How to Eliminate the Front Brake Pads Dragging on the Rotorsby Allen Moore
Front disc brakes are made up of calipers, rotors and pads working together mechanically and hydraulically to bring your vehicle to a halt. Hydraulic force is applied to the caliper, which in turn compresses the pads onto either side of the rotor, which stops the vehicle. The caliper moves back and forth on caliper slides, which allow it to compress and retract based on the hydraulic forces applied to the caliper. If your pads are dragging on the rotor when the brakes are not engaged, it is time to take the brakes apart and examine them.
Set the parking brake, put on your safety glasses and loosen the lug nuts with the lug wrench.
Jack the front of the vehicle up with the floor jack so you can place it on jack stands. It is best to position the jack stands underneath the frame.
Take the lug nuts off the rest of the way by hand and pull the front wheels off the vehicle.
Put the drip pan under the brake assembly and spray the brakes thoroughly with the brake clean to remove as much brake dust as possible.
Remove the caliper bolts with the socket set and then pull the caliper back and away from the rotor by hand.
Remove the retaining clip from the rear of the caliper and slide the pads out.
Spray down the inside of the caliper with brake clean, making sure to remove all the brake dust from the caliper slide pins. If the caliper slide pins get too much brake dust built up on them, they will prevent the brake caliper from retracting properly, which causes your brake pads to drag on the rotors. If the caliper slide pins are corroded, rusted or damaged, replace them.
Lubricate the caliper slide pins with white lithium grease and then reinsert the brake pads and brake pad retaining clip.
Reinstall the brake caliper by reversing the removal steps and repeat steps four through nine on the opposite side.
Reinstall the wheels, lower the vehicle off the jack stands with the floor jack and then tighten the lug nuts with the torque wrench.
Road test your brakes at a slow speed on a road that has little or no traffic.
- If everything is installed properly and the correct parts have been used, the brake drag should now be eliminated. If it still exists, compare the existing parts to new parts specific to your vehicle on the chance that the existing brake pads or rotors are for a different application.
Items you will need
- Safety glasses
- Lug wrench
- Floor jack
- 2 jack stands
- Drip pan
- Brake clean
- Socket set
- White lithium grease
- Caliper slide pins (optional)
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images