How to Install Brake Pads on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Your Vehicles is exposed to ever-changing riding conditions while operating in an off-road environment, requiring constant use of the brakes to maintain control Vehicles all times. The very nature of this type of riding can drastically reduce the life of the front brake pads, wearing away the pad material until nothing is left. If left to wear away completely, the pads' metal backing plates can wreak havoc on your Vehicles brake rotors, rendering your brake system useless. Some work is involved to replace the brake pads, but the task is straightforward enough to complete on your own.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install Brake Pads on a King Quad

Park the ATV on a level work area and engage the parking brake. Loosen the front wheels' lug nuts with a 17 mm socket attached to a breaker bar.

Lift the ATV's front wheels off the ground with a floor jack.

Unscrew the front wheel lug nuts completely with a 17 mm socket and a socket wrench. Pull the front wheels off of the front axle hubs.

Unscrew the front brake caliper mounting bolts with a 12 mm socket attached to a socket wrench. Lift the brake calipers off of the front brake rotors.

Insert a wide, flat head screwdriver into the calipers' openings and between the brake pads. Push the brake pads against the inside of the calipers to depress the caliper pistons.

Unscrew the pair of brake pad pins from the rear of the calipers with a 5 mm Allen wrench. Pull the brake pads and their spring clips out of the calipers' opening.

Pull the spring clips and metal shims off of the brake pads and place them over a set of new brake pads.

Insert the new brake pads into the front brake calipers' opening. Screw the brake pad pins into the calipers to secure the brake pads with the 5 mm Allen wrench.

Slide the calipers over the brake rotors and onto their mounting brackets. Screw the caliper mounting bolts into place with the 12 mm socket attached to a socket wrench.

Mount the wheels onto the front axle hubs with the 17 mm socket attached to a socket wrench to tighten the lug nuts.

Lower the ATV to the ground and remove the floor jack. Pump the front brake lever until it feels firm when pulled, signifying that the brake pads have closed around the brake rotors.

Items you will need

  • 12 and 17 mm sockets

  • Breaker bar

  • Floor jack

  • Socket wrench

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • 5 mm Allen wrench

  • Brake pads

 How to Install Brake Pads on a Suzuki Eiger

Loosen the front wheel's lug nuts using a 14 mm socket and a breaker bar for additional leverage. Engage the parking brake and lift the ATV's front wheels off of the ground using a jack. Remove the lug nuts from the front wheel and pull the wheel off of the axle.

Unbolt the front brake caliper's mounting bracket, using an 8 mm socket to remove the pair of bolts that secure the bracket to the ATV. Lift the caliper upwards and slide it off of the front brake rotor.

Remove the pair of brake pad pins from the caliper, using a 6 mm Allen socket to unscrew the pins. Pull the brake pads and the retaining spring clip out of the caliper. Separate the pads from the retaining spring and pull metal shims off of the back of the brake pads. Insert a pair of new brake pads into the retaining spring clip and press the shims onto the back of the pads.

Clean the interior of the brake caliper with an aerosol brake cleaning spray, concentrating around the caliper's inner pistons. Immediately wipe dry with a clean shop towel.

Press the inner pistons into the brake caliper with a large flat screwdriver. Insert the brake pads and retaining spring clip into the caliper. Insert the brake pad pins into the caliper and through the brake pads' mounting holes. Tighten the pins with a 6 mm Allen socket.

Slide the brake caliper over the front brake rotor and align the caliper bracket with the ATV's frame. Insert and tighten the bracket's mounting bolts with an 8 mm socket. Mount the wheel onto the front axle and tighten the lug nuts with a 14 mm socket, alternating between the lug nuts in a criss-cross pattern until they are fully-tightened. Repeat on the opposite side of the ATV.

Prepare the front brake circuit after the brake pads on both sides of the ATV have been replaced. Slowly pump the front brake lever repeatedly to close the brake pads around the brake rotor, rebuilding hydraulic pressure within the brake circuit. Stop once the brake lever offers a firm resistance when it is pulled in.

Items you will need

  • 14 mm socket

  • Breaker bar

  • Jack

  • 8 mm socket

  • Socket wrench

  • 6 mm Allen socket

  • Aerosol brake cleaning spray

  • Shop towels

  • Flat screwdriver

  • Replacement brake pads

 How to Install Brake Pads on a Pacifica

Open the engine compartment and check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. If the level is at the minimum mark or below, you do not have to remove fluid. If it is higher than the minimum mark, remove enough of it with the turkey baster to bring it to the proper level. Place the fluid in the drain pan for recycling.

Place the wheel checks behind the rear tires. Raise the Chrysler with the jack. Place a jack stand under the car, near the jacking point, and raise it to the frame. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel with the lug wrench and take it off the car. Place the C-clamp on the brake caliper, front to back. Tighten the C-clamp until the caliper piston seats itself within the housing.

Remove the guide pin bolts from the caliper with a socket and ratchet. Pull the caliper from the rotor and remove the old brake pads. Insert the new pads and place the caliper on the mounting bracket. Tighten the guide pin bolts with the socket and ratchet. Put the wheel on the Pacifica and tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Remove the jack stand from under the vehicle. Lower the car to the ground. Repeat the process on the other wheel.

Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder when you finish the brake job. Add to it as necessary to bring it to the proper level. Pump the brake pedal a few times until it feels firm.

Items you will need

  • Turkey baster

  • Drain pan

  • Wheel chocks

  • Automobile jack

  • Jack stand

  • C-clamp

  • Socket set

 How to Install Brake Pads on a Mazda B4000

Loosen, but do not remove the B4000's front lug nuts.

Raise the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and support it with jack stands.

Remove the front lug nuts and pull the wheel off of the vehicle.

Position the c-clamp over the brake caliper, so that the stationary side is contacting the rear of the caliper and the screw portion is in contact with the outer brake pad.

Tighten the c-clamp until it will not move any farther. This compresses the caliper's internal piston, creating the room needed for the new brake pads.

Loosen and remove the c-clamp from the brake caliper.

Look at the rear of the brake caliper and locate the upper and lower caliper bolts.

Loosen and remove the caliper bolts, using the ratchet and socket.

Pull the caliper away from the brake assembly, exposing the brake pads, and hang it from the suspension, using the bungee strap. Never allow the caliper to hang by the rubber brake hose.

Grasp the brake pads and pull them from the brake assembly. Take note of how they come off, as the new ones must be installed in the same fashion.

Place the new brake pads on the brake assembly, just as the old one were removed.

Release the caliper from the bungee strap and place it over the new brake pads. Hand-tighten the caliper bolts.

Tighten the caliper bolts to 21 to 26 foot-pounds, using the torque wrench and a socket.

Repeat steps 4 through 14 for the brake pads on the other side of the B4000.

Place the wheels back on the vehicle and hand-tighten the lug nuts.

Remove the jack stands from under the vehicle and slowly lower it to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds of toque, using the torque wrench and a socket.

Press and release the brake pedal repeatedly until it feels firm.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Torque wrench

  • Bungee strap

 How to Install the Brake Pads on a 2002 Mercury Cougar

Loosen the front lug nuts and raise the vehicle. Remove the lug nuts and wheel. The lift point is immediately behind the front wheel, flush with the inside edge of the tire. Check your Cougar owner's manual for a diagram. Support the car with jack stands.

Remove the two bolts on the rear of the brake caliper. This frees the caliper from the brake pad mounting bracket. Lift the bracket away from the rotor with a rotating motion.

Slide the brake pads out of the bracket.

Press the caliper piston into its bore with a C-clamp. Protect the piston head with a piece of scrap wood.

Install the replacement pads into the bracket. Start with the end opposite the clip. Move the bracket and pads into place and install the two bolts, torquing to 21 ft-lbs. Install the wheel and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Lower the vehicle and fully tighten the lug nuts. Repeat on the other side.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket wet, metric

  • C-clamp

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install Brake Pads on a Toyota Tacoma

How to Install Brake Pads in a Toyota Tacoma

Park the truck on a level surface and place in gear or park. Turn the ignition key on one click to unlock the steering wheel. Apply the parking brake.

Place the wheel chocks in front and rear of one of the rear tires.

Crack loose the lug nuts on both front tires using the 1/2-inch drive breaking bar and a deep 1/2-inch drive 21 millimeter socket. Do not remove. Just crack them loose.

Lift one side of the truck with the floor jack and place a jack stand beneath the lower control arm and repeat the procedure for the other side. This will elevate the front axle with the steering wheel unlocked so you can manipulate the position of the wheel for proper angles and working space when needed.

Remove lug nuts and take the tires off.

Turn the wheel so the caliper is extended past the wheel well.

Remove the locking pin/wire on the outside of the caliper. This pin simply pops out, but you may need to use a set of channel locks or pliers to convince it. Try not to damage it if the replacement pads did not come with new hardware.

Using a small to medium punch and hammer, tap on flat side of the pad upper holding pin. This may be the most challenging aspect of this job, next to squeezing in the four pistons of the caliper. This task may take a while and if your replacement pads did not come with a new set of pins, it is important not to damage these or mushroom the edge of the pin in the tapping process. The easiest way to work this is to tap and get it to move just a little bit and then tap it back into place and tap it out a little more and tap it back into place. Each time it moves it will clean off a little bit of rust and corrosion. If these pins do not move you could try to grab onto them from the outside of the caliper with channel locks and turn them. If they come out, continue the same procedure for the bottom holding pin. It is recommended that if you're reusing these pins to clean them off thoroughly with a wire brush wheel on a bench grinder.

Remove caliber bolts with 3/8-inch drive ratchet and 14-millimeter 3/8-inch drive socket. Using a medium angle pry bar, pry off the top and then the bottom of the caliper. Do not let it hang from the brake hose. The pads will fall out, or may need to be tapped out gently and rest the caliper on top of the upper control arm.

Squeeze the pistons of the caliper in using an old pad as a surface to rest the drive of the C-clamp with. This is going to be the next most challenging task of this job. The Tacomas have four pistons, two on each side, and when you squeeze in one side, the other side wants to bulge out. Squeeze one side all the way in and then the other. You may have to go back again to the other side again, but sooner or later, diligence will pay off. Another common side effect of Tacomas is a frozen piston on the caliper. If you find you cannot convince the pistons to squeeze in under duress, this may be indicative of why the pads wore down, and you may need to replace the caliper. If they press in fine, continue on.

Apply a liberal coat of anti-seize or brake lubricant to the holding pins. Place the pads into the caliper and lock them in with the holding pins. You will have to thread them into the caliper with the pins in the same position in which they they came out: the inboard pad first with the backing plate facing the inside of the wheel well, thread the upper pin, then place the outboard pad facing inwards and thread the holding pin through that. The upper holding pin will hold the pads in place and you can thread the bottom holding pin in a little more easily. Spread the pads apart by hand so you can fit the caliper now loaded with pads over the rotor. Do not force. If it does not fit, the pistons of the caliper are not in far enough and you'll have to go back to the C-clamp procedure until you're successful.

Reinsert and tighten caliper bolts with the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and 14-millimeter socket.

Reinsert locking pin/wire into the holes of the holding pins. You made need the pliers or channel locks to manipulate the pins in order to align the small holes for the clip wire.

Place wheel on and tighten lug nuts as tight as you can get them with wheel elevated.

Repeat brake pad replacement steps for the other side.

Raise vehicle enough to extract the jack stands and then torque the lug nuts to 80 foot pounds using the adjustable torque wrench and the 1/2-inch drive 21-millimeter socket in an alternating fashion.

Pump the brake pedal inside the truck to purge the hydraulic pistons of the calipers back out. Pump until the pedal feels normal. Release the parking brake.

Pop the hood open and check the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder. You may need to adjust it.

Remove the wheel chocks and test drive.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack Two jack stands Two wheel chocks 1/2-inch drive breaking bar 21-millimeter 1/2-inch drive deep socket Channel locks or pliers Small to medium punch Ball peen hammer Bench grinder with wire brush wheel (optional) Medium angle pry bar Brake pad lubricant or high temperature anti-seize 3/8-inch drive ratchet 3/8-inch drive 14-millimeter socket Large C-clamp Adjustable 1/2-inch drive torque wrench

 How to Install Brake Pads on a Dodge Caravan

Park the Caravan on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Release the hood latch and apply the parking brake.

Open the hood and suck out half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir using the turkey baster. Discard the fluid appropriately. Do not reuse it. Replace the cap on the master cylinder.

Break the lug nuts loose on the left wheel first using the breaking bar and a socket. Do not remove the lug nuts or loosen them too much.

Lift the Caravan using the floor jack and place the lift point under the transmission bushing. Place a jack stand under the inside of the rocker panel in the left front where the frame is boxed. Do not place the jack stand on the rocker panel as it will most likely collapse. You can leave the floor jack in place as an added safety support, but make sure to use a jack stand.

Remove the lug nuts and wheel.

Remove the caliper bolts with the ratchet and a socket. Gently pry the caliper off of the rotor using the screwdriver. The pads are clipped to the caliper.

Remove the outboard pad first by prying it off the caliper housing with the screwdriver. Remove the inboard pad by pulling it out of the caliper piston bore. Support the caliper to the coil spring using the bungee cord.

Compress the piston in using the C-clamp. Squeeze slowly and steadily to avoid damaging the caliper piston.

Install the new pads starting with the inboard pad. Since the inboard and outboard pads are identifiably different, there's only one way they will fit properly. There is a slight difference in the molding of the backing plates of the pads. Refer to the old pads you removed to make sure you're applying the pads for the left side.

Apply a liberal coat of silicone brake lubricant on the caliper anchor where the backing plate of the pads sit against.

Reinstall the caliper over the rotor.

Apply a light coat of silicone brake lubricant to the smooth area of the caliper bolts. Insert it into the caliper to lock it to the caliper anchor. Tighten the bolts properly.

Replace the wheel and lug nuts, tightening the lug nuts as tight as you can using the ratchet and a socket. Lower the Caravan and retighten the lug nuts in an alternate fashion using the torque wrench set at 100 foot pounds and a socket.

Repeat the procedure for the right side.

Pump the foot brake pedal when you're finished with the right side until the hydraulic pressure is restored to the caliper pistons and the brake pedal feels normal. Release the parking brake.

Check and adjust the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. Only add new DOT-approved brake fluid for your Caravan.

Remove the wheel chock and test drive.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack Jack stand Wheel chock Turkey baster DOT approved brake fluid 1/2-inch drive breaking bar 1/2-inch drive socket set 1/2-inch drive ratchet Large flathead screwdriver C-clamp Bungee cord Silicone based brake lubricant 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench (recommended)

About the Author

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