some of the grease that comes with your new brake pad. Slide your new brake pad onto the clip.
  7. Remember the caliper that jumped upward? There are 1 or 2 pistons that need to be pushed back to allow the caliper to close. Use your C-clamp to push these pistons back. Remember to push the pistons at the same time if you have 2 pistons.
  8. Suck out some brake fluid using the turkey baster if you notice the level rising in the reservoir (to avoid spillage).
  9. The caliper should easily cover your brake pad if you retracted the pistons properly.
  10. Tighten the pin or bolt to the caliper, and reattach your tire. Repeat the process for every other tire one by one.

Remember, your brakes can save your life in a dire situation, so do not be afraid to take your brake pad replacement job to your auto care specialist such as G P Automotive if this procedure is too complicated or not ideal for you to do on your own.