Brake pads are a consumable part of a vehicle's braking system and are specifically designed to wear out over time. Brake pads are the point of friction in a braking system. Because the brake pads are consumable, other parts of the brake system can be designed to wear less quickly while still remaining effective. You should buy brake pads which are suitable for your car and driving style when it comes to replace your brake pads.
Confirm that you need brake pads. Brake problems may not be related to the pads themselves. When you hear a high-pitched squealing sound when braking, you would better replace your brake pads. Other indicators include pull (where your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake), brakes that grab or vibrate during regular braking and a decrease in resistance when pressing the brake pedal.
Select a type of brake pad. Semimetallic pads are durable but can quickly wear down rotors. Non-asbestos organic (NAO) pads are softer but wear down faster. Low-metallic NAO pads provide excellent braking but can be noisy. Ceramic pads are particularly good at braking and do not excessively wear down rotors but are the most expensive.
Select a certified brake pad. There are two forms of certification, D3EA and BEEP. The Consumer Reports non-profit consumer products ratings organization recommends you seek D3EA certification rather than BEEP.
Select a grade of brake pad. Standard certified pads are sufficient for normal driving. However, if you regularly drive on steep inclines, use your vehicle for towing or in some other way make high demands on your brake pads, consider an upgraded, heavy-duty pad.
Confirm the specific size of brake pad and check for any vehicle-specific requirements or specifications in your vehicle's owner's manual.
You need to know how often you should change your brake pads if you have a stop-and-go driving style. Changing brake pads can be a bit tricky, but it's possible once you get the hang of it.
Step 1 – Determining if Your Brake Pads Need to Be Changed
Find Your Brake Pads
First, you must check your brake pads to see how much they are worn. Look at the brake pads from outside of the front tire. You can see the pads easily for lots of pads when you look through the openings on the outer part of the wheel assembly.
Check the Pads
Next, check the depth of the pad. If it’s less than 1/4 inch, you should change the pads soon. If the brake pad’s depth is less than 1/8 inch, you must get them changed right away, so that you don’t damage the rotor.
You should replace your your brake pads when you hear a squeaking sound in driving.
Step 2 – Preparing Your Car
Once you've determined that you need to change your brake pads, block the rear wheels. This will prevent your vehicle from rolling when you raise the car with a jack. Then, put the car in “park” and set the parking brake.
Step 3 – Lifting the Car Up
Using a tire iron, loosen the lug nuts on the wheels. Loosen them just enough so that they are free and easy to turn with the tire iron. Then, slip the jack under the car, using a jack stand for safety. Raise the front axle off the ground. Put your jack stands under each axel, and lower the car onto the stands.
Step 4 – Removing the Parts
Focus on changing one side of brake pads at a time. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel, and then remove the bolts that hold the caliper in place. Slide the caliper away from the rotor. You will see the brake pads. Move the piston back to its “full open” position. Doing this will bring the braking system back to the original position to accommodate the new brake pads.
If your pads are broken, you must repair them. Whether you have a professional repair them or do it yourself will likely determine on how much money you want to spend.
Step 5 – Installing the Pads
Next, remove the old brake pads from the caliper. They should easily slide out, but if they don’t, you can use a pry bar. Then, put the new brake pads on.
Apply grease to the backs of the new brake pads and assemble brakes in the reverse order you took them apart. Repeat the process for the other side of the vehicle.