Replacing brake pads and rotors–it’s not as hard as you think

No matter if you buy a new car, a pre-owned car, or lease a vehicle, maintenance is unavoidable. And at some point, the brakes will need to be replaced.

Although many will let a mechanic take care of the work, it’s not a terribly difficult process. Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is here to help anyone who may want to tackle the project on their own or with some supervision.

First and foremost, the car needs to be raised in order to gain access to the brake rotors and pads themselves. Be sure the car is level when raising it, and check the owner’s manual for the proper jacking points as they differ from vehicle to vehicle. Remove the wheels, and the brakes will be accessible.

Great, now to actually get to the rotors and brake pads, the brake caliper needs to be removed. A wrench should be used to hold the caliper pin in place and a socket wrench to remove the two bolts at the back of the caliper to gain access. However, make sure the caliper does not dangle or hang from the brake lines as this could cause damage. At this point, the pads can be removed as well. After removing the caliper bracket itself, the old rotors are all that will be standing in the way of some fresh stopping power.

The rotors may be snug, but they will come off with a bit of elbow grease, a screwdriver, and some light taps from a mallet. Before placing a new rotor on, ensure there’s no residue left on them with a quick spray of some handy-dandy brake cleaner. Then, install the new pads, replace the hardware, and the job is done.

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Of course, there are a handful of other things that should be checked or cleaned at this time, but many are optional. Jason cleans the rotor’s hub with a wire brush to remove some of the rust that has formed over time, for example. For more help and additional tips, check out Jason’s entire procedure in the video.

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