How to Remove Brake Rotors Off of Cars

by Contributing Writer

The Chevrolet car employs an anti-lock braking system that is designed to exceed governmental standards for vehicle safety. To meet those standards, the components of the braking system need to be in proper working form. Rotors that are scored can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the braking system as well as wear the brake pads at a much faster rate than usual. The surface of the rotor should be smooth to allow for unfettered contact with the brake pads during braking. Remove the rotors and have them resurfaced if they have been gouged by the wear indicators of the brake pads. Replace the rotors if they are warped.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove Brake Rotors Off of a Dodge RAM

How to Remove Brake Rotors Off of a Dodge RAM

Park the Dodge Ram on a flat paved surface. Apply the parking brake and release the hood latch. Place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. Open the hood and remove half the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir with a turkey baster and discard responsibly. Replace the master cylinder cap securely.

Break the lug nuts loose on both front tires using the breaking bar and a socket. Some lug nuts on Dodge Rams may take a 7/8-inch socket or a 22 mm can be used.

Lift the front of the Dodge Ram with the floor jack and place the jack stands under the axle for 4-wheel drive or under the control arms for 2-wheel drive. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

Remove the caliper bolts, using the ratchet and a socket. Pry the caliper off with the flathead screwdriver and hang with the bungee cord to support it to the coil spring or frame. Remove the pads and compress the piston of the caliper inward using the C-clamp. Tighten the C-clamp slowly until it bottoms out.

Remove the caliper anchor bolts and the caliper anchor using the ratchet and a socket. The bolts will be tight.

Remove the rotor retainer rings (if present) on two of the lug studs. You can cut these off with a pair of dikes and not have to replace them for reinstallation.

Remove the rotor. If the rotor is rusted stubbornly to the hub, you're going to have to decide how to separate it. If you're replacing the rotor, you can be more successful knocking it off using a ball-peen hammer and striking it on the flat of the fins in an outward and inward motion with the hammer. If you're removing it to machine it or reusing the rotor, you're going to have to be much more delicate so you do not damage it. Strike it in the same fashion but use a heavy rubber mallet instead of a hammer. Your success is going to be lower and you're going to have to apply more tenacity and determination, but diligence will pay off.

Repeat Step 4 through Step 7 for the rotor on the other side, if so desired.

Put everything back together in order by reversing the steps. If you're replacing the rotors, be sure to spray them with a quality brake cleaner to wash off the sticky coating that comes on them. Torque the caliper anchor bolts with the adjustable wrench and a socket at 110 foot-pounds for a 1500 Ram or 230 foot-pounds for a 2500 Ram. Place the wheels and lug nuts back on when finished and tighten the lug nuts snug. Lower the Ram and torque the lug nuts 140 foot-pounds with the torque wrench and a socket.

Pump the foot brake pedal until it feels normal when you're finished. This helps to restore hydraulic pressure to the caliper pistons. After you've pumped the pedal, recheck and adjust the brake fluid in the master cylinder by only adding new DOT 3 brake fluid. Release the parking brake, remove the wheel chock and test drive.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands (2)

  • Wheel chock

  • 1/2-inch drive breaking bar

  • 1/2-inch drive socket set (up to 7/8 inch)

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Bungee cord

  • C-clamp

  • Turkey baster

  • DOT 3 brake fluid

  • Ball-peen hammer or heavy rubber mallet

  • Dikes

 How to Remove Brake Rotors From a Saturn

How to Remove Brake Rotors From a Saturn

Park the vehicle in a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Apply the parking brake. Turn the ignition off and remove the keys. Place the wheel chock behind one of the rear tires.

Remove the hub caps and break the lug nuts or lug studs loose on the left tire with the breaking bar and a 19 millimeter socket.

Lift the left front quarter of the vehicle with the floor jack and place jack stand on the frame rail.

Remove the left front tire.

Locate the caliper bolts in the inside of the caliper. Match up a 1/2 inch drive socket and remove the bolts using the socket and ratchet. Pry off the caliper using a large straight-edged screwdriver and support the caliper with a bungy cord to keep the coil spring out of the way. Do not allow the caliper to dangle by the brake hose.

Remove the pads from the bridge, but take note of their position (up/down, inside pad, outside pad) in order to replace them in the same position when it is time to put everything back together.

Locate the caliper bridge bolts behind the backing plate and remove them with the appropriate-sized socket and breaking bar. When they're broken free, switch to the ratchet to speed things up.

Remove the rotor from the hub. If it is rusted or seized onto the hub, you may need to hammer it off with a ball peen hammer, taking care not to hit the fender or backing plate. Hit the fins of the rotor and avoid hitting the hub near the studs if you can help it.

Clean the hub facing and edges with a medium grade sandpaper as best as you can.

Spray the new rotors with brake clean spray. New rotors are coated with an anti-rust oil coating to prevent condensation in the air from rusting them. This coating will need to be cleaned off thoroughly, so be liberal with the brake clean spray and wipe dry with a shop rag.

Place the new rotor onto the hub. Replace the bridge and tighten bridge bolts very tight. Replace pads appropriately into the bridge.

Squeeze the piston of the caliper in with a C-clamp until it bottoms out. Place the caliper over the edge of the rotor and the bridge. Tighten caliper bolts, but do not over-tighten.

Replace the tire and the lug nuts or the lug studs. Tighten them as tight as you can get them with the wheel elevated and then tighten them again with the torque wrench set to appropriate foot pound specifications (probably 100 foot pounds will suffice) and the 19 millimeter socket in an alternate fashion when the vehicle is lowered back on the ground.

Repeat these same steps for the opposite wheel.

Be sure to pump the foot pedal when you're done to restore hydraulic pressure to the caliper pistons. Failure to do so could result in a serious accident because you will not have any hydraulic pressure when you go to apply the brakes while test driving. Four of five pumps should do the trick until the foot pedal feels normal. Pop the hood open and check and adjust the level of the brake fluid, but only after you have pumped the foot pedal. Remove the wheel chock and test drive.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack Jack stand Wheel chock 1/2 inch drive breaking bar 1/2 inch drive metric socket set 1/2 inch drive ratchet Large straight-edged screwdriver Small bungy cord Ball peen hammer Medium grade sandpaper Brake clean spray Shop rags C-clamp 1/2 inch drive adjustable torque wrench

 How to Remove a Brake Rotor on a Scion XB

Lift the car with the jack, placing the jack stands underneath the jack points indicated by arrows in the corners of the chassis. Pull off the hubcap on the wheels, then remove the wheels with the tire iron.

Unbolt the brake caliper bracket from the knuckle with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Lift it off the rotor and hang the caliper and bracket from the spring with the bungee cord.

Thread the 8 mm bolts into the threaded holes in the center of the rotor by the wheels studs. Tighten them using the ratchet until the rotor pops off the knuckle.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Bungee cord

  • Two 8 mm bolts

 How to Remove Brake Rotors From an Isuzu Rodeo

Remove the Brake Caliper

Park your Isuzu in a safe place with a level surface, if possible.

Loosen the wheel lugs using a lug wrench on the wheel assembly with the brake rotor you want to replace.

Raise the wheel assembly and tire off the floor using a floor jack. Support the vehicle on a jack stand. Remove the tire.

Set a C-clamp over the brake caliper and turn in the C-clamp screw to push the brake caliper cylinder into its bore.

Remove the two brake caliper mounting bolts, using a wrench or ratchet and socket and lift the caliper off the brake rotor.

Secure the brake caliper on the vehicle body using a piece of wire to avoid damage to the brake hose connected to the caliper.

Remove the two caliper bracket mounting bolts, if your Isuzu model is equipped with it. Then lift the caliper bracket off the rotor.

Replace the Rotor

Remove the brake rotor by pulling the unit off the wheel assembly by hand. If the rotor seems stuck, tap the rotor lightly around the friction surface, using a rubber mallet to pop it out from the wheel assembly.

Wipe the hub and wheel assembly clean of brake lining dust using brake parts cleaner and a shop rag. Remove the protective film off the new rotor surface using denatured alcohol and a clean rag.

Install the new rotor on the hub and wheel assembly.

Install the brake caliper mounting bracket if your Isuzu model is equipped with one. Install the brake caliper.

Install the tire and wheel lugs.

Lower the vehicle. Finish tightening the wheel lugs.

Add brake fluid to the brake master cylinder. Depress the brake pedal several times to adjust the brake pads over the new rotor.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Hand siphon pump

  • Floor jack and jack stand

  • C-clamp

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket

  • Piece of wire

  • Rubber mallet

  • Brake parts cleaner

  • Shop rag

  • Denatured alcohol

  • Clean Rag

 How to Remove the Brake Rotor From a 2001 Isuzu Trooper

Jack up the truck at the wheel of the rotor to be replaced, then place it on the jack stands. The jack stands are more secure than the jack alone.

Remove the wheel with the lug wrench by turning the nuts in a counterclockwise direction. Set the wheel aside.

Remove the caliper and pads by turning the caliper's rear bolts in a counterclockwise direction. The caliper and pads will slide off of the rotor, and they can be set onto the control arms or secured with zip-ties to prevent damage to the brake lines. Do not let the caliper dangle from the brake lines.

Remove the center cap by prying it off with a screwdriver, then unscrew the center plate by turning the three screws in a counterclockwise direction. The plate will come off once freed, and expose the wheel bearings and axle/hub nut.

Remove the center hub nut by turning it in a counterclockwise direction. Some models could have a cotter pin in place; remove it by pulling it up and out with a pair of pliers.

Remove the rotor by pulling it free of the hub, once the plate and axle nut are removed. The wheel bearings may have rusted to the rotor, and some force could be required.

Items you will need

  • Screwdrivers

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Pliers

 How to Remove the Brake Rotor on a Chevrolet Cobalt

Park the Chevy Cobalt on a flat surface and in an area away from traffic. Put the transmission in "Park" and engage the parking (or emergency) brake.

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear tire with a lug wrench or 17 mm socket and breaker bar.

Place the lifting jack under the frame of the vehicle and raise the Cobalt. Place jack stands under the frame to support the Chevy. Lower the Cobalt onto the jack stands, leaving the tires enough clearance from the ground to enable you to remove and return the wheels.

Remove the lug nuts on the rear wheels and pull the wheels from the Cobalt's wheel bolts.

Locate the caliper slide bolts on the inner side of the brake caliper. There are two bolts on each caliper. Place the 13 mm socket and ratchet on the bolts and loosen them. Remove the socket and ratchet and complete the caliper bolt removal by hand.

Pull the caliper away from the brake rotor and caliper bridge and set it on top of the steering arm or an idle jack stand.

Remove the two bolts on the back side of the caliper bridge with a 15 mm socket and ratchet. Pull the bridge away from the rotor and set it aside.

Spray the front and back of the rotor with chain lubricant. The rotor may be stuck to the wheel bolts by a combination of rust and leaked brake fluid. Allow the lubricant to sit on the rotor for three to five minutes before attempting to remove the disc.

Grab the rotor on either side with both hands and pull the rotor from the wheel bolts.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench (or 17 mm socket and breaker bar)

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13 mm socket

  • 15 mm socket

  • Chain lubricant

  • Hammer (optional)

 How to Remove the Brake Rotor on a 3500 Chevrolet Truck

Park the truck on a level surface. Set the parking brake and place a chock behind the back wheel to prevent the truck from rolling back when it is raised.

Loosen the lug nuts with a tire tool. Do not take the lugs off the wheel studs.

Place a jack under the front cross-member. Raise the truck high enough to place a jack stand under the cross-member. Lower the truck onto the jack stands.

Unscrew the lug nuts with the tire tool. Remove the wheel and set it aside.

Locate the two screws behind the brake caliper. Unscrew them with a socket wrench and a T-55 attachment. Back the caliper off the rotor and place it on the control arm. Do not allow the caliper to hang by the brake line.

Pull the brake pads off the front and back of the rotor and set them aside.

Unbolt the pad holder with a socket wrench. Pull it off from around the rotor.

Pull the rotor off the bearing assembly. In some cases there may be heavy rust buildup that will make pulling the rotor off difficult. Tap the back of the rotor with a hammer to loosen it. If the rotor is still stubborn, spray it with penetrating oil to dissolve some of the rust buildup. The rotor should then slide off the bearing assembly.

Items you will need

  • Tire tool

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket wrench

  • T-55 Torx bit

  • Socket set

  • Hammer

  • Penetrating oil

 How to Remove Brake Rotors From a Chevy Avalanche

Park the Avalanche on a level paved or concrete surface. Release the hood latch. Apply the parking brake. Place the wheel chock behind one rear tire.

Open the hood and remove at least half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir using the turkey baster and discard. Replace the master cylinder cover securely.

Remove the center cap on the front tires and break the lug nuts loose with the breaking bar and a socket.

Lift the front axle of the Avalanche and place the jack stands under the front frame rail.

Remove the lug nuts and the wheels.

Compress the piston of the left front caliper inward using the small/medium pry bar wedged between the rotor and the porthole in front of the caliper. Press the piston in methodically and all the way until it bottoms out.

Remove the caliper bridge bolts located on the back of the knuckle using the ratchet and a socket.

Pry the caliper and bridge (together) and support to the frame with a bungee cord.

Remove the rotor. If you're replacing the rotor, you can knock it off with a ball peen hammer if it's stuck to the hub by rust. If you're saving the rotor to be reused, you'll need a heavy rubber mallet to remove if it is stuck to the hub with rust so you do not damage or warp the rotor.

Put everything back together when you're done by reversing the order. Don't forget to torque the lug nuts with the adjustable torque wrench set at 140 foot pounds and to pump the foot brake pedal to restore the hydraulic pressure back to the caliper pistons. Adjust the level of the brake fluid in the master cylinder using only new DOT-3 brake fluid.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Wheel chock

  • 1/2-inch drive breaking bar

  • 1/2-inch drive socket set (up to 7/8-inch)

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench

  • Turkey baster

  • DOT-3 approved brake fluid

  • Small/medium pry bar

  • Bungee cord

  • Ball peen hammer or heavy rubber mallet

 How to Remove a Brake Rotor from a Celica

Park the car on a level surface. Set the emergency brake and chock the back wheels. This will prevent the car from rolling backward once you raise it.

Loosen the lug nuts on the left front wheel but do not remove them.

Place a jack under the front cross-member of the Celica. Raise the car high enough to place jack stands under the cross-member. Lower the car onto the jack stands.

Remove the lug nuts from the wheel assembly. Pull the tire off the assembly and place it to the side.

Unbolt the caliper with a socket wrench. The caliper has two bolts in the back of it that keep it secured over the rotor. Lift the caliper off the rotor and place it in the shock tower behind the rotor. This will prevent the caliper from hanging from the brake line.

Tap the rotor with a hammer. Pull it off the wheel assembly by hand once it is loosened.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • Hammer

 How to Remove Brake Rotors on a 4WD Ford

Lift the Ford with a floor jack and place the front frame rail on one or more jack stands; the brakes can be removed one at a time, or both at the same time with the front end lifted securely.

Remove the wheel and tire by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise with a lug wrench. Pull the wheel from the lug bolts and set it aside. Inspect the brakes for obvious damage to the friction surfaces. Unplug the ABS sensor from the wiring harness at the caliper socket.

Remove the caliper by turning the rear twin mount bolts in a counterclockwise direction. Some models may have Torx bolts, or a bolt that requires a special socket adapter. Once free from the mount, the caliper and pads will slide off of the rotor. Remove the pads and set the caliper onto a control arm, or tie it up so that the brake lines do not support the full weight of the caliper.

Remove the rotor by turning the spindle nut counterclockwise with the adjustable wrench. Then pull the rotor from the hub assembly. Some models could have cotter pins, or secondary nuts in the center of the rotor. With the spindle nut removed, the rotor comes free easily.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Wrenches

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand

  • Lug wrench

 How to Remove Brake Rotors From a 2004 Dodge Ram

Lift the Dodge Ram on a vehicle or truck lift to a suitable height to work on.

Remove the lug nuts using an impact gun and a 7/8-inch impact socket or a 22 mm impact socket. Remove the center cap--secured by the tapered lug nuts--and then remove the wheel.

Disconnect the two caliper bolts using a hand wrench. Pry the caliper and pad assembly off the rotor and support it to the suspension using a caliper hook or metal hanger.

Remove the caliper adapter bolts using the impact gun and a suitable socket. Remove the adapter.

Remove the rotor from the wheel hub assembly. This task may require cutting off rotor retaining clips from two of the lug studs if applicable. Removing the rotor may also require a variation of different procedures. If the rotor wiggles and moves, it will be able to be pulled off without incident. If it is stuck to the hub due to rust and corrosion, the reason it is being removed will have to be considered. If it's being removed and then reused, the rotor will have to be delicately removed with a three-pronged hub and rotor puller. If it is being removed for replacement, you can knock it off with a hammer, striking the flat plate on the edges of the rotor until it breaks free from the hub.

Clean the surface of the hub facing and edges with a die-grinder and a coarse reconditioning disc before replacing the rotor.

Items you will need

  • Vehicle lift or truck lift

  • 1/2-inch-drive impact gun

  • 1/2-inch-drive impact socket set

  • Caliper hook or metal hanger

  • Pry tool

  • Wrench set

  • Hammer

  • Three-pronged hub and rotor puller

  • Die-grinder and coarse reconditioning discs

 How to Remove a Brake Rotor on a Mitsubishi Eclipse 2003

Park the Eclipse on a flat surface, away from passing traffic. Lift the hood by pulling the hood release under the dashboard.

Remove the master cylinder cap. The master cylinder is on the driver's side or the engine compartment, capped by a white lid.

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel that has the rotor that is to be removed. Use the tire iron included in the vehicle maintenance kit for the Mitsubishi. You can find the maintenance kit in the trunk of the Eclipse, stowed with the spare tire.

Lift the vehicle and support it with jack stands near the target wheel.

Remove the lug nuts by hand. Take the wheel from the wheel bolts and lay it flat on the ground with the rim facing skyward.

Remove the caliper slide bolts with a 13 mm socket and ratchet. The two bolts are located on the side of the caliper facing away from you.

Pull the caliper from the caliper bracket and rest it onto the steering arm above the brake assembly. Do not allow the caliper to hang by the brake line.

Remove the two bolts on the backside of the caliper bracket. Use a 15 mm socket and ratchet to remove the two bolts and pull the bracket from the rotor.

Tap the center section of the rotor with a hammer to loosen the grip of the wheel bolts. Spray lubricant on the rotor to aid in extracting the disc from the Eclipse. Pull the rotor from the vehicle.

Take the new rotor from the packaging and spray the surface with brake cleaner. Wipe the excess cleaner from the rotor with a towel before placing it onto the wheel bolts.

Put the rotor on the wheel bolts with the center section (called the top hat section) facing away from the vehicle.

Return the caliper bracket to the rotor and replace the two bolts on the backside of the bracket with the 15 mm socket and ratchet.

Return the caliper onto the caliper bracket and screw in the two caliper bolts with the 13 mm socket and ratchet.

Place the wheel back over the brake assembly and screw on the lugs by hand.

Remove the jack stands and lower the Eclipse's tires to the ground with the jack.

Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron and return the tire iron and jack to the trunk.

Check the master cylinder container and add brake fluid as necessary.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron and jack (from the Mitsubishi maintenance kit)

  • 13 mm socket

  • 15 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Rotor

  • Brake cleaner

  • Chain lubricant

  • Towel

  • Hammer (optional)