How to Easily Replace Mountain Bike Brake Pads in Five Steps

Mountain biking is a great way to spend a Saturday, but it's even better when you don't have to worry about your brakes.

Unfortunately, brake pads wear down over time and eventually need to be replaced. Here's how to do it yourself.

How to replace your mountain bike brake pads?


Step 1: Remove the existing brake pads

You should always wear safety gear when working on your bike. Wear gloves, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and goggles. If you have a helmet, put it on first.

Remove the front wheel of your bike by lifting the handlebars. Then, loosen the bolts holding the frame together. Once the frame is loose enough, lift off the fork. Next, remove the seat post clamp. Finally, pull the rear wheel off.

Remove the brake caliper from the brake rotor. The caliper has two bolts that hold it onto the rotor. Use a wrench to unscrew both bolts. After removing the caliper, use a screwdriver to pry the caliper away from the rotor. Be careful not to damage the rotor while doing this.

Remove the brake pads from the rotor using a pair of pliers. Place one pad on top of the other. Ensure each pad's center hole aligns with the rotor's corresponding holes.

Once all four pads are removed, place them into a plastic bag. Store them somewhere safe until you get home.

Step 2: Install new brake pads

When you get home, take the plastic bags containing the old pads outside. Put them in a trashcan.

Place the new pads on top of the rotor. Align the center holes of the pads with the corresponding holes in your rotor. Tighten the bolts holding the caliper back onto the rotor.

Install the seat post clamp. Reinstall the rear wheel. Lift the front wheel back onto the bike.

Step 3: Adjust the brakes

Adjust the brakes so that they work correctly. To adjust the brakes, follow these steps:

Pull the lever down towards you. Pulling the lever down causes the brake pads to move closer to the wheel's rim.

Push the lever up towards you. Pushing the lever up moves the brake pads further away from the wheel's rim, making the brakes less effective.

Repeat step 2 until the brakes feel comfortable. When you find the right setting, lock the levers in place.

You should read this: How to Adjust Bike Brakes

How often should you replace your mountain bike brake pads?


There isn't a right answer to this question, but there are some things you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to replace your brake pads.

First, if you live in a cold climate, you'll probably want to replace your brake pads more frequently than those in warmer climates. You'll want to wait longer between replacements if you live in a very hot area. You should replace your brake pads every 6 months or so.

Second, if you ride a lot, you'll want to replace your brake pad sooner rather than later. If you only ride once or twice a week, you could wait up to a year before changing your brake pads.

Finally, if you ride in wet conditions, you'll want to change your brake pads more often than usual. Wet weather makes brake pads stick together and cause problems.

How much does it cost to replace your mountain bike brakes?

Assuming you're not planning to do the work yourself, the cost of replacing your mountain bike brakes will depend on a few factors.

First, the type of brake you have - hydraulic or cable-actuated - will affect the price. Hydraulic brakes are generally more expensive than cable brakes, but they also tend to be more durable and require less maintenance.

Second, the make and model of your bike will impact the cost, as some bikes use specialty parts that can be difficult to find or replace.

Finally, your local bike shop's labor rates will play a role in setting the final price tag. So, if you're looking to save some money, it's best to shop around and compare prices before you have your brakes replaced.

What signs does your mountain bike indicate that the brake pads need to be replaced?

Here are some common symptoms that indicate that your mountain bike brake pads need to be changed:

Slippery braking - When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, the brake pads rub against the rotor, causing friction. As long as you don't feel any heat coming from the brakes, you shouldn't experience any issues.

However, if you feel like the brakes aren't working as well as they did, it may be time to check them out.

Brake squealing - If you hear a loud screeching noise while applying pressure to the brake pedal, you may have worn out brake pads. This means that the brake pads are rubbing against the rotor, which causes excessive wear.

Brake dragging - If you find that your brakes are dragging after riding for a short period, it may mean that your brake pads are worn out.

Brakes locking up - If you suddenly stop pedaling and the front wheel starts spinning freely, it may be because one of your brake pads has become stuck to the rotor. In this case, you will need to dismount the bicycle and try to free the brake pad by pushing it away from the rotor.

What are the different types of mountain bike brake pads?

Mountain bike brake pads come in two basic varieties: cartridge-style and disc-style. Both styles work similarly, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is an overview of both types of brake pads:

Cartridge-Style Brake Pads

These brake pads have a metal core wrapped around a plastic shell. They are designed to provide maximum braking force without overheating the rotors. Cartridge-style brake pads are usually found on older bicycles.


They're inexpensive.

They're easy to install.


They tend to wear down quickly.

Disc-Style Brake Pods

Disc-style brake pads are made with steel discs instead of a metal core. The discs are attached to a backing plate, which provides additional strength and durability. Discs also allow for better cooling of the rotors.


The discs help prevent overheating.

They last longer than cartridge-style brake pads.


You must remove the entire brake assembly to replace the pads.

How to replace mountain bike brake pads? FAQs:

1. What tools do I need to replace brake pads?

There are a few tools that you will need to replace brake pads. The first is a jack and the second is a lug wrench. You must use these two tools to change your vehicle's brake pads.

The next tool you will need is an impact driver, which removes the bolts from the caliper bracket, which holds the brake calipers in place.

2. What are the benefits of replacing brake pads?

Some other benefits of replacing your brakes pads include:

  • Improved braking performance
  • Reduced risk of accidents
  • Reduced risk of damage to your car's brakes
  • Improved fuel efficiency

3. What are the types of brakes that cannot be replaced?

Two types of brakes cannot be replaced:

1. Hydraulic Brake

2. Drum Brake

4. How often should brake pads be replaced?

Brake pads should be replaced every time they brake pads are worn down. If you are unsure, have a mechanic check it out for you.

5. Why is it important to replace brake pads regularly?

Brake pads are one of the most important components of your car. They are responsible for slowing down your vehicle in an emergency. Brake pads have a finite life span and must be replaced when they wear down to a certain point.

If you neglect to replace your brake pads, you will have less braking power, and it will take longer for your brakes to engage - this could lead to a serious accident. Replacing brake pads is not just about safety but also fuel efficiency and performance.


It is important to know how to replace your mountain bike brake pads. This is a simple process that anyone can do with the right tools. Follow the steps in this article, and your bike will ride smoothly.

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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.