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How to Replace Rotors on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

S. Featuring two- or four-wheel drive, the SUV also features front disc brakes, but can have either rear drum or rear disc. Replacing the rotors on either the front or rear axle employs the same procedure although the rear rotors cover small brake shoes that act as part of the parking brake mechanism. While pads should be replaced every time rotors are changed, it's not always required, especially if the pads were just replaced.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Rotors on a Mazda Tribute

Place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires if you're replacing the front rotors or in front of one front tire if you're replacing the rear rotors. You should apply the parking brake if you're replacing the front rotors but do not apply it for the rear, or you will not be able to remove the rotors.

Loosen the lug nuts 1/8 of a turn with the lug nut wrench on the two wheels of the axle you're lifting.

Lift the axle with the jack and support the Tribute on jack stands in a safe and secure manner.

Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

Place the 6-inch C-clamp over the caliper housing so the top of the clamp is on the back of the caliper and the front drive of the clamp is on the backing plate of the front pad. Be careful to avoid pinching the outboard pad-retaining spring clip with the clamp.

Tighten the clamp enough to make the caliper move back and forth on the slides about 1/2 inch. You do not need to compress the piston completely to replace the rotors, but you need to make sure you have enough room to place the caliper and pad assembly back onto the new rotor.

Remove the two caliper anchor bolts using a breaker bar and a metric socket.

Remove the caliper assembly from the rotor and then hang the assembly to the chassis with a caliper hook.

Remove any rotor retaining rings that may (or may not) be present on the lug studs. These thin metal retainers do not have to be reused. Cut them off with a pair of cutting dikes and discard them.

Remove the rotor. If the rotor is stuck to the hub, spray a liberal amount of penetrating lubricant along the hub-to-rotor seam and strike the plate of the rotor with a hammer to break it free. Be careful on the rear rotors because you can damage the brake shoes integrated in the parking brake system.

Clean the surface and edges of the hub flange with a die grinder and a coarse reconditioning disc. Remove as much rust and corrosion as you can.

Spray the new brake rotors with brake cleaner spray to remove the rust prevention coating they come packaged with. Spray both sides of the rotors. For the front rotors, spray some into the vents as well. Dry the surface of the rotors with a shop rag. It's okay if the vents are still wet as the aerosol spray self-evaporates fairly quickly.

Place the new rotor onto the hub flange and then replace the caliper assembly over the rotor. Align the caliper bolts to their respective holes in the knuckle and tighten them with the torque wrench set at 110 foot-pounds and a metric socket.

Replace the wheel and lug nuts and then tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds with the torque wrench and socket.

Repeat the rotor replacement for the other side. Rotors should always be replaced in axle sets.

Pump the foot brake until it feels firm when the Tribute is lowered back onto the ground. This will seat the pads to the new rotors. Remove the wheel chock and then test-drive the Tribute for proper braking operation.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wheel chock

  • Lug nut wrench

  • 6-inch C-clamp

  • Breaker bar

  • Metric socket set

  • Caliper hook

  • Cutting dikes

  • Penetrating lubricant spray

  • Hammer

  • Die grinder with coarse reconditioning discs

  • Replacement brake rotors

  • Brake cleaner spray

  • Shop rags

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Chrysler Sebring

Drain half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder. Raise your Sebring using a jack and jack stands to properly support your car.

Block the wheels that you aren't working on to keep the car from rolling while you work. Remove the first tire and wheel assembly.

Unfasten and pull out the caliper mounting bolts. Next, tighten a c-clamp onto the caliper to retract the piston into the caliper bore. This should allow you to pivot the caliper off of the brake disc.

Remove the c-clamp and then suspend the caliper and attached brake line using wire or something similar to keep it out of the way. Just don't let the caliper get connected from the brake hose while you work. Pull off the old rotor and set it aside. Clean the area with a damp cloth to remove any corrosion.

Install the new rotor onto the wheel mounting studs. Use the c-clamp again to retract the piston to get the caliper and brake line back into place on the rotor. Tighten the caliper mounting bolts with a torque wrench to 65 ft. lbs. (88 Nm).

Put the wheel assembly and tire back together and then repeat this process for each rotor. Then lower your Chrysler Sebring, tighten and torque the lug nuts, and refill the master cylinder with new brake fluid.

Pump the brake until the pedal is firm and then road test your Sebring to make sure that the installation was successful.

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Ram 3500

Place the brake pedal locking bar against the brake pedal and place the adjustable bar so that it is firmly pressed against the driver's seat. This holds the brake pedal down so the brakes do not spin. Only perform this step on HD or heavy duty Ram 3500s.

Loosen the lug nuts on the Ram's front wheels.

Raise the wheels off of the ground, using a ratchet and socket. Place the jack stands beneath the truck, ideally under the frame rails, to support it. Lower the Ram, so its weight is only on the jack stands.

Remove the lug nuts from the truck's front wheels and remove the wheels from the vehicle.

Loosen and remove the hub extension nuts, if equipped, with a ratchet and socket. Pull the hub extension from the rotor. The hub extension is the roughly 6-inch extension coming off of the face of the rotor, with wheel studs attached to it. The hub extension is only equipped on the Ram 3500HD or heavy duty.

Remove the brake locking bar from the vehicle.

Look on the rear portion of the brake assembly and locate the adapter that the brake caliper is attached to. Loosen and remove, with a ratchet and socket, the two bolts holding the adapter to the Ram's steering knuckle -- the assembly the wheel attaches to.

Pull the caliper and adapter up and away from the steering knuckle.

Grab the rotor, the large metal disc, and pull it from the vehicle.

Place the new rotor on the Ram, making certain to line up the wheel studs with the holes in the rotor.

Place the caliper and adapter back on the steering knuckle, just as it was removed.

Tighten the adapter bolts to 210 foot-pounds on heavy duty models and 130 foot-pounds on light duty models, with the torque wrench and a socket.

Place the hub adapter back on the truck, just as it was removed, if equipped. Hand-tighten the nuts on the hub adapter.

Place the brake pedal locking bar back in the vehicle, just as in step 1.

Tighten the hub adapter bolts the 150 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

Repeat steps 5 through 15 for the rotor on the Ram's opposite side, if needed.

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

Raise the truck up and off of the jack stands using the floor jack. Remove the jack stands from under the vehicle.

Lower the truck, slowly, to the ground.

Tighten the front lug nuts to 150 foot-pounds, using the torque wrench and socket.

Remove the brake locking bar. Press and release the brake pedal several times until it feels firm.

Items you will need

  • Brake pedal locking bar

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Torque wrench

  • C-Clamp

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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