How to Replace Brake Pads on a 2003 Ford Ranger

by David McGuffinUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Replacement brake pads

  • Silicone grease

  • Lug wrench

  • Wire (like a coat hanger)

If you suspect that the brake pads on your 2003 Ford Ranger need replacement, you may hear squealing or grinding when you apply the brakes. The only way to tell is to remove your front tires and inspect your pads. If they appear thin and worn down or if you see metal exposed and the braking surface gone, then you definitely need new pads.

Park your 2003 Ford Ranger on a level surface. Place wheel chocks behind the rear tires. If you have driven your Ford Ranger recently, allow an hour or more in order for the truck to cool off, since the braking system can be very hot to the touch.

Loosen, but do not remove (about 1/2 turn), the lug nuts on both front wheels with the lug wrench. Raise the truck with the floor jack and support it with jack stands so that both front wheels are off the ground. Remove the jack.

Remove the front wheels. Place the lug nuts where they will not get dirt in them.

Work on one side of the truck at a time. This way, you will always have one complete assembly to use as a guide. Use a socket wrench to unbolt the two bolts that secure the caliper. Slide the caliper off the rotor and place it on a frame member or hang it from a piece of wire. Do not allow it to hang by the brake line.

Unbolt the brake-pad pins from the caliper and remove them. Slide the brake pads and spacing shims out of the caliper. If the rotors are grooved or damaged, they will need to be resurfaced at an auto-parts store or replaced. Driving with damaged rotors can be a serious hazard.

Push the round caliper piston back into the caliper by using a C-clamp. This will ensure that you will have enough room to slide the caliper back onto the rotor with the new brake pads in place.

Slide the new brake pads and shims into place on the caliper. Lubricate the pin bolts (and pin bolts only) with silicone grease. Be sure that the brake pad pin-holes line up exactly with the pins in order to ensure that the pads are placed correctly on the caliper body. With the torque wrench, tighten the pin bolts to 24 foot-pounds.

Use a socket wrench to bolt the calipers back into place on the caliper bracket. Repeat procedure for the other wheel.

Reinstall the wheels and snug the lug nuts. Carefully lower the truck to the ground and use the torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to100 foot-pounds. Pump the brakes to reposition the calipers before driving the truck.


After 100 miles of driving, re-tighten the lug nuts.

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