How to Change Brake Rotors on a 1998 Honda Civic

by Marion CobrettiUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Car jack

  • Jack stand

  • 8-inch C-clamp

  • Socket wrench set

  • Wire coat hanger

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench

Driving at high speeds and slamming on the brakes can warp the brake rotors on a Honda Civic. When the rotors get damaged, stopping the vehicle becomes difficult. A typical sign of warped rotors is the car skipping or lunging to a stop when you press the brake pedal. Warping causes uneven surfaces on the rotor, which look like small dips or valleys when viewed up-close. Changing the rotors on your 1998 Honda Civic can be done right at home. The repair should take 50 minutes or less to complete.

Apply the Civic’s emergency brake, then use a lug wrench the slightly loosen the lug nuts on the front driver’s side tire.

Raise the car seven inches from the ground with a suitable car jack. Slide a jack stand into position, on the right of the car jack, to help support the weight of the car. Remove the lug nuts from the tire and slide the tire off the hub, using both hands. Roll the tire to the side of your work area and place all of its lug nuts in a small cup, for safe keeping.

Place an 8-inch C-clamp around the body of the brake caliper. Wind the C-clamp shut until the piston at the rear of the inner brake pad is forced down into its bore hole. Do not over-tighten the C-clamp. Once you see that the piston appears level with its opening in the bore hole, stop winding and remove the C-clamp.

Remove the two bolts that hold the caliper bracket in place with a socket wrench. (You do not need to take out the brake caliper’s retaining bolts--just the two bracket bolts closest to the inner side of the hub.)

Straighten a wire coat hanger and then wrap it around the spring where your shocks are located. Slide the caliper and bracket off the rotor. Hang the assembly from the coat hanger using one of the available bolt holes. Do not hang the caliper and bracket from the brake line, because their weight will damage the brake line.

Remove the two screws that hold the rotor onto the hub, using a Phillips screwdriver, then slide the rotor off the hub with an outward motion.

Install the new rotor by reversing the removal steps. Tighten the caliper bracket bolts with a 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench set to 80 ft-lbs; tighten the tire’s lug nuts. Pump the brake pedal until you feel it firm up. Follow the preceding steps to change the remaining rotors.


If you have recently added brake fluid to the brake fluid reservoir located under the hood, remove half of it with a baster before you begin this repair. While you have the brake caliper removed, also check the brake pads for wear. Even if they appear in good condition, they’re more than likely damaged from the old rotor. Replacing them will cost a few extra dollars, but leaving even slightly damaged brake pads on your Civic will cost you more in the long run.

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