Replace Your Brake Pads in 6 Easy Steps

Your car’s brakes are one of the most important components to keep it running smoothly. Your brake pads slowly break down over time and need to be changed once every 20,000 miles or so, depending on how hard you ride your brakes. If you don’t drive your car frequently, your brakes will last longer than normal. However, if it has been over two years since your last brake pad change, check your pads to ensure they are still functioning well.

Learning how to change your own brake pads is a must if you’re looking to save some serious cash over the years. Depending on your vehicle, it may be a much simpler task than you first thought. With just a few hours of time and some replacement parts, you’ll be back to a smooth ride. At U Pull & Pay, we love a good DIY auto repair project. Today, we’re taking a deeper dive into replacing brake pads in 6 easy steps.


What You’ll Need

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes

Cost: Less than $40-60

Required tools: C-clamp, adjustable wrench, lug wrench, hammer.



Step One: Jack Up Your Car

The first step is to jack up your car and rest it securely on jack stands. All of the weight needs to be off your tires, as they will need to be removed to complete the repair.


Step Two: Loosen the Lug Nuts

Loosen and remove the lugs on your tires and set them aside. Remove the wheel that has been lifted off the ground.


Step Three: Open the Caliper

Once you have taken the tire off, remove the brake caliper so that the brake pads slide out through the top. Your caliper should remain at the 12 o’clock position, directly above the lug bolts. You will find bolts on both sides of your caliper. Remove the bolts on both sides of your caliper and set them aside in a safe place. Once these bolts are removed, hold the caliper firmly from the top and pull directly upwards. Loosen it up with a few taps of the hammer if necessary but be careful of the brake line, which should look like a small, black hose. Once you’ve removed the caliper, place it next to the bolts you’ve removed, and the brake pads should easily slide out.


Step Four: Replace the Retaining Clips

Swap out your old brake pads with your new brake pads by affixing them with the retaining clips. Older cars may require a bit of poking and prodding, but remember to be gentle if you use your hammer.


Step Five: Retract the Pistons

Once your new pads are installed, compress the brake piston. Use your C-clamp and use the screw side against the piston with the other end on the back of the caliper assembly. Tighten the clamp until the piston has moved enough for you to place the caliper over the new pads.


Step Six: Reinstall Your Brake Caliper

All that’s left to do now is to reinstall your brake caliper and wheel by simply reversing the above directions.




  • As you are working on your brakes, make sure to monitor your brake fluid levels. As you push the pistons back into place, your levels will move. As you slowly replace each brake, ensure your brake fluid is not in danger of spilling over.
  • Once you’re finished, take your vehicle out for a test drive in a familiar, safe area to make sure everything is working properly. Take extra care and precaution, allowing yourself a larger braking distance as you test your newly replaced brakes.



Making the Most of a DIY Auto Repair Job

Learning to replace your own brake pads can save you time and hassle down the road. While it may be tricky at first, you’ll likely discover that it is much less daunting than it sounds. Whether you’re an auto repair newbie or consider yourself a seasoned mechanic, the friendly experts at your local U Pull & Pay are here to help.

Get some extra bang for your buck when you opt for used auto parts. Give your vehicle some TLC with OEM parts at discount prices rather than settling for inexpensive aftermarket replacements. Quickly find what you need online when you search through our parts inventory. Don’t see what you need? Sign up for inventory alerts.

Have a list of other car troubles you’re looking to troubleshoot? Check out our blog for helpful articles, how-to guides, and more!


Contact Us

Ready to get started with replacing your own brake pads? Stop by your local U Pull & Pay to find everything you need to get started on your next auto repair project. Have an old car sitting around? Get a free quote for selling your vehicle to us and get paid instantly! Have a question for the team? Contact us to get in touch with an expert.



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