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Brake pads are the most important safety feature on a car so it’s vital that you replace them before they wear away. A qualified mechanic will be able to change your brake pads in about an hour but if you want to save money on labour, just order your brake pads from an online car parts supplier and do it yourself. All you need is a car jack and a few basic tools.

How Do Brake Pads Work?

Before you change any car parts on your vehicle, it’s important to understand how they work. On your car there is a circular plate attached to each wheel, known as a brake rotor. When you press the brake pedal, a set of heat-resistant pads, known as brake pads, are pressed against the rotar. The friction causes the wheel to slow down.

How Often Should You Change Your Brake Pads?

These pads eventually wear out, thus reducing your car’s ability to safely slow down. Most brake pads come with a ‘wear indicator’ which is a layer of metal that is revealed as the brake pads wear away. This metal layer scrapes against the rotar and creates a squealing sound when you hit the brake pedal. If you can hear squealing when you hit the brakes, it’s time to change the brake pads. It is recommended that you don’t wait for the squealing noise but instead periodically check the thickness of the brake pads. If any point of the brake pad is less than 0.3cm, it needs to be replaced.


Where Can I Buy Brake Pads?

The best place to buy brake pads is from an online car parts and accessories supplier. Online car products are generally cheaper and will be delivered straight to your door. There are specific brake pads to suit different car makes and models so make sure you choose the correct ones.

What Tools Do You Need?

  • Jack and jack stand
  • Lug wrench
  • C-clamp (or something to retract the piston)
  • Wrench (socket, open end or adjustable)
  • Brake Pads
  • Brake fluid

Step 1: Remove the Wheel

Make sure the car has cooled down. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel and then jack the car up. Place the car on a jack stand. Turn the steering wheel so that the wheel you are working on is angled in a suitable position. Completely remove the lug nuts and the wheel.

Step 2: Lift the Calliper

The brake calliper is held in place using slider bolts. Locate these, loosen them and take them out. Sometimes it is only necessary to take out the lower one. If the slider bolts are stuck, use WD40 to loosen them. The calliper should now lift up.

Step 3: Replace The Brake Pads

Memorise or take a photo of how the brake clips are holding the brake pads in place so that you will know how to replace them later. Remove the clips and slide the old brake pads out. Put the new brake pads in and reinstall the clips. If your brake pads came with new clips then use these instead of the old ones.

Step 4: Retract the pistons

Use a c-clamp to slowly and steadily push the pistons in. The brake fluid level should increase in the brake fluid reservoir; make sure that it does not overflow.

Step 5: Put Everything Back Together

When you close the calliper, ensure that the pistons don’t catch on the brake pads. Put the slider bolts back in and tighten them. Straighten the wheel and put the tyre and lug nuts back on. Lower the car back down and tighten the lug nuts.


This article was written by John Smyth who recommends MicksGarage for online car parts.