How to Change Brake Pads on Ford Ranger

by Jody L. CampbellUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Lug nut wrench

  • 1/2-inch-drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch-drive socket set

  • Extra-large C-clamp

  • Anti-seize graphite compound

  • Acid brush

  • Screwdriver

  • Rag

  • Metal coat hanger

  • Replacement pads with shims

The Ford Ranger and Ford Explorer use a similar braking system. The Ford Ranger has been around for many years as a compact truck alternative to the infamous full-size F150. The brake rotors on a Ranger (or other Ford trucks and SUVs) do not have to be replaced as often as the pads unless the rotors have incurred scoring or warping damage. Replacing the pads on the Ranger can be done right in the comfort of your own front or back yard.

Remove the hubcap (if applicable) and crack the front-wheel nuts loose with the lug nut wrench before lifting the Ranger.

Lift one side at a time with the jack and support the Ranger onto a jack stand.

Place the extra-large C-clamp over the caliper so the top of the C is against the inside of the caliper housing and the screw-drive of the clamp is against the outboard pad. Tighten the C-clamp to squeeze the caliper pistons into the bores. Most Rangers have dual piston calipers; you'll only be able to position the C-clamp against one of them. Compressing one piston fully will squeeze the pads enough to compress the other piston.

Locate the two caliper retaining bolts on the inside end of the caliper. Remove both of the bolts using the ratchet and a socket.

Remove the caliper. It will be loose since the pistons are compressed. Bend the metal coat hanger to create a makeshift hanger and support the caliper to the shock bracket.

Remove the old pads from the caliper bracket covering the rotor. Pry them out with a screwdriver if necessary.

Use the acid brush to spread the anti-seize graphite compound onto the upper and lower caliper bracket slots that the pads sit into on both sides. If some of the compound gets on the rotor, wipe it off with a rag.

Install the shims onto the backing plate of the pads (if not already done so). Shim kits come with aftermarket pads and when not already affixed to the backing plate, may require peeling off the inside plastic wrap and sticking the shim to the pad.

Install the pads into the caliper bracket. Wipe off any anti-seize compound that may slide onto the rotor from the pad ears sliding across the slots.

Place the caliper over the new pads and rotor. Wipe the caliper retaining bolts clean with a rag and apply a new coat of the anti-seize over the smooth section of the retaining bolt. Do not place any compound on the threads of the retaining bolt. Insert the bolts into the caliper and tighten with the ratchet and a socket. Do not over tighten.

Replace the wheel and wheel nuts, tighten the wheel nuts flush to the hub and then lower the Ranger. Re-tighten the wheel nuts. Repeat the steps for the opposite side.

Pump the foot brake pedal when finished. Compressed caliper pistons will not extend immediately under hydraulic pressure. Forgetting to seat the pistons forward against the pads will create a hazardous situation. The Ranger will not have a braking response until the pistons extend against the pads. Pump the pedal until you feel pressure against the brake pedal and it no longer drops to the floor.


Check the brake fluid level after you've pumped the brake pedal seat the pistons against the pads. Test drive the Ranger to make sure there are no noises or side effects from the brake pad installation.

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