How to Install Brakes on Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles and every other Vehicles produced by The Vehicles Motor Company, is engineered to exceed the safety standards Vehicles stopping distance established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To ensure that those standards are maintained and the performance of the anti-locking braking system is preserved, it is recommended that the brake pads be changed Vehicles the first sign of wear. Brake pads are equipped with indicators that produce a squealing sound when pads require changing. You can have the brakes serviced by an auto mechanic or install them yourself.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install Brakes on VW Bugs

Jack up the vehicle and remove one wheel. Once the wheel is off, there will be a round drum brake cylinder visible. It should pull off easily, unless it is overly rusted.

Remove the tension springs holding the brake shoes in place. The specialized tool can be inserted at the end of the spring, sliding it down and away from the clip. Some packages of brake shoes and parts come with replacement springs, but the old ones can be reused if they still hold tension.

Remove the brake shoes from both sides of the brake assembly. Without the springs, they should slide away from the assembly, horizontally. Check for excessive wear, or glazing, and then replace with new shoes.

Reinstall the tension springs. Place the lower end of the spring into the assembly's clip, then slide the top spring hook onto the upper clip using the tool. The shoes should be pulled in towards the center.

Check the wheel cylinders for leakage. These are small cylinders located on top of the brake assembly between the shoes. The rubber seal around the edge of each cylinder will degrade and leak after several years, especially if the Bug has not been driven. Replacing these cylinders is not difficult, but time consuming and messy.

Check the condition of the drum cylinders, and "turn" them, if necessary. "Turning" a drum cylinder is placing it onto a lathe and scraping off the wear and corrosion. Most auto parts stores and brake shops provide this service for a small fee, but none will turn them if they are too badly worn. There is a standard thickness that must remain on the cylinder's inner wall to safely reuse them. If they cannot be reused, then they must be replaced. Repeat steps 1-6 for the brakes on the remaining wheels.

Bleed the braking system at the master cylinder, once all shoes have been replaced. In some Volkswagen vehicles, the type of master cylinder may vary, but for most Beetles (pre-1975) it is directly attached to the brake pedal, in front of the floor pan. Using the universal bleeding kit, pressure bleed the system according to the instructions provided. Loosen the "bleeding nipple" on the top back side of the brake, behind the wheel cylinder, before pressurizing the master cylinder. Each brake line must be bled individually. Once all of the air has been purged from the system, the brake pedal should have a good amount of resistance and stop the vehicle smoothly.

Items you will need

  • New drum brake shoes

  • Spring reliever tool

  • Socket set and driver wrench

  • New drum cylinders (optional)

  • New wheel cylinders (optional)

  • Floor jack

  • Tire iron

  • Brake fluid (DOT3 or higher)

  • Brake lathe (optional)

  • Universal master cylinder bleeding kit

 How to Install Brakes on a Ford Freestar

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels with the socket on the tire iron.

Lift the Freestar with the lifting jack. Place jack stands beneath the frame of the Ford. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands leaving at least an inch clearance between the tires and the ground.

Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheels from the Freestyle.

Remove both of the caliper bolts. The bolts are located on the top and bottom of the caliper on the side of the caliper closest to the frame of the Ford. Use a 13 millimeter socket and ratchet.

Pull the brake assembly from the rotor. Place a drip pan beneath the brake.

Open the brake fluid bleed valve with the adjustable wrench. The valve is located next to the top caliper bolt. Tow full turns of the valve will open it, allowing the fluid to drip to the pan below.

Slide the brake pads from the sides of the caliper. The pads are connected by metal clips that will slide from the sides of the caliper by hand.

Open the caliper piston by squeezing it against the side of the caliper with vise-grip pliers or a C-clamp. The piston is a rubber-coated ring that extends from the inside of one of the sides of the caliper.

Slide the new pads onto the sides of the caliper.

Place the brake assembly back around the rotor. Replace the caliper bolts and tighten them with a 13 millimeter socket and ratchet. Close the brake fluid bleed valve with the adjustable wrench.

Place the wheels onto the lug nut bolts and screw the lug nuts on by hand.

Lift the vehicle with the lifting jack to remove the jack stands. Lower the Freestar to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Press the brake pedal repeatedly to return the expelled fluid (forced out by the opening of the caliper piston) to the caliper.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Tire blocks

  • Lifting jack

  • Jack stands

  • Adjustable wrench

  • 13 millimeter socket and ratchet

  • Vise-grip pliers or C-clamp

 How to Install Brakes for a Pontiac G6

Check the fluid level in the brake master cylinder. It needs to be midway between the minimum and maximum levels. If it is higher, siphon out as much fluid as needed with a clean siphon or turkey baster.

Raise the G6's front end securely on jack stands. Loosen and remove the lug nuts on the wheels with a tire iron, and remove the wheels. Place lug nuts onto two of the wheel studs to keep the rotor in place.

Loosen and remove the lower guide pin bolt on the brake caliper with a wrench. Push the caliper's piston back into its bore with a piston installation tool or C-clamp. Pivot the caliper up off its mount and hold it in place with a strong wire.

Install the new brake pads into their shims and retaining clips within the caliper mount. If the old pads are still in there, remove them, then remove the shims and retainers, clean off all dirt and corrosion, rub an anti-squeal compound on the shims' backing plates and place them back in the mount before installing the pads.

Lower the caliper back into place and tighten the guide pin bolt. Replace the wheel onto the G6; you'll need to remove the lug nuts supporting the rotor first.

Seat the brakes once you have installed them on both sides. Push the brake pedal about two-thirds of the way down, release the pedal and repeat every 20 seconds until the pedal feels firm.

Items you will need

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Wrench

  • C-clamp

  • Wire

  • Brake pads

  • Brake cleaner

  • Rags

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