How to Replace the Brake Pads on a 2004 Malibu V6

by Jule PamplinUpdated November 07, 2017
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Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Lifting jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13 mm wrench

  • Flat screwdriver

  • Brake pads

  • Funnel (if necessary)

  • Brake fluid (if necessary)

The 2004 V6 Chevy Malibu comes equipped with all-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Chevrolet recommends replacement of the brake pads every 5,000 miles, although brake pad wear depends on the driving habits of the owner. Signs of worn brake pads include longer stopping distances as well as brake squeal. Replace the brake pads at the first sign of significant wear to prevent brake failure or damage to the brake rotors.

Open the Malibu's hood and remove the master cylinder cap. The master cylinder contains brake fluid and is locate at the back of the engine compartment near the firewall.

Loosen the lug nuts with the tire iron on the wheels containing the brake pads you intend to replace.

Place the lifting jack under the Malibu's frame and lift the car so the tires are at least 2 inches clear of the ground. Rest the Chevy on jack stands for support.

Remove the lug nuts from the vehicle's wheel bolts. Remove the wheels.

Remove the caliper slide pins from the back side of the caliper. Use a 13 mm wrench to loosen the bolts.

Pry the brake pads' retaining clips from the edges of the caliper with a trim pry tool or flat screwdriver. The clips secure the brake pads to the caliper.

Place the worn brake pad against the two front brake caliper pistons and secure the pad to the pistons using a C-clamp. Screw the clamp to force the two pistons into the side of the caliper. Remove the C-clamp once the two pistons are completely within the side of the caliper.

Place the C-clamp or locking pliers over the single piston and the back of the caliper on the rear brake. Squeeze the pliers or tighten the clamp to force the rear brake caliper piston into the caliper side. Remove the pliers or clamp once the piston is completely within the caliper's side.

Place the new brake pads on the caliper sides and press them firmly against the caliper to snap on the retaining pins. The pins will snap onto the caliper by hand.

Replace the caliper with new pads attached around the brake rotor. Screw in the caliper slide pins by hand and tighten them using the 13 mm wrench.

Replace the wheels onto the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts. Lift the Malibu with the jack to remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the lugs with the tire iron.

Press the brake pedal repeatedly to return the caliper pistons to their proper position. Return to the engine compartment.

Check the brake fluid level inside the master cylinder and fill the reservoir with DOT-3 fluid as necessary. Use a funnel to avoid spilling fluid inside the Malibu's engine compartment. Replace the master cylinder cap and close the Chevy's hood.


Turn the front wheels to gain a better angle while removing the caliper slide pins.

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