How to Replace the Brake Pads on a BMW 528i

by Jule Pamplin

The BMW 528i has four wheel disc brakes as part of its anti-lock braking system. The brake pads on the BMW contain wear indicators that contact with the braking rotors when the brake pads are in need of replacement. Change the brake pads as early as possible once the wear indicators begin to scrape against the rotors to avoid causing damage to the rotor's surface. You can inspect the brake pads on all four wheels to determine which pads are in need of repair immediately, but it is best to replace all the brake pads at the same time.

Park the BMW in an area that will allow you to work on both sides of the vehicle. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels with the tire iron. Place the lifting jack beneath the frame on the left side of the vehicle. Lift the vehicle and place jack stands under the frame.

Turn the steering wheel to the right. This will allow for easier access to the caliper bolts on the left brake.

Unscrew the lug nuts and remove them. Pull the left wheel off the wheel bolts.

Remove the two caliper bolts with the 7-mm hex socket and ratchet. Pull the caliper from the rotor. Do not allow the brake caliper to hang freely; the tension from the weight of the caliper can disconnect the brake line. Rest the caliper on the removed tire, laid flat near the wheel well.

Remove the metal clips on the top and bottom of the caliper by prying them from the caliper with a flat screwdriver.

Remove the brake pads from the inner sides of the caliper. Inspect the rotor for scoring.

Place the C-clamp onto the piston and the outer edge of the caliper. Screw the clamp to force the piston into the side of the caliper. (The piston is the ring that sticks out from the inside of the caliper wall.)

Place the brake pads onto the inside of the caliper walls. Replace the metal clips on the top and bottom of the caliper. Squeeze the clips against the caliper until they snap into place, connecting to the caliper and locking the pads in place.

Place the caliper onto the brake rotor. Replace the caliper bolts and tighten them with the hex socket and ratchet.

Replace the brake pads on the left rear wheel as you did the front brake. (You will be unable to rotate the rotor on the rear brake to gain access to the caliper bolts as easily as on the front brake.)

Turn the steering wheel so that the wheels are pointed forward. Replace the left wheels onto the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts.

Lift the vehicle with the jack to remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle and move to the right side of the BMW.

Place the jack beneath the frame, lift the BMW, and place the jack stands under the frame. Lower the vehicle onto the stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels on the right side.

Turn the steering wheel to the left and replace the right front brake pads as you did the left side. Replace the rear brake pads.

Turn the steering wheel to the neutral position and replace the wheels and lug nuts on the left side. Remove the jack stands and lower the BMW to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts on all four wheels with the tire iron.

Press the brake pedal slowly a few times, holding each depression for three seconds. This will replenish the brake fluid in the caliper piston that was displaced by forcing the piston open.


  • check Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder once the pads are replaced. The master cylinder is found under the hood, on the left side near the windshield. Fill the master cylinder as necessary with DOT-3 brake fluid.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera brake image by Jan Will from