How to Change the Front Brake Pads on a Pontiac Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Mustang car features two types of front brake calipers. Replacing the front brake pads, however, still employs the same procedure. Some of the Mustang car used a single hydraulic piston caliper to extend outward on braking demand. Other Mustang car featured dual (two) piston calipers. The more pistons on the caliper applies a degree of better and more even braking power. However, it also adds to the odds of more frequent failure. When pushing back the pistons, always inspect the dust boots and release any trapped air inside making bubble-shaped pockets on the boots.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Front Brake Pads on a Pontiac Grand Am

Remove the Front Brake Pads

Open the hood and remove 2/3 of the brake fluid into a suitable container from the reservoir of the brake master cylinder using a clean turkey baster. Leave the reservoir cap loose and place one or more shop rags around it to catch any fluid spills as you replace the brake pads.

Loosen the wheel lugs on both front wheels using a lug wrench.

Raise the front of your Grand Am with a floor jack and support it on jack stands.

Remove the wheel lugs and wheel/tire assemblies.

Reinstall two of the wheel lugs finger-tight to hold the brake rotor onto the hub. Work on one wheel assembly at a time.

Unscrew the bottom brake caliper mounting bolt using a ratchet and socket and remove the pin bolt.

Swing the brake caliper upwards and, if necessary, tie it to the suspension with wire to hold it in place.

Remove the inboard and outboard brake pads and pad retainers by hand from the brake caliper mounting bracket.

Install the New Front Brake Pads

Spray the brake assembly, wheel hub and rotor with brake parts cleaner. Wipe the components using clean, lint-free towels.

Position the old inboard brake pad against the caliper piston.

Place the piston into its bore using a large C-clamp. Then remove the clamp and inboard brake pad.

Install the new brake pads and retainers onto the brake caliper mounting bracket.

Untie the brake caliper from the suspension and swing the caliper over the new brake pads and rotor.

Secure the caliper pin bolt by hand then tighten the bolt using the ratchet and socket.

Remove the two wheel lugs from the hub studs and install the wheel/tire assembly.

Install the wheel lugs and tighten the lugs using the lug wrench.

Install the other set of brake pads on the opposite wheel assembly following Step 6 from the previous section through Step 8 of this section.

Lower your Grand Am using the floor jack.

Refill the brake master cylinder reservoir with new brake fluid to the Full level. Tighten the reservoir cap and remove the shop rag(s).

Depress the brake pedal several times to seat the new pads onto the brake rotor.

Items you will need

  • Container

  • Clean turkey baster

  • Shop rags

  • Lug wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands (2)

  • Ratchet

  • Socket

  • Wire, if necessary

  • Brake parts cleaner

  • Clean lint-free towels

  • Large C-clamp

  • New brake fluid

 How to Change the Front Brake Pads on a Ford 500

Loosen the front right tire's lug nuts using the tire iron. Raise the right front side of the Ford 500 using the jack. Place the jack stand under the frame rail and let the 500 down on the jack stand. Remove the lug nuts and pull the right front tire and wheel off the wheel hub.

Remove the bolt on the upper front side of the caliper, using the ratchet set. That is the securing bolt holding the brake caliper in place on the rotor. Once the bolt is removed, pull up on the brake caliper to remove it from the rotor.

Pry the metal clips outward using the flat-head screwdriver. Pull the brake pads out of the brake caliper.

Insert the brake compression tool into the brake caliper. Slide the metal plate on the compression tool into the caliper on the opposite side of the push bolt inside the caliper. Twist the handle on the compression tool to push the bolt back into the caliper.

Insert the new brake pads into the caliper in the same spot and position as the old ones. Replace the caliper to the rotor. Replace the securing bolt to the rotor and tighten the bolt using the ratchet set.

Replace the tire and wheel on the hub. Replace the lug nuts to the tire and hand-tighten them. Lower the right side of the 500 to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts using the tire iron.

Repeat all of the above steps to change the brake pads on the front left side of the Ford 500.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Ratchet set

  • Brake compression tool

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • New brake pads

 How to Change Front Brake Pads on PT Cruisers

Lift the front of the PT Cruiser with a two-ton or greater capacity jack. Place jack stands beneath both front lower control arms to support the wheels off the ground. Remove both front wheels with a wheel lug wrench. You can set the tires on their backs near the car if you would like to sit on something other than the ground while working on the brakes.

Remove the two caliper bolts from one of side of the PT Cruiser. The caliper bolts are on the rear of the caliper at the top and bottom corners. Use a three-eighths-inch ratchet and socket to remove the bolts.

Place a pry bar against the top of the rotor, and the caliper. Pry gently on the caliper, until it moves slightly. Do not remove the caliper at this moment. Place the pry bar in the opening on the back side of the caliper, between the rotor and the caliper piston. Push the handle of the pry bar away from the car in order to compress the piston. Remove the caliper completely once the caliper piston is compressed.

Set the caliper on the lower control arm. Do not let the caliper hang freely, or it could tear or rupture the rubber brake line leading to the caliper from the body of the car. Remove the old brake pads from the caliper bracket.

Lubricate the caliper slide rails with a tub of caliper grease and an applicator brush where the old pads were sitting. Lubricating the brake parts prior to installing new parts will help ensure even braking and no jammed parts. Install the new brake pads onto the caliper bracket by hand. Lubricate the back sides of both brake pads on the metal shim plate. This will reduce initial brake dust buildup and new brake squeaking.

Push the caliper slide tubes out of the caliper. The slide tubes are metal tubes with rubber grommets at each end. Push the tubes until they protrude from the back side of the caliper, and remove by hand. Dip the caliper slide tubes into the tub of caliper grease to thoroughly grease them. The slide tubes are what the entire caliper moves back and forth upon. If not properly lubricated, the slide tubes will cause the caliper to seize. Reinstall the tubes once they are properly lubricated. Push the tubes flush with the front or inside of the caliper, facing the caliper bracket.

Install the caliper over the new brake pads and the rotor. Install the caliper mounting bolts and tighten them between 60 to 80 foot-lbs of torque. Spray the entire brake assembly down with aerosol brake cleaner to remove greasy fingerprints from contact surfaces like the rotor face.

Repeat Steps 2 through 7 to complete the second side of the vehicle. Reinstall the wheels and tighten the lug nuts only when you have double-checked all of the caliper mounting bolts for security.

Lower the vehicle and tighten all front lug nuts between 90 and 100 foot-lbs of torque. Get in the driver's seat of the vehicle. Pump the brake pedal between 15 and 20 times before starting the engine or trying to drive the vehicle. It is best to pump the brakes right after the project is complete, lest you forget and possibly get into an accident.

Items you will need

  • 2-ton or greater capacity jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set

  • Small pry bar or slotted screwdriver

  • 1-tub caliper grease and small applicator brush (artist paintbrush)

  • aerosol can of brake cleaner

 How to Replace the Front Brake Pads on a Jeep Commander

Apply the parking brake to the Commander on a flat, hard surface. Release the hood latch.

Open the hood and remove the master cylinder cover. Siphon out 1/3 of the brake fluid from the master cylinder and discard the old fluid. Replace the cap tightly. This will prevent the master cylinder from overflowing when the caliper pistons are compressed.

Crack the front lug nuts loose with the lug nut wrench 1/8 of a turn and then lift one side of the Commander with the jack. Secure the front side of the Jeep onto a jack stand and then repeat this procedure for the other side so the front axle is safely suspended.

Finish removing the lug nuts and then remove the wheels.

Remove the upper and lower caliper pin bolts with a ratchet and appropriate socket.

Use a slotted screwdriver to pry the caliper off of the brake pads and rotor. Hang the caliper to the front chassis on a caliper hanger or hook so it will not damage the brake hose.

Remove one of the pads from the caliper bracket and set it against the caliper piston. Place the C-clamp drive on the pad and the top of the clamp on the caliper housing and tighten the clamp until the piston bottoms out inside the caliper piston bore.

Remove the remaining pad and then inspect both sides of the rotor.

Use a small wire brush to clean the surface of the caliper bracket where the pad tabs sit inside and then apply a small amount of silicone lubricant from the tube supplied in the replacement brake pad set box. Be sure to clean and lubricate the lower and upper seats on the caliper bracket.

Install the shims if applicable. Most quality pad sets will feature staked-on shims, but if they're stick-on shims, peel the protective paper and apply the shims to the backing plate of the pads.

Insert the pads into the caliper bracket and then remove the caliper from the hook and replace it over the pads and rotor. Apply a light coat of the pad lubricant to the non-threaded section of the caliper pin bolts and align them in through the caliper and onto the knuckle. Tighten the bolts to 45-foot pounds with the torque wrench and a suitable size socket.

Repeat Steps 5 through 11 for the other side and then replace the wheels and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can with the Commander suspended. Lower the SUV and then re-tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern with the torque wrench set at 100-foot pounds and a suitable size socket.

Pump the foot brake pedal several times to push the caliper pistons back out from the bores and seat the new pads against the rotors. Once the pedal feels firm, recheck the brake fluid in the master cylinder and top it off with new brake fluid if necessary. Test drive the Commander for proper braking operation.

Items you will need

  • Vehicle jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Torque wrench

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • 6-inch C-clamp

  • Slotted screwdriver

  • Small wire brush

  • Brake fluid siphon

  • Brake fluid

  • Caliper hanger or hook

  • Replacement brake pad set with shims and silicone lubricant

 How to Replace the Front Brake Pads on a Saturn Ion

Place the Saturn Ion in gear or "Park" on a flat surface and apply the parking brake.

Crack the front lug nuts loose on both front tires using the lug wrench. Do not turn them more than a half-turn counterclockwise. Just loosen them enough to free them from the hub of the vehicle.

Lift each front end of the Ion with the car jack and place a jack stand under each front rocker panel or frame rail and continue to remove the tires.

Place the key in the ignition and turn the key one click forward to unlock the steering wheel. Turn the steering wheel so the front caliper and knuckle assembly of the first wheel having the pads replaced is extended outward past the fender well, then turn the ignition key back to the "Off" position. Repeat this step for the other wheel when finished with the first one.

Remove the lower lock pin on the caliper with a box-end wrench.

Use the pry tool or screwdriver to pivot the caliper upward and rest it on top of the knuckle assembly.

Remove the old pads (inner and outer) and remove the upper and lower pad clips on the caliper bracket bolted to the knuckle. (Use the pry tool or screwdriver to carefully pry the clips off the bracket without bending them.) Some pad sets have replacement pad clips, but not all do. If the replacement brake pad set does not supply replacement clips, clean the old ones thoroughly with brake-parts cleaner spray and a small wire brush.

Install replacement pad clips or insert the cleaned original ones back onto the upper and lower portion of the caliper bracket. Apply a level coat of high-temp brake lubricant to the clips where the tabs on the pads will contact them. Wipe any lubricant off the rotor, or rotate the rotor away from the caliper to expose it and spray the rotor with the brake-parts cleaner spray to wash off (on both sides) any lubricant that gets on the surface of the rotor.

Insert the new pads (inner and outer) into the caliper bracket.

Compress the piston of the caliper with a C-clamp until it is fully seated inside the caliper bore. Inspect the rubber piston boot and pinch and lift any area that looks distorted to release any trapped air from the boot. The boot should sit slightly below the piston and be even all the way around the piston. Pivot the caliper downward over the pads and replace the lower lock pin. Tighten the pin to 27 foot-pounds with the torquing ratchet and a socket.

Replace the wheels and lug nuts. Tighten the nuts in a crisscross pattern until they are tight to the hubs as much as is possible with the front axle raised.

Lower the Ion back to the ground and then torque the lug nuts (employing the same crisscross pattern) with the ratchet set between 85 to 95 foot-pounds and a suitable socket.

Pump the brake pedal several times until it feels firm. Release the parking brake and test-drive the Ion.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Car jack

  • Jack stands

  • Box-end wrench set

  • Small pry tool or flat-head screwdriver

  • Brake-parts cleaner spray

  • Small wire brush

  • High-temp brake lubricant

  • Replacement pads

  • C-clamp (4-inch or larger)

  • Torque ratchet (foot-pound) and socket set

 How to Replace Front Brake Pads on a 2000 Ford Mustang

Remove and discard half the brake fluid from the master cylinder in the engine compartment (driver's side firewall) with the brake fluid baster. Replace the cap of the master cylinder.

Apply the parking brake, and then loosen the front wheel lug nuts (both tires) with the lug nut wrench.

Hoist the front end of the Mustang up (one side at a time) with the jack, and then lower the jack so the car is supported onto jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

Remove the clip, washer and caliper locating pin (dual caliper piston) with the hand wrench, or remove the caliper bolts with the wrench on single-caliper pistons.

Pry the caliper and pad assemblies off of the rotor gently with a small pry tool and use the length of cord to tie (support) the caliper from the front suspension so it does not dangle from the hydraulic brake fluid hose (attached to the calipers).

Remove the outer and inner brake pads from the calipers. On single-piston calipers, also remove the rattle clip.

Brush the surface of the brake caliper mount and brake caliper with a wire brush to remove brake dust, rust and other corrosives.

Compress the pistons of the calipers inward by placing an old pad (removed) against the pistons and use the large C-clamp to tighten against the inner housing of the caliper and against the backing plate of the old pad. Tighten the clamp fully to press the pistons fully into their bores.

Apply an even coat of silicone brake grease to the matting surfaces of the brake caliper and caliper mounts.

Install the inner pads into the brake calipers first by pushing the clips into the hollow pistons. Install the outer pads last by clipping on the wing clips to the outer caliper housing.

Replace the calipers (after removing the cords) and pads assemblies by reversing the removal procedure respectively. Tighten the locating pin or caliper bolts with the wrench.

Replace the wheels and lug nuts, and tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern with the lug nut wrench.

Use the jack to raise the front end up (one side at a time) high enough to remove the jack stands.

Torque the lug nuts in a star pattern with the torque wrench (set to 100 foot-ibs) and a socket.

Climb into the driver's seat, and pump the brake pedal until it feels firm.

Check and add brake fluid (DOT-3) to the master cylinder to top it off if necessary. Release the parking brake and test drive.

Items you will need

  • Brake fluid baster

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack

  • Two jack stands

  • Hand wrench set

  • Small pry tool

  • Two lengths of cord (18 inches or more)

  • Large C-clamp

  • Wire brush

  • Silicone brake grease

  • Replacement brake pad set

  • Torque wrench and socket set

  • DOT-3 brake fluid

 How to Replace the Front Brake Pads on a KIA Sephia

Park the Sephia on level, paved ground. Place one brick in front of one front tire, then place another brick behind one of the rear tires.

Crack the four lug nuts loose on the left front tire using the tire iron. Place the floor jack saddle under the front left frame rail, then lift the Sephia high enough to place a jack stand under the frame rail next to the floor jack. Leave enough room to allow the floor jack to lower so the weight of the Sephia will be placed on the jack stand. Finish removing the lug nuts, then remove the tire.

Carefully pry off the outboard pad retaining spring from the outside of the caliper using a straightedge screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or alter the spring so you can reuse it.

Remove the two caliper guide pin bolts using a suitable metric wrench. Use the screwdriver to pry the caliper off the rotor, then remove the pads from the caliper brace. Rest the caliper on top of the backing plate so it does not dangle from the rubber brake hose.

Clean the surface of the caliper brace where the tabs of the pads sit--upper and lower--using a small wire bristled brush. Apply a light coat of brake lubricant to the same surfaces just cleaned with the wire brush. Use a mechanics acid brush to spread the lubricant, being careful not to contact the surface of the rotor.

Install the shims onto the backing plates of the pads (unless they're staked on with rivets) and then install them onto the caliper brace.

Compress the piston of the caliper using a large set of channel locks. Compress it slowly and thoroughly until the piston is fully receded into the piston bore. Place the caliper over the pads and rotor. Apply a light coat of lubricant to the guide pin bolts and align them into place. Tighten the guide pin bolts, then replace the outboard pad retaining spring.

Replace the wheel and lug nuts and tighten them to 80 foot pounds using a torque wrench and a suitable socket. Tighten the lug nuts snugly first and then lower the left side of the Sephia to use the torque wrench properly.

Repeat steps 2 to 8 for the right front wheel of the Sephia.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand(s)

  • Tire iron

  • Metric wrench set

  • Brake lubricant

  • Small wire bristled brush

  • Mechanics acid brush

  • Large pair of channel locks

  • Straightedge screwdriver

  • Replacement pads with staked or stick-on shims

  • Two bricks

  • Torque wrench

  • Metric socket set

 How to Change the Front Brake Pads on a 2002 Windstar

Remove the lug nuts on the left front tire using the tire iron. Place the lug nuts where you will not lose them. Raise the front left side of the Ford Windstar using the jack and rest the front end onto jack stands. Pull the front left tire off of the frame of the Ford Windstar and lay the tire aside flat on the ground.

Remove the securing nut on the right and left outer side of the brake caliper using the ratchet set. Place the securing nuts in the same place as the tire lug nuts. Pull upward on the brake caliper to remove it from the brake rotor.

Locate the two metal retaining clips on the right and left side of both brake pads inside the brake calipers. Pry the two metal retaining clips away from the caliper to release the the brake pads from the caliper.

Pull the brake pads from the brake caliper and set them aside. Inspect the brake caliper for any visible damages. Cracks, wear and fluid leaks are all bad signs and will need attention immediately.

Insert the brake tool into the brake caliper. Rest the metal plate on the opposite side of the metal piston and twist the handle to push the metal piston onto the caliper. Insert the new brake pads into the brake caliper.

Replace the caliper to the rotor. Replace the securing nuts to the right and left side of the caliper to secure it to the rotor. Replace the front left tire to the frame. Use the jack to remove the jack stands and lower the front left side of the Ford Wind star to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts using the tire iron.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Ratchet set

  • New brake pads