How to Replace the Brakes on a Chevy Express Van

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

Items you will need

  • Turkey baster

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Blocks

  • C-clamp

  • Brake pads

  • Anti-squeal compound

  • High temperature grease

In most cases, a Chevy Express van has brake pads on both the front and rear wheels. If the brake pads need changing, you must change the pads on at least both the front or rear wheels--whichever end needs them changed. A grinding sound when you apply the brakes is the surest sign that they need changing. This process, especially when it comes to removing the brake caliper to reveal the pads, can vary on older models of the Express van.

Open the brake fluid reservoir and remove two-thirds of the fluid using a suction tool like an unused turkey baster.

Raise the van on the appropriate end, support it on jack stands and remove the wheels. If you're raising the front end, make sure the parking brake is on. For the rear end, block the front wheels with heavy blocks.

Insert a C-clamp on the brake caliper where the arch is located and use it to push each of the caliper pistons back into their bores. Compress it slowly and don't let the brake fluid overflow from the master cylinder reservoir.

Unscrew the lower bolt on the brake caliper with your wrench and pivot the caliper up to reveal the brake pads. Remove both pads from inside the bracket on the brake disc.

Apply anti-squeal compound to the back plates of the replacement pads in the area where they will contact the caliper pistons.

Insert the replacement brake pads into the bracket and then pivot the caliper back down on top of them. Lubricate the caliper's mounting bolt with high-temperature grease before inserting it back in the caliper with your wrench.

Reinstall the wheels and lower the van after replacing both sets of brakes.

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