How to Change Brake Pads? | Step-by-Step Guide

Brake pads are used in cars to slow down the vehicle and prevent accidents. They are also an important part of the braking system. Brake pads wear out over time and therefore need to be replaced regularly.

Here is how to change brake pads and what to avoid. Furthermore, we’ll discuss some common brake pad mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

You must know how to change brake pads because it can save lives if you do it right!

Brake pads are made of metal and have a rubber material on top. Brake pads are usually attached to the brake rotor, located in the center of the wheel.

It’s important to change your brake pads when they wear out because they can cause unpredictable braking and make it difficult for you to control your car.

Tools for changing brake pads

For this DIY brake pad replacement project, the tools you will need include a socket set, torque wrench, screwdrivers, drill, wire wheel, and C-clamps.

The steps described in this article are general steps that apply to most vehicles. If you do not feel confident doing the work, see our list of recommended repair shops.

Check your brake pads for wear immediately if any bad symptoms appear, and replace them.

You’ll need brake pads, rotors, brake fluid, brake cleaner, and torque wrenches.

The brake pad spreader kit will help you spread the pads evenly on your wheel.

The tool and torque wrench tighten or loosen bolts on your car’s brakes.

Required materials

Check your store or owner’s manual for the type of fluid you need to use.

High-temperature brake fluid such as:

  • Ate 700015 PlastiLube; or.
  • Permatex 24125 Ceramic Extreme Brake Parts Lubricant.

Anti-seize grease such as:

  • Permatex 80078 Anti-Seize Lubricant.

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner such as:

  • CRC Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner.

Metal coat hanger 2 foot hose or small diameter pipe (or turkey baster).

  • UTSAUTO windshield washer hose kit
  • Towels (or paper towels)

Mechanic’s gloves such as:

  • Mechanix Wear Original work gloves

Dust mask

The following materials are needed for this project:

  • Vinyl tubing
  • Aerosol brake cleaner
  • Anti-rattle clamps
  • Blue and red thread locker
  • Brake pads
  • Glass jar
  • Mechanic wire
  • Nickel anti-seize
  • Polishing pads

The materials should be selected according to the task to be done:

They are attached to the bike parts that can cause noise and prevent them from wobbling.

The brake pads prevent the bike from skidding when you put your foot on the pedal. When you stop, all the energy put into moving the bike will suddenly stop.

The glass jar can store brake cleaner and other cleaning products. It has a spout to pour the material into the appropriate area easily.

The mechanic’s wire is important because it will help you keep everything together while working on your bike. You may need to tighten or loosen bolts, adjust nuts or moving parts, and good tools make this process easier and faster.

Synthetic high-temperature brake grease is perfect for use on noisy or greasy surfaces like rotors and bearings (usually very dirty). This grease helps reduce friction and promote smooth movement during operation.


  • The brake pads must be replaced before you remove the wheel.
  • Ensure the car is securely raised and supported with a jack before starting work.
  • Cars supported only by a jack should never be worked on.
  • Get the right materials and equipment for the job.
  • Be prepared for possible complications.
  • Follow all instructions carefully to avoid further damage or injury.
  • Recover as soon as possible after the procedure.

How to change brake pads: Replacing the brake pads

Follow these steps to change the brake pads:

  • Release the parking brake.
  • Raise the vehicle.
  • Loosen the wheel nuts.
  • Lower the vehicle.
  • Loosen the brake caliper bolts.
  • Lower the vehicle.
  • Loosen the screws of the brake caliper.
  • Lower the vehicle.
  • Loosen the screws of the brake caliper.
  • Lower the vehicle.
  • Loosen the screws of the brake caliper.

Brake pads and rotors should be replaced every 40,000 miles on vehicles driven in city traffic.

Brakes should be inspected for signs of wear after a brake repair.

Do-it-yourselfers can replace brake pads and rotors on most newer vehicles with simple tools and knowledge.

It is recommended that both the brake pads and the rotors be replaced together.

To replace the brake pads, you will need to remove the wheel, caliper, and rotor.

Inspect the brake pads for rust or corrosion before replacing them.

The material of the brake pads may vary depending on the vehicle model. Therefore, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for instructions on how to replace a brake pad on a specific make/model.

Always use new brake fluid when replacing pads or rotors to avoid damaging other brake system parts.

Brake pads must be replaced when they show signs of wear or when the brake fluid leaks.

Brake pads should be replaced every 5000 miles or at least every 6 months.

It is unnecessary to flush the brake fluid unless the brakes have not been used for an extended period.

You will need tools and torque wrenches to replace the brake pads and tighten the bolts that secure them.

To avoid mistakes when replacing the brake pads, it is important to follow the steps below:

  1. Read and understand your vehicle’s owner’s manual before starting work on your car or truck; there may be special instructions for changing brakes!
  2. Have all the necessary tools and parts ready before starting the job.
  3. Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a mask when working with brake fluid; it is toxic and contains lead!
  4. Use a flashlight to inspect the brake pads for cracks or damage.
  5. Check the condition of the brake drums and shoes before replacing the pads.
  6. Remove the hubcap and loosen the front wheel lug nuts.
  7. Lift the vehicle using jacks.
  8. Locate the caliper bolt holes and remove the bolts holding the caliper.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the rear wheel.
  10. Hand-tighten the wheel nuts, be careful not to over-tighten them; only use a wrench if necessary.

Replacing the bicycle brake pads

Bicycle brake pads stop your bike when you apply the brakes. When brake pads are compressed, they reduce friction and bring your bike to a complete stop.

  • Bicycle brake pads can wear out, resulting in dangerous metal-to-metal contact.
  • Replacing brake pads is a quick and easy job that anyone can do with simple tools.
  • Bicycle brake pads should be replaced every two to three years, depending on usage.

Step 1: Remove the wheel

In order to replace brake pads on your car, you must remove the wheel.

Loosen each wheel nut two-thirds with a lug wrench and use a jack to lift the wheel off the car.

Generally, you will change at least the two front brake pads or the two rear brake pads, depending on how evenly worn your car is.

  • If the rims are aluminum and on studs, clean them before reinstalling.
  • Remove the wheel
  • Hang the caliper with a wire hanger
  • Do not put pressure on the flexible brake hose

Step 2: Inspect the system. (Repeat this every few weeks to check for wear.)

  • Check the brakes for wear.
  • Replace brake pads when 1.5 mm or less of brake material is left.
  • Be careful not to apply the brakes at this stage.

Step 3: Remove the pad retaining screw or bolt.

  • To remove the pad retaining screw or bolt, use needle-nose pliers to remove the pin carefully or have a ring ( if present).
  • Loosen the screw or slide the bolt out and remove it.
  • If you are already changing the rotors, you might as well change the pads.

Step 4: Remove the used pads

  • Remove the used pads from the caliper.
  • Remove the original shims and save them, as they will be used for the new pads.
  • Slide the replacement pads/washers into the caliper, ensuring all pinholes are aligned appropriately.
  • Tighten the torque wrench.
  • Step 5: Clean and inspect the brake.

  • Clean the caliper with a rag and rubbing alcohol.
  • Examine the rotor and the brake track on the rim.
  • Check the bolts or centerlock mounting ring for tightness.
  • Replace the pads if necessary.

Step 6: Replace the pads

  • Wear gloves to avoid contaminating the brake pads and causing brake noise.
  • Slide the new pad and tighten the set screw to hold it in place.
  • Check the brake direction indicator and carefully slide the pad in as needed.

Step 7: Reassemble the wheel and install the rotors.

  • Remove the old pads and embed them by pedaling to improve braking performance.
  • If your old pads were worn out or your bike has new, full-length pads, you must first check that the brake shoes are positioned correctly and that the pad is firmly seated on the rim brake track.
  • Always close the quick release on the caliper before installing new pads to ensure they are closer to the wheel.
  • Check the brake lever travel
  • Check the adjustment screws
  • Adjust the brake cable tension
  • To install a new wheel and embed the brake rotors, you must first remove the old brake rotors.
  • Use a wrench (or have a bike mechanic do it) to loosen the bolts that secure the wheel and bed.
  • Carefully pull out the old wheel and bed. Make sure you remember each part to reinstall it correctly next time.
  • Install the new wheel and bed by tightening the bolts in reverse order: Tighten one bolt first, then turn it counterclockwise another half turn; repeat the process with the second bolt.
  • You should avoid overtightening the bolts because this can cause the brake disk to crack.

Advantages of changing your brake pads

  • Changing your brake pads yourself is much cheaper than altering them by a mechanic.
  • Brake work can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Making the repairs yourself will save you money.
  • Changing brake pads is a relatively simple task that most people can do themselves with a few tools and knowledge of how brakes work.

How long does it take to change brake pads?

When replacing brake pads, keep in mind that several steps are involved.

  • Remove the wheels and calipers.
  • Remove the old pads and replace them with new ones.
  • Reinstall the brake calipers and wheels.
  • Check the calipers and wheels to make sure they are properly aligned.
  • Check the brake pads to make sure they are not worn.
  • Check the rotor to make sure it is not damaged.

How much the costs to replace brake pads.

Types of brake pads include ceramic, semi-metallic, and metal.

Ceramic pads offer the best braking performance but are often more expensive than other options and wear out faster than metal pads.

Whether you have a question about brake pads or about the different materials used, we can answer it. Just let us know.

Changing brake pads takes about 10 minutes.

The process involves removing the old pads, installing the new pads, and filling the master cylinder.

For replacement of brake pads, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Brake pads need to be replaced every 7,500 miles or when they reach their maximum thickness.

It takes about 30 minutes to replace the brake pads on most vehicles.

You will need a lug wrench, a jack, and a wheel chock.

The best time of day to replace brake pads is early in the morning, as there is less traffic on the roads at that time.

Wear protective clothing when changing brakes: eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask if necessary.

Do I have to change all four brake pads?

No, you do not have to change all four pads, and you can choose which ones you want to change and leave the other two as they are.

Brake pads need to be replaced in axle sets – so you’ll need a set for both the front and rear brakes if you do it yourself.

The rear disk brakes are more complicated and require a professional installation.

How to replace disk brake pads

Disk brake pads are the only brake pads recommended for disc brakes. Brake pads are designed to stop the rotation of the disc when the brake is applied, and they are designed to dampen braking effects and prevent rotational forces from acting on the disc.

Follow these steps to replace disc brake pads:

Disk brake pads require only five minutes of work and are cheap and easy enough always to have a spare set.

To learn more about disc brake pads, including how to choose the best material, we have created a separate buying guide.

Disk brake pads need to be replaced every 7,500 miles or when they show visible wear.

When replacing pads, be sure to use the correct size and pad for your bike’s disc brake system.

To remove the old pads, pry them off the rotor hub with a flathead screwdriver using light pressure while turning the wheel counterclockwise.

Place the new pads on the rotor hub and press down firmly with a slotted screwdriver until they are firmly seated. Be careful not to bump into or damage any metal parts of the bike when installing the pads!

Step 1: Removing the wheel

  • Park your vehicle on an apartment surface.
  • Raise the vehicle with a jack or scissor jack.
  • Loosen the wheel nuts with a pry bar or tire iron.
  • Remove the wheel from the hub and set it aside.

Step 2: Remove the old brake pads and open the brake piston.

  • First, remove the old brake pads and loosen the bolt and caliper brake.
  • Rotate the caliper away from the brake disk so you can install the new pads.
  • Use a vise to push the piston into the open position.
  • Use a wrench, screwdriver, or clamp to push the piston back into an open position if necessary.
  • Install the new brake pads and bleeder screw in front of the caliper.
  • Remove the old brake pads
  • Check the rotors for wear and deformation.
  • Replace the rotors if necessary

Step 3: Install new brake pads

  • To install new brake pads, remove the old pads by unscrewing the bolts.
  • There are usually two notches on each end of the new pads. Align them and press them into the tabs with a screwdriver.
  • Apply brake lubricant to the friction surfaces of the rotors and the brake pads, if you have any. Do not apply lubricant to the caliper bolt or other parts that contact the brake fluid.
  • If necessary, push back the piston on disc brakes using a special tool (Lisle’s 28600 Disk Brake Piston Tool).
  • Follow the procedure in step #6 to drain the fluid from the master cylinder reservoir.
  • If a brake pad is leaking, replace it with a new one.
  • If a brake pad is worn or damaged, replace it with a new one.
  • New brake pads must be installed in a specific order, and when you replace the pads, it is important to replace the entire set.
  • The standard drill bit for installing new brake pads is a 3/8-inch bit, but some vehicles require a 1/2-inch bit.
  • Applying the proper pressure when drilling into the brake rotors is also important. Too much pressure can cause damage and will result in poorer braking over time.
  • When installing new brake pads, always use an anti-seize lubricant on all contact surfaces between the rotor and pad.
  • Make sure to clean your brakes with a high-quality brake cleaner regularly if you want them to last as long as possible.

Step 4: Close Up the Caliper

  • Rotate the caliper back down into position.
  • Replace the screw and tighten it.
  • Operate the brake lever to see if the pistons retract, then turn the wheel.
  • Remove the wheel and insert a tire lever or screwdriver between the brake pads to reattach them properly.
  • The brake pads must be firmly seated on the rim brake track to ensure good performance.
  • The brake pads should also rest evenly on the rim from top to bottom.
  • It is OK (better, in fact) if the front of the pad touches the rim slightly earlier than the back. This is called toe-in and helps prevent shudder and brake noise.
  • If you feel your brakes are still dragging despite these instructions, you may need to adjust the brake cable tension on the cable mounting bolt on your caliper.
  • The photo shows a bike wheel.
  • The inner workings of the bike wheel are shown by cutting it in half.
  • A caliper is a tool used to measure the width of tires.
  • The caliper was replaced with a ruler, revealing its true purpose – measuring lengths.

Step 5: Reattach the wheel

  • Clean the wheel hub from rust and debris.
  • Install new anti-rattle clips and rubber boots.
  • Remove any rust from the brake caliper bracket.
  • Inspect the caliper bolts for corrosion and replace them as needed.
  • Remove the old anti-rattle clips and throw them away (cannot be reused).
  • Clean the caliper bolts with brake cleaner, check for corrosion, and then reinstall them.
  • Grease the bolts and install the rubber boots.
  • Clean the wheel hub
  • Clean the new rotors
  • Perform a second cleaning step

Step 6: Test the brakes

  • Test the brakes by applying and releasing them six to ten times.
  • Replace the brake pads if necessary.
  • Repeat the process for the other wheels.
  • The brakes need to be checked periodically to ensure they are working properly.
  • Check the brake pads, rotors, and calipers for wear and tear.
  • Be sure the fluid levels are correct (replace if necessary) and make adjustments as needed.
  • Test the brakes by applying pressure to the pedal in a straight line and see if the car comes to a smooth stop.

Replacing the brake pads and rotors

Brakes play a critical role in keeping your car safe. If you have ever had to replace your brake pads or rotors, this process is not easy.

A vehicle’s braking system consists of brake pads and rotors.

The brake system includes brake pads, rotors, disks, and brake lines.

If you drive with expired brake pads, you will likely damage your rotors, which may take some effort to remove. So be careful not to damage the caliper or brake line when removing the brake rotors.

Inspect the brake rotors for deformation, heat damage, or cracks on the surface and replace them if necessary. At this point, you can apply lubricant to the metal contact edges and the back of the pads. However, be careful not to get lubricant on the inside of the brake pads.

Ensure the vehicle is in neutral or park mode and pump the brakes 15 to 20 times to ensure the pads are seated properly. Refill the brake fluid level or follow the Bleeding the Brakes section to flush out the old fluid and replace it with new.

Repeat this procedure a few more times, gradually driving up to 35 or 40 mph (56 or 64 km/h).

These brake tests will ensure no problems with the brake pad installation, give you peace of mind when driving on major roads, and help you “set” the brake pads in place. 

The new pads may squeak a little, but you probably installed the brake pads backward if you hear a grinding sound of metal on metal.

If your brake pads or rotors are worn, you need to replace them.

There are several ways to do this:

  • If you replace the pads and rotors as a set.
  • Replace individual parts
  • or by converting to disc brakes.

The pads and rotors must be replaced together in order to work properly (the inside of each pad and rotor must face outward).

Safety first

  • Make sure that the surface of the car is dry and level.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves when lifting the car.
  • Use safe jacking points and jack stands to lift the car safely.
  • When cleaning your pet’s ears, make sure it is safe first.
  • Always use a cotton ball and warm water to clean your pet’s ears.
  • Do not use other liquids or solvents on your pet’s ears as they can damage them.

Check the level of the brake fluid

  • Raise the vehicle and remove the wheel
  • Remove the bolts and the brake caliper
  • Remove the old pads and rotor
  • Clean the mounting surface of the rotor
  • Clean the new rotor
  • Mount the new rotor
  • Mount the brake parts
  • Prepare the brake pads for installation
  • Install the new brake pads
  • Check the caliper and piston, then press them together
  • Install the brake caliper
  • Check the brake fluid reservoir
  • Pump the brakes
  • Recheck the brake fluid reservoir
  • Install the wheel and lower the vehicle.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining wheels.

How do you replace mechanical disc brake pads on bicycles?

Replacing brake pads on bicycles is a fairly simple process, but you must take your time and do it right. Before starting, take the wheel off the bicycle. Once the wheel is off, you can see the brake pads.

Most of the time, brake pads are held in place by two screws. Remove these screws and pull out the pads.

The new pads come with installation instructions, but you typically have to insert them into the slots on the brake and replace the screws. Reattach the wheel to the bike once the pads are in place and you are done.

How difficult is it to replace the brake pads?

Replacing the brake pads is not difficult, but the new pads must be the right size and type for your vehicle. In this case, the pads must have a slightly larger diameter than the original pads.

Changing brake pads is relatively easy and quick, but you should check with the professionals at your garage to see what they recommend for changing the brake pads on your car.

Tips for changing the brake pads

If you want to change your brake pads, you should keep a few things in mind. You’ll need a socket wrench and a screwdriver for the job, as well as the right tools. You will also need a brake pad spreader to help you install the new pads.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as the process may vary depending on the type of brake pads.

What you should keep in mind when changing your brake pads

When it’s time to change your brake pads, you should keep a few things in mind. Prior to starting any project, it is always best to read the manufacturer’s instructions. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start. The second thing to do is to get the right tools.

Dynamic friction vs. OEM brake pads.

On the market, brake pads come in many different types. The two most common types are dynamic friction and OEM brake pads. 

Dynamic friction brake pads are made of a harder material than OEM brake pads, allowing them to stop a car better and faster. 

However, they also wear out more quickly. OEM brake pads are softer material than dynamic friction brake pads. As a result, they last longer but are not as good at stopping a car quickly.

Frequently Asked  Questions (FAQs)

1. Which brake pads are right for you?

When selecting brake pads, a few things should be taken into account. The most important factors are the type of vehicle, driving conditions, and the driver’s personal preferences.

Some brake pads are better suited for high-performance vehicles, while others are better suited for everyday use.

Drivers who drive in stop-and-go traffic or do a lot of city driving may prefer brake pads that come to a stop more quickly. 

Drivers who travel a lot on the road may prefer brake pads that last longer and provide better braking performance at high speeds.

2. How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Brake pad life depends on the make and model of your car, your driving habits, and the type of brake pad. However, most brake pads last about 25,000 miles.

3. Can brake pads be replaced at AutoZone?

Yes, brake pads can be replaced at Autozone. The process is simple: remove the old pads and install the new ones.

Autozone offers a variety of brake pads, so it’s important to choose the right pads for your vehicle. The staff at Autozone will be happy to help you choose the right pads for your car.

4. What size tool do I need to change my brake pads?

The size of the tool you need to change your brake pads depends on the make and model of your vehicle.

However, most brake pads can be changed with a wrench and a screwdriver. Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts and the screwdriver to remove the caliper. Some cars require a socket wrench and a ratchet.

5. What size of vise do I need for brake pads?

When it comes to brake pads, the size of the C-clamp is important. You need a clamp that is the same size or smaller than the brake pad. If you take a too big clamp, it can damage the brake pad.

6. Do you need tools to change the brake pads?

This question can both be answered in the affirmative and the negative. Most brake pads can be changed without tools.

However, there are some exceptions. If your brake pads are attached to the caliper with a retaining clip, you will need a special tool called a brake pad spreader to remove them.

7. Do you need C-clamps to change brake pads?

No one can answer this question definitively, as it depends on what type of car you’re working on. In some cases, C-clamps may be necessary to fix the brake pads, while others may not be necessary.

Always check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or a reliable source to find out exactly what is required to replace the brake pads on your vehicle.

8. Is it cheaper to change the brake pads yourself?

There is no definitive answer to whether or not it is cheaper to change your brake pads yourself. Labor costs and DIY skills are a few factors that affect the overall cost, as well as the cost of brake pads.

It is cheaper to change brake pads yourself if you can do the work yourself. However, if you are not familiar with DIY work or do not have the necessary tools, it may be more cost-effective to take your car in for service.

Bottom line: 

Replacing your bike brake pads is a relatively simple process, but you should know a few things before getting started. Hopefully, this article proved useful for you.

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.