How to change rotors and brake pads?

How to change rotors and brake pads?


Changing rotors and brake pads is an essential maintenance task for any vehicle owner. Over time, these components wear down and need to be replaced to ensure optimal braking performance and safety on the road. In this article, we will dive deeper into the process of changing rotors and brake pads, providing step-by-step instructions and useful tips to help you successfully complete this task.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you start changing the rotors and brake pads, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here are some of the key items you will need:

– Jack and jack stands
– Lug wrench
– C-clamp or brake caliper tool
– Socket set
– Torque wrench
– Wire brush or sandpaper

– New rotors
– New brake pads
– Brake cleaner
– Anti-seize compound
– Brake lubricant

Prepare the Vehicle

To begin the process, park your vehicle on a flat surface and engage the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels you will be working on, but do not remove them completely at this stage. Then, use a jack to lift the vehicle off the ground and secure it with jack stands for safety.

Remove the Old Brake Pads

Once the vehicle is securely lifted, you can proceed to remove the old brake pads. Start by removing the caliper bolts or pins using a socket or wrench. Carefully slide the caliper off the rotor and suspend it using a wire or bungee cord to avoid putting strain on the brake hose.

Next, remove the old brake pads from the caliper bracket. Depending on the type of brake system, you may need to use a C-clamp or brake caliper tool to compress the caliper piston and create enough space for the new brake pads.

Inspect and Replace the Rotors

With the brake pads removed, it’s a good time to inspect the condition of the rotors. Look for any signs of excessive wear, scoring, or warping. If the rotors are damaged or worn beyond the manufacturer’s specifications, it is recommended to replace them with new ones.

To replace the rotors, remove the caliper bracket bolts using a socket or wrench. Once the bracket is removed, you can easily slide off the old rotors. Clean the hub surface thoroughly using a wire brush or sandpaper to ensure proper contact with the new rotors.

Install the New Rotors and Brake Pads

Before installing the new rotors, apply a thin layer of anti-seize compound to the hub surface to prevent corrosion. Slide the new rotors onto the hub and secure them with the caliper bracket. Tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification using a torque wrench.

Next, it’s time to install the new brake pads. Apply a small amount of brake lubricant to the back of each pad to reduce noise and ensure smooth operation. Place the brake pads into the caliper bracket, making sure they are properly aligned with the rotor. Reinstall the caliper over the pads and secure it with the bolts or pins.

Final Steps

With the new rotors and brake pads in place, you’re almost done. Before lowering the vehicle, pump the brake pedal a few times to ensure proper brake pad seating. This will also help restore the brake pedal feel.

Finally, double-check all the bolts and connections to ensure everything is tightened properly. Lower the vehicle from the jack stands and tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern. Once the vehicle is back on the ground, test the brakes in a safe area to ensure they are functioning correctly.


Changing rotors and brake pads is a task that requires some mechanical knowledge and the right tools. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can successfully replace these components and maintain optimal braking performance for your vehicle. Remember to always consult your vehicle’s manual and exercise caution throughout the process.