What You Need to Know when Replacing Your Rear Brake Pads

There comes a time in motorists’ life when their brake pads wear out and have to be replaced. Before you go ahead and do so yourself, however, there are a few things that you’ll want to be aware of. Changing your rear brake pads can be a straightforward task, and even a fun exercise for anyone interested in learning more about their car. Outlined below is all the information you’ll need in order to successfully change your rear brake pads yourself.

Why Change Your Rear Brake Pads Yourself?

Car maintenance isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but learning how to change your car’s brake pads is simpler than you might think. Doing the job yourself could save you a lot of money; getting the job done by a mechanic at your local car garage would cost you around $250, and the turnaround time may leave you without your car for a few days. This is, of course, dependent on their work schedule, but being without your car for any length of time can be a great inconvenience. Furthermore, while saving yourself valuable time and money, you could also be learning a practical skill that could come in handy in the future.

What Preparation Should Be Done Before Replacing Brake Pads?

There are a few things to be done in preparation before taking to your toolbox and having at your car. Firstly, locate your car’s brake fluid reservoir, and remove enough brake fluid so that when you get to replacing the pads, the reservoir won’t overflow. The rear of your car will then need to be raised off the ground so that you have full access to the rear brake pads. In order to do this, you will need concrete blocks, some jack stands, and a strong jack with a reasonably high reach. Use the blocks to secure the car’s front wheels by placing them on either side of each wheel. Next, use the jack to raise the car up, and position it on to the jack stands. Once the car is properly elevated, you should then be able to remove the rear wheels, revealing the calipers in which your brake pads are housed.

What Materials and Equipment Are Needed to Change Brake Pads?

Along with the jack and the jack stands, there are a number of other tools you will need to change your brake pads. Firstly, you will need to have your new brake pads in hand, for a quick and easy replacement when the old ones come off. Brake pads will be available from your local car garage or automotive repair store; just tell them what year and what model your car is, and they’ll get you what you need. They’ll probably tell you this, but while you’re there, pick up some anti-squeak grease for your new brake pads, for optimum braking performance. A wrench will be required to remove and replace the lug nuts from your rear wheels. You should also have a can of brake fluid, and a turkey baster on hand (preferably one you no longer use.) Using the turkey baster, you can remove the old brake fluid from your car’s cylinder, and replace it with the new when the jobs done.

What Are the Steps to Changing the Rear Brake Pads?

Now that you’re fully prepared, we’re ready to get started. First, you’ll want to rotate the calipers so that they’re facing outwards. This will give you a better view of your primary work area. Next, remove the two metal pins that are holding the brake pads in place, and then remove the spring clip, which should come forward now that the pins are no longer restraining it. You can now reach in and remove the old brake pads. Before inserting your new brake pads, apply anti-squeak grease to the back of each pad. All you need to do now is slot in your new brake pads, and the job is done.

What Safety Precautions Should You Take?

When replacing your rear brake pads yourself, you should take great care to be safe at all times, especially when it’s your first time. Most importantly, the ground you’re working on needs to be firm and flat to ensure that your car remains perfectly still while you carry out the work. Once you’re happy with your spot, and your car is positioned on the jack stands, give the apparatus a gentle push to make certain that the foundations are steady. You should also have some disposable mechanics gloves, to protect your hands from possible injury or infection. These are available from any automotive store for around $10. Finally, test the brakes before replacing the wheels, to make sure they feel like they’re doing their job properly.

Being able to replace your brake pads is a valuable skill that will be of great use to you, again and again. It will not only give you a greater understanding of one of the most important functions of your car, but you might feel safer knowing that you replaced the brake pads yourself, and that the job has been done with the utmost care. If you have to purchase, any of the tools that are mentioned above in order to do the job, this may initially seem like an expense you could do without. In the end, however, you’ll almost certainly be glad you did