Replacing the Brake Pads in your Car

If you hear a squealing noise anytime you brake as you drive, it almost always means that you need to replace the pads in your brakes. This is an easy fix that you can do by yourself, and will prevent wear on your car that would later require you to go into a shop for service. Using this method, you can replace the brake pads on your car and save yourself quite a bit of money in the process.

What Are Brake Pads?

A car's brake pads are the part of your brakes that apply the frictional force needed to stop the car when it's in motion. These pads are built with a warning system included that squeals when the brakes are used and the pad is worn down.  The pads clamp onto a "rotor" which is connected to the wheel. An additional piece, called a "caliper," which pushes the brake pads against the rotor to apply the frictional force, causing the car to slow down. These are the components of a car that you need to know to replace the pads.

Replacing the Brake Pads

First, make sure that your car is lifted up and secure in the air so that you can reach everything inside the wheel cavity comfortably. Locate the bolts (two to four) holding your caliper onto the rotor, and remove them.

Then, after the bolts are out, remove the caliper itself and let it rest on top of the rotor. With the caliper out of the way, it's simple to remove your current brake pads and replace them with new ones. 

Finally, using a brake pad tool that you can find at any auto parts store, remove the old brake pad that was attached to the caliper by rotating the end of the tool.

Reinstalling the Other Parts

With the new brake pads securely in place, it's now time to replace the caliper and bolts. Take the caliper that's resting on top of the rotor, and carefully secure it in the same place you got it from with the bolts from before. 

Using this method, you can save yourself the money of having to get your brake pads and rotors replaced in a shop. You should perform this maintenance quickly once you hear your brakes squealing, before they begin to make a grinding noise instead. Once they start to make a grinding noise, you'll eventually need take your car to a shop like Inspired Panel & Paint to get it serviced.