How to Replace the Front Brakes on a 2002 Honda Civic

by Arthur BarnhouseUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Metric sockets and ratchet

  • C-clamp

  • Can of brake cleaner

  • Brake fluid (if necessary)

  • Jack stands

  • New set of brake pads

Brakes are one of the most important components of any vehicle. Without them, your car isn’t going to last very long. Therefore, proper maintenance is imperative. You need to frequently check the brakes on your Honda Civic and replace them whenever necessary. Thankfully, replacing the front brake pads is a task that most home mechanics can accomplish on their own. All that’s required to do the job is a little time and a few simple tools.

Place your Civic in “Park” and pull the emergency brake. Of course, you must also remove your jack and lug wrench from the trunk. Also, open your hood.

Remove the cap from your brake master cylinder. The master cylinder is the small canister on the driver’s side, near the back of the engine compartment (refer to your owner’s manual if necessary). The master cylinder contains the car’s brake fluid.

Place the jack at the proper lifting point behind the wheel and jack the car up just high enough so that the tire is off the ground. Place jack stands under the Civic to ensure that the car is stable and that it won’t fall on you while you’re working. Then loosen and remove the lug nuts using your lug wrench and remove the tire.

Loosen and remove the bolts which hold the caliper in place. These are the two bolts on the back side of the caliper, one on the top and one on the bottom. Use a metric socket and ratchet to remove the bolts. After you’ve taken the bolts out, pull the caliper off the rotor and carefully place it on top of the rotor. Make sure the caliper won’t fall, as it may damage the brake line.

Remove both the front and back brake pads from the rotor. Take note how the pads are positioned so that when you insert the new ones, they are positioned correctly. If you didn’t get shims (thin metal pieces that attach to the pad) with the new pads, you will have to remove the old shims and attach them to the new pads. Spray some brake cleaner on the rotor after you’ve removed everything.

Insert the new pads in their correct position, both on the front and back of the rotor. Remember how the old pads were positioned and ensure that you install the new ones in exactly the same manner.

Retract the caliper’s piston using your C-clamp and an old brake pad. Place an old pad between the clamp and the piston to prevent damage to the piston. Tighten the clamp until the piston is pushed all of the way in. Then remove your C-clamp and slide the caliper back into place over the new brake pads.

Replace both caliper bolts and tighten them using your ratchet and socket. After you’re sure you’ve tightened the caliper, you can put the wheel back on your Civic and tighten the lug nuts. Remove your jack stands and lower the car.

Repeat the exact same process for the other side. Remember, you must change both the left and right front brakes. After you’ve installed the pads on the other side and lowered the Civic, check your master cylinder. If any fluid has been pushed out, due to retracting the caliper pistons, top the master cylinder off with brake fluid.

Start your Honda Civic and pump the brake pedal a few times to build up pressure in the braking system.


Before you install new pads, check the rotor. If the rotor is gouged or uneven, you will need to replace it or have it resurfaced. Do not place new pads on a damaged rotor, as it will ruin the new pads in no time.

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