How to Replace the Brake Pads in a Cadillac STS

by Jule PamplinUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Tire blocks

  • Tire iron

  • Lifting jack

  • 13 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Vise-grip pliers

  • Jack stands

Proper attention to the maintenance and service of the engine and other automotive components of the Cadillac STS will ensure that they function to the standards set by Cadillac and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. STS owners can perform many lower-echelon maintenance tasks, like replacing the brake pads, with little mechanical experience. You can choose to have a mechanic change the brake pads at your dealership or automotive repair shop, or you can swap the old pads for new ones yourself and save the cost of labor.

Park the Cadillac STS with ample room to work on either sides of the car. Place the STS in "Park" and apply the parking brake. Place tire blocks behind the rear tires.

Remove the lug nuts on the wheels of the STS, using the socket side of the tire iron.

Lift the Cadillac with a lifting jack. Place jack stands beneath the frame of the vehicle to provide a stable platform on which to operate.

Remove the wheels.

Remove the brake calipers. The calipers fit around the rotors and contain the brake pads. Remove the caliper bolts with a 13 mm socket and ratchet. There are two caliper bolts on the side of the caliper closest to the Cadillac's frame.

Remove the brake pads from the caliper. The pads are fixed to the caliper by metal clips. Slide the pads from the caliper by hand. If the brakes are rusted, spray the brake pad clips with chain lubricant or WD-40 before removing.

Open the caliper piston by forcing the piston flush with the caliper wall, using vise-grip pliers.

Install the new brake pads by sliding the metal clips onto the caliper. The metal clips will settle into a groove on the caliper when the pads are in the correct position.

Replace the wheels and the lug nuts. Lift the Cadillac off the jack stands, then return the vehicle to the ground using the lifting jack. Tighten the lug nuts while the vehicle is on the ground, in a staggered order.

Apply the brake. The brake pedal will offer little resistance at first. Press the brake repeatedly until the response is normalized by the building of brake fluid.


Use jack stands when replacing the brake pads. You can perform the switch while using the lifting jack only, but the jack is unreliable by itself and therefore is a dangerous alternative.

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