How To Change Brake Pads On A Pickup Truck

Changing brake pads is a repair job many car owners can do to save time and money. Replacing brake pads is simpler than replacing rear disc brakes, as it requires minimal tools and generally takes around four hours to complete, even if you are a novice.

Before beginning this project, it is important to have the necessary tools and supplies on hand. These include an open-end wrench and/or socket set, a set of pliers, WD-40 or equivalent lubricant, and new brake pads.

If you have past experience with basic repairs, this job should be relatively easy to complete; however, if you lack confidence, it could take significantly longer than the average four hours. If opted by professional services, various charges should be considered, such as labor costs or an additional charge for special components required for the repair.

Depending on the type of vehicle, this cost can vary greatly but would likely include one or more trips to the hardware store that would add to the total expense.

Here is How to Change Brake Pads on A Pickup Truck:

1. Remove Your Wheel

First, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Then, jack up the car and put a jack stand under the car’s frame. Lower the floor jack so it rests on the jack stand. Remove the lug nuts and take off the wheel. You can now safely access the brake assembly by reaching under the car.

2. Remove the Caliper

To access the brake pads, you must first remove the caliper. Start by securing the caliper with a bungee cord or similar device to avoid damaging any components while working on it. Then, use either an open-end wrench or a socket set to loosen and remove the bolts that attach the caliper to the steering knuckle. Once you’ve removed the bolts, carefully slide the caliper off the brake disc.

3. Then Remove the Slider Bolt

Locate the two slider bolts that hold the caliper in place. They are usually called “pins” on the inside of the car. The arrows in the photo above indicate where they are. Removing the lower bolt is typically sufficient. Although it may be lengthy, it will easily slide out once fully loosened.

4. Lift the Brake Caliper Upward

To pivot the brake caliper up, remove the bottom bolt. The hydraulic line, or rubber hose, will flex to allow this, so don’t disconnect any brake lines. If you need to disconnect a brake line, stop and seek professional assistance. Once you’ve reassembled the brakes, seek help if needed.

To determine if brake pads need replacement, inspect their thickness. Metal wear indicators are often present as small tabs that squeak when they touch the rotors. Even if these indicators are not yet in contact, brake pads are deemed worn out if their friction material measures one-eighth of an inch thick or less at any point.

5. Take Out the Old Pad

The brake pads are visible and held loosely in place by retaining clips. To remove them, simply slide out the old brake pads. A comparison of the new, thicker brake pad and the old, worn-down brake pad can be seen in the photo above.

6. Replace the Clips

New pads come with new clips, enabling easy sliding. Dispose of the old ones and use the new ones. No retaining screws are necessary as the clips snap into place. Ensure the left-handed and right-handed clips match up precisely as you replace them one by one.

Graphite-based grease is often provided with brake pads and can be applied to the clips of new brake pads to prevent noise, as shown in the accompanying photo. New pads usually come with new clips to make sliding easier.

Dispose of the old clips and use the new ones. The clips snap into place without screws. There are left-handed and right-handed clips, so replace them one by one and ensure they match perfectly.

7. Set Up the New Brake Pad

Installing the replacement pads is a straightforward process, but it’s important to note that the new clips may be tighter. Ensure that the ears of the new pads fit smoothly into the brake grease to ensure proper function.

The pistons press on the brake pads and apply pressure to the rotor, causing the car to come to a stop. The concept remains the same even if your car only has one piston per wheel. In order to install thicker brake pads, the pistons must first be retracted (pushed back).

DIYers often use C-clamps to retract pistons. Instead, we used a 2×4 and plywood to lever them back. This method pushes brake fluid back into the master cylinder reservoir through tiny passages, resulting in slow piston movement.

The 2×4’s width enables both pistons to be pushed in simultaneously to avoid one popping out. Most cars have one piston per caliper, simplifying things. Patience and steady pressure are crucial. We added a second plywood shim towards the end to fill the increasing gap. Avoid damaging the rubber boot and seal encircling the pistons.

8. Check Brake Fluid

Pushing the pistons back causes the brake fluid level to rise. Check the master cylinder reservoir frequently, especially when working on the second brake. Two calipers may increase fluid volume and cause overflow. Use a turkey baster to remove excess brake fluid if necessary. It is riskier if the fluid level is topped off during regular service visits.

The level decreases as pads wear and increases after replacement. As long as the level stays above “MIN,” everything is okay.

9. Put Back the Caliper and Slide Bolt

Retract the pistons before placing the caliper over the pads. The caliper should easily slip over the pads, but sometimes it can be tight. If the pistons catch on the pads, check that they are fully retracted. Then, reinstall and retighten the slider bolt. Finally, straighten the wheels, remount the tire, and tighten the lug nuts.

10. Repeat this process for the other side and Go for a Test Drive

Retract the piston on the other side of the front brakes. Keep an eye on the brake fluid level as it may be higher due to the new pads on one side. The fluid will rise more the second time. Avoid overflow as brake fluid is corrosive. Use a turkey baster if necessary. If the fluid level is below “MAX” when both sides are done, add fresh fluid.

Before driving, test the car under safe conditions to ensure it is working properly. Be cautious during the first few stops as the brake pedal may have a higher engagement point. You will adapt to this quickly. Your new brakes have thick pads to ensure safe stopping. Enjoy using them.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Can I Replace The Brake Pads Myself?

The answer to this question is yes – it is possible to replace the brake pads on a pickup truck yourself. However, some considerations need to be taken into account before attempting this task. Some of the most important things to consider include whether you have all the necessary tools and parts, know how to properly bleed the brakes, and understand the safety precautions for working around a vehicle’s brake system.

2. How Often Should I Replace The Brake Pads?

The answer to this question can vary based on the type of vehicle you own and how often you use it, as well as other factors such as the type of driving you do (city vs highway). Generally, it is recommended that you have your brakes inspected at least once a year and the pads replaced as needed. If you notice any squealing or grinding noises coming from your brakes, inspecting them immediately is best.

3. Do I Need To Bleed The Brakes After Changing Pads?

After changing the brake pads on a pickup truck, it is not necessary to bleed the brakes. Bleeding the brakes is only needed when air has entered the brake system and is causing a spongy feeling in the pedal. If you simply replaced brake pads, then no bleeding should be necessary. However, if the calipers were opened and new fluid was added during the brake pad replacement process, it is a good idea to bleed the brakes.

4. Can I Bleed Brakes By Myself?

Bleeding brakes are a maintenance task that is best left to a professional. This is due to the complexity of the process and the potential for injury or damage if done incorrectly. Bleeding brakes involve purging old fluid from the system and ensuring there are no air bubbles in the brake lines. Additionally, bleeding brakes require a special tool like a vacuum-assisted bleeder or pressure bleeder.

5. How Do You Bleed Brakes With ABS?

Bleeding the brakes on a vehicle with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) can be a bit more complicated than bleeding regular brakes. To successfully bleed ABS brakes, you must have a scan tool, vacuum pump, and pressure bleeder. When bleeding an ABS-equipped vehicle, the process is the same as any other vehicle. Pressurize the system by stroking the pedal, opening a bleeder, closing the same bleeder, and repeating.


If you are replacing the brake pads on a pickup truck, you don’t need to bleed the brakes. However, if the calipers have been opened and new fluid was added during the process, it is best to bleed the brakes for safety reasons. If you can follow the above steps attentively, changing the brake pad isn’t complicated.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.