How to Change the Brakes on a 2002 VW Beetle

by Chris Moore
brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from

You should change the brake pads on a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle every 60,000 to 80,000 miles. The replacement process depends on if you're changing the brakes on the front or the rear wheels. It can also vary slightly depending on the type of calipers the car uses. In any case, you must change all the brake pads at the same time.

Accessing the Brakes

Step 1

Use a turkey baster or other suction tool to siphon two-thirds of the brake fluid out of the master cylinder reservoir.

Step 2

Raise the front or rear end of the car--whichever end you are changing the brakes on--and remove both wheels.

Clean the brake assembly with brake cleaner, letting the residue drip into a drain pan.

Changing Front Brakes

Step 1

Depress the caliper piston into the caliper with a "C" clamp. Watch the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir and make sure it doesn't overflow.

Step 2

Disconnect the brake caliper from the disc by removing the caps on the guide pin bolts and unscrewing the guide pins with an allen wrench. You may also need to pry off the retaining spring with a flat screwdriver and unplug the wear sensor electrical connector.

Step 3

Remove the inner and outer brake pads from the caliper. On some calipers, you'll need to pry off the pads' spring clip or adhesive backing with a flat screwdriver.

Step 4

Peel the foil from the replacement calipers to expose their adhesive backing; if they have no adhesive, apply an anti-squeal compound to the backing plates.

Step 5

Install the pads into the caliper, starting with the inner one.

Connect the caliper back on the disc. Clean the guide pins and lubricate them with high-temperature grease before installing them back in the caliper, tightening them to 21 foot-lbs.

Changing Rear Brakes

Step 1

Hold the caliper slide pins with an open-end wrench while unscrewing the mounting bolts with another wrench. Remove the caliper and hang it somewhere secure with a length of wire.

Step 2

Pull the inner and outer brake pads from the caliper mounting bracket. Remove and replace the retaining springs from the mounting bracket, too.

Step 3

Apply anti-squeal compound to the new brake pads' backing plates, or peel back the foil on the plates if they have an adhesive backing.

Step 4

Install the inner and outer pads into the caliper mounting bracket.

Step 5

Retract the caliper piston by rotating it clockwise while pushing in on it. This requires piston rotating tools, which are available at many auto parts stores.

Step 6

Clean the caliper's slide pins, lubricate them with high-temperature grease and install them in the mounting bracket.

Connect the caliper and tighten the mounting bolts to 26 foot-lbs.


  • To seat the brake pad, press the brake pedal multiple times until it feels firm.

Items you will need

  • Siphon tool
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Brake cleaner
  • Drain pan
  • C-clamp
  • Open-end wrenches
  • Allen wrench
  • Flat-bladed screwdriver
  • Wire
  • Brake pads
  • Anti-squeal compound
  • Piston rotating tools
  • High temperature grease

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