How to Replace the Brake Pads on a Ford Focus

by Chris MooreUpdated November 07, 2017
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brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Axle stands

  • Tire iron

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Pliers

  • Wrench

  • C-clamp

  • Syringe or other siphon tool

  • Brake pads

  • DOT 3 brake fluid

You need to change your car's brake pads at 60,000 miles; they may need changing sooner depending on how hard you use the brakes. On any Ford Focus made after 2000, the brake pads are held within the brake calipers themselves on the front wheels. Older models may have them installed within the caliper's mounting bracket. Make sure you have the correct brake pads for your particular model.


Raise the car's front end with the floor jack and support it on axle stands. Remove both front wheels with the tire iron; only work on one brake assembly at a time.

Pry off the retaining clip from the brake caliper using a flat head screwdriver while holding the clip with pliers. Detach the brake hose's bracket from the strut assembly.

Remove the guide pin bolts for the brake caliper and lift the caliper off the bracket. On most newer models, the bolts require an Allen wrench and are covered with caps you must remove.

Remove the brake pads from the caliper mounting bracket or the caliper itself--if the pads are in the caliper, pull the inner pad and its spring clip out of the caliper piston and slide the outer pad out of the caliper with its retaining clip.

Compress the caliper's piston back into its bore slowly using a C-clamp. If necessary to prevent overflow, remove some brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir in the engine compartment using a syringe or unused turkey baster.


Insert the replacement brake pads into the brake caliper or the mounting bracket as needed; in the former's case, slide the outer pad and its clip into the caliper and insert the inner pad's spring clip into the piston.

Install the caliper back onto the bracket on the brake disc and then apply and tighten the mounting bolts with the wrench.

Re-connect both wheels and lower the car off the axle stands after changing both sets of pads.

Fill the master cylinder reservoir with fresh brake fluid if needed.

Press the brake pedal multiple times until it feels firm, thus seating the pads.


Avoid hanging the brake caliper by its hose while it is disconnected. Lay it on an extra axle stand or tie to the spring on the strut with a coat hanger or other strong wire.

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