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How to Change Rotors on a 2005 GMC Canyon

by Jule Pamplin

The GMC Canyon (as well as the Chevrolet Colorado) come equipped with ABS disc brakes. The braking system is comprised of brake pads and rotors, all powered by brake fluid forced through the brake lines when the brake pedal is depressed. The brake pads should be inspected and replaced when necessary to ensure consistent braking performance. Equally important is regular maintenance of the brake rotors. Discs that are found to be warped or scored beyond the point when resurfacing is an option should be replaced as soon as possible.


Park the Canyon on a flat stretch of road or driveway and open the hood.


Remove the master cylinder cap located near the firewall on the right side of the GMC's engine. Remove half of the brake fluid in the reservoir with a turkey baster. Lay the cap over the container.


Loosen all of the lug nuts on the wheels relating to the rotors you seek to replace. Turn the lug nuts one-quarter turn with a lug wrench or 21-mm socket and breaker bar.


Place the jack beneath the truck's frame and lift the vehicle. Place jack stands beneath the axle.


Remove the two caliper pins on the back side of the caliper with a 13-mm wrench.


Lift the caliper from the caliper bridge and suspend it above the brake assembly with a bungee cord or wire coat hanger.


Remove the brake pads from the caliper bridge. Use a flat screwdriver to pry the pads from the bridge.


Remove the two bolts on the back side of the caliper bridge with a 15-mm socket and ratchet.


Lift the bridge from the rotor and set it aside.


Remove the rotor from the wheel bolts by pulling it straight from the wheel hub. Use a hammer to strike the center section of the rotor if it is stuck to the hub by rust.


Clean the area behind the rotor with brake parts cleaner and a wire brush.


Clean the new rotor with brake parts cleaner and a clean cloth towel. Remove all of the packing oil and excess brake cleaner before installing the new rotor.


Place the new rotor onto the wheel bolts.


Return the caliper bridge over the rotor and screw in the bridge bolts with the 15-mm socket and ratchet.


Apply anti-squeal brake grease to the back panels of the new brake pads. Place the new pads into the slots of the caliper bridge on either side of the new brake rotor.


Place the channel lock pliers over the caliper piston and the back of the caliper. Squeeze the piston into the caliper to allow room for the thicker brake pads and rotor.


Place the caliper back around the new brake pads. Screw in the caliper pins and tighten them with the 13-mm wrench.


Return the wheel to the wheel bolts and screw on the Canyon's lug nuts by hand.


Lift the truck and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the lugs with the lug wrench or 21-mm socket and breaker bar.


Repeat steps 4 through 18 for each of the remaining rotors that you need to replace. Return to the Canyon's engine compartment.


Lift the master cylinder cap and place a funnel into the reservoir. Pour DOT-3 brake fluid into the reservoir until the container is full. Remove the funnel and replace the master cylinder cap.


Start the Canyon's engine.


Press the brake pedal three times, holding the pedal down for five seconds after the third depression. This returns the pistons to their proper position against the brake pads.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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