How to Replace the Rotors on Nissan Cars

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Replacing the rotors on a Nissan car is slightly more complicated than with other vehicles. The hub and bearing assembly is bolted to the brake rotor, so you must deal with it as well as the brake caliper. If you need to change one brake rotor, there is a good chance that you will need to change both. This process can vary depending on the year of the truck and whether it has two- or four-wheel drive.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Rotors on a Nissan Frontier


Apply the Frontier's parking brake if it isn't on, then loosen the wheel's lug nuts with your tire iron, jack up the front end using the floor jack, position the jack stands under the frame rails and lower the the truck onto the stands. Remove the wheel.

Unbolt and remove the brake caliper from the rotor; do not stretch or kink the attached brake hose. Locate a spot on the coil spring or other location on the suspension and tie up the caliper with a piece of wire.

Pull the brake pads out of the caliper mounting bracket and inspect their condition. Unbolt and remove the bracket from the rotor.

Pry the circular cap off the hub using a hammer and chisel, then pull out the cotter pin and nut lock using needle-nose pliers. Remove the spindle nut and thrust washer using locking pliers.

Pull out the rotor and hub assembly slightly, push it back onto the spindle to force off the outer bearing and then pull off the rotor and hub assembly.

Unscrew the bolts connecting the rotor to the hub with your wrench and separate the rotor from the hub.


Bolt the replacement rotor to the hub.

Slide the hub assembly onto the spindle and engage the outer wheel bearing.

Install and tighten the spindle nut and washer with the pliers, then install the nut lock with a new cotter pin and reconnect the hub cap.

Bolt the caliper mounting bracket to the rotor and insert the brake pads into the bracket; use new pads if needed.

Connect the caliper to the bracket with its bolts. If you installed new pads, you will likely need to compress the caliper piston using a C-clamp before it will fit on the bracket.

Repeat the entire replacement process for the rotor on the other side if needed.

Reinstall the wheel(s) and hand tighten the lug nuts. Jack up the Frontier off the jack stands using the floor jack and lower the truck to the floor. Finish tightening the wheel lug nuts.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Wrench

  • Wire

  • Hammer and chisel

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Locking pliers

  • Brake rotor(s)

  • Brake pads

  • C-clamp

 How to Change Rotors on a Nissan Xterra

Lift the Xterra at the wheel by placing the floor jack on a frame rail and pumping the lever until the wheel is off the ground; turn the lug nuts counterclockwise and the wheel will come off. Store the wheel away from the work area. Place a jack stand near the jack's head on the same frame rail for support. Unplug the ABS sensor from the caliper wiring harness adapter socket.

Remove the caliper by turning the twin rear mount bolts in a counterclockwise direction; the caliper will slide free of the rotor without these bolts in place. Watch for the pads, which can fall out of the caliper pistons once the unit is removed. Store the caliper on the control arm of the truck, or tie it to the control arm. Do not let the caliper dangle as the brake lines can become damaged.

Remove the rotor by turning the spindle nut counterclockwise, then pulling the rotor free of the hub. Resurface or replace the rotor, then position it back over the hub and secure the spindle nut clockwise.

Replace the pads on the caliper pistons, then slide the caliper over the new rotor. Secure the caliper by turning the mount bolts clockwise.

Replace the wheel, then turn all lug nuts in a clockwise direction, with an alternating pattern. Lower the truck by removing the jack stand and turning the pressure screw on the floor jack counterclockwise.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Lug wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand

  • Screwdrivers

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Nissan Altima

Purchase a new set of rotors for your Nissan Altima online or at the auto parts store. Never replace rotors individually, as this leads to uneven braking and damages your car.

Raise your Altima using a jack and jack stands. Once it's up, remove the lug nuts, tire and front end assembly of the first wheel you need to work on with a socket wrench or an air ratchet with an appropriate adapter.

Remove the caliper being careful not to disconnect it from the brake line. Suspend the caliper and brake hose out of the work area with mechanic's wire.

Take off the old rotor. For the front rotors, thread two bolts into the threaded holes on the rotor and tighten the bolts to loosen the old rotor. For rear rotors, just pull the old rotor off of the hub.

Clean the area around the hub with a damp cloth to remove any debris and corrosion. Apply a coating of anti-seize compound to the hub to keep the new rotor from rusting to the hub. Slide the new rotor onto the hub in the correct position.

Replace the caliper and discard the mechanic's wire. Tighten the caliper bolts with a torque wrench to 53 to 72 ft. lbs. (72 to 97 Nm) on front brakes or 28 to 38 ft. lbs. (38 to 52 Nm) on rear brakes. Reinstall the wheel assembly and tire. Continue on and replace each additional rotor.

Lower the vehicle after you install the new rotors. Tighten the lug nuts on the tires with a torque wrench. Be sure to pump the brakes and then road test the vehicle to make sure that the installation was successful.

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Nissan Pathfinder

Change rotors in a 1989 to 1995 Nissan Pathfinder

Jack up your Nissan Pathfinder with jacks and jack stands. Block the wheels to keep your truck from rolling while you work.

Take off the tire and wheel assembly with a socket wrench or air ratchet. Remove the brake pads, caliper and bolts and the torque member.

Remove the grease cap from the hub. Then remove the cotter pin and the castellated nut. This allows you to then remove the old rotor with the wheel hub attached.

Clean any corrosion or debris from the area using a damp cloth. Apply multipurpose grease to the hub's oil seal lip and then put the new rotor into position with the hub.

Install the new rotor with the hub back in place and then make sure that the wheel bearings are in good shape and lubricate them. Install the castellated nut with a new cotter pin and then replace the grease cap.

Put the brake pads, caliper and bolts and the torque member back onto the wheel assembly using a torque wrench. Put the wheel assembly, tire and lug nuts back on and then repeat this process for each new rotor.

Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench or air ratchet and pump the brakes. If the brakes seem spongy, bleed the brakes and test your Pathfinder again to make sure that the installation was successful.

Change rotors in a 1996 to 2008 Nissan Pathfinder

Support your Pathfinder by using a jack and then secure it in place with jack stands. Be sure to place the jack stands so that the weight of the vehicle is properly supported.

Take off the tire and wheel assembly by loosening the lug nuts and removing them with a socket wrench or air ratchet with an appropriate adapter.

Remove the caliper and suspend it with mechanic's wire to prevent the caliper from getting disconnected from the brake line and to keep it out of the way while you change the rotor.

Separate the rotor from the wheel assembly. If your Pathfinder's rotors are corroded, be sure to remove all debris from the area with a damp cloth before you put the new rotor on.

Install the new rotor and tighten the holding screws. Replace the caliper and brake line to its original position and then discard the mechanic's wire. Install the wheel assembly and the tire.

Repeat this process to replace the other rotors and then lower the truck and tighten the tire lug nuts with a torque wrench. Road test your pathfinder to make sure the installation was successful.

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