If the brakes on your car aren’t working well and you’re not an expert at motor maintenance, it’s essential to have the problem properly foxed by a qualified automotive technician or mechanic.
That said, the routine replacement of worn brake discs and pads is a job you can manage on your own.
Here’s what you need to know in order to replace brake pads and discs.
Tools and equipment
Firstly, you need the correct tools and equipment. Make sure your toolbox contains these items:
- jack and jack stand
- tyre iron
- cable ties
- socket wrench
- wire brush
- replacement brake discs and pads.
When to replace brake pads
If your brake pads make a squealing, growling or metallic sound every time the brakes are engaged they’re most probably worn.
When that happens, get down on your hands and knees and inspect all four wheels.
If the pads show signs of uneven wear, or are less than 3 mm thick, it’s time to get out the tool box.
When to replace brake discs
If the discs are cracked or have reached a minimum thickness of around 37 mm, fitting replacement discs is essential.
To save time and money, replace the brake discs and pads at the same time.
Before you tackle the job, ensure your vehicle is parked on a flat, even surface with the parking brake fully engaged.
Use the tyre iron to loosen the wheel nuts.
Jack up the car using the jack stand to support and stabilise the vehicle.
Undo the wheel nuts and remove the wheel to expose the brake disc – or rotor – and the calliper containing the brake pads.
How to replace brake discs
Open the calliper by removing the guide pins and lower bolt located behind the dust cover.
Rotate it up and away from the brake disc.
Use a cable tie to secure the calliper onto the wheel’s spring coil.
Remove both brake pads, cut the cable tie and use a wrench to take the calliper carrier off the wheel hub.
Using a wire brush, clean the calliper and put it to one side.
Use a few sharp taps of a hammer to remover the brake disc or rotor and clean the wheel hub with the brush.
Apply a smear of grease around the hub’s surface, fit the new brake disc and align it with the disc-locating holes.
Pop the bolts into the locating holes and wipe the disc to remove any grease or dust.
Tighten the bolts with the socket wrench.
Turn your attention to the next step – slotting the brake pads into the calliper.
How to replace brake pads
As the old brake pads have already been removed – and the calliper carrier is open and tied back in its original position with the cable tie – all that’s left to do is slide the new pads into place.
Before that can happen, you have to compress the piston back to an open position using the c-clamp.
Then slide the new pads into place between the top and bottom notches, ensuring that the small extensions on the pads are properly seated in each notch.
Remove the c-clamp and apply brake oil to the bolts, brake bushings and piston.
Avoid getting oil onto the friction surface of the disc and pads.
Rotate the calliper back into position, insert the lower bolt and use the wrench to tighten the bolt.
Put the wheel back on and hand tighten the wheel nuts.
Remove the jack stand and lower the car.
Repeat the process on the three remaining wheels.
Where to get the best brake pads and discs in South Africa
Masterparts is a key supplier of top quality automotive parts and components in South Africa. We stock thousands of parts for hundreds of vehicle makes and models, including brake pads and brake discs.
Our range of brake discs are CNC machined and electronically balanced. We source them from leading global brands, such as SKF, Metelli, Febi Bilstein, Fremax, Stone and Valco.
Because safety is paramount, we supply only the best brake pads. They meet the highest possible standards for quality, safety and reliability.
Our chosen suppliers of premium quality brake pads are:
- Febi Bilstein, an auto-parts supplier based in Germany
- Stone, a specialist brake-component manufacturer
- Metelli, an Italian company with a well-established track record.