How To Change Your Cars Front Brakes Yourself
OK i have been promising these types of hubs for about two years now and have finally got around to writing them,this hub features how to fit your own front brake to your car,now I'm sure you may have been to a garage at some point in your life and been told that your front pads and discs need replacing and you have then stood there with an anxious look on your face as the garage manager prints you out a quote,Usually depending on what vehicle you own this can range from anywhere between £140-£350 or the dollar equivalent if your in the US.This is quite a large sum of money for what with most vehicles is a relatively simple job,and when you think that you may be able to get the parts alone for less than half those figures it seems silly not to replace them yourselves,there are of course some safety issues that need addressing and i will state that anyone who is not confident of dong it after reading this hub should not attempt in anyway to change any part of the braking system.
Now the components you will be dealing with are the callipers,the calliper carriers,the discs and the pads and possibly the Flexible brake hoses but more on that later,these are the standard parts you will have to remove and refit on most modern vehicles,they are all held in place using different methods,some are bolted with bolts,some have just nuts,some have torx bolts and others use Allen key bolts,they are all different but essentially the same if you get my meaning.Once you become familiar with how your particular vehicles components are attached then you will be doing this job very quickly.In the next section i will talk about each component in the order of which you will come across it and how to remove it and what it does.Im also assuming you know how to take the wheels off the vehicle.
Before starting you will need to remove the cap off of the brake fluid resevoir under the bonnet,this is to sto pthe internal seals from turning inside out.Now this is the first thing you will have to remove,the caliper essentially covers the brake pads and inside the caliper there is a channel and a piston,now you will see from looking at your caliper that there is a rubber hose leading to it,this is your flexible brake hose and supplies brake fluid to the caliper which in turn is forced through the channels and squeezes an internal piston in the caliper outwards and this in turn pushes the brake pads against the brake disc,all this happens instantly as you put your foot down on the pedal,so to remove this it will be held in place by either two bolts top and bottom or one bolt at the bottom or perhaps even a simple slider pin at the bottom,either way they are usually quite simple to remove,if it has slider pins remember to give them a small squirt of wd 40 or some other type of lubricant as they can stick.Once the securing mechanism has been removed you can give the caliper a little tug or you can get a lever bar in there and lever it out,now don't let it hang as this can cause damage to the flexible hose,just prop it up somewhere out of the way.
Caliper carriers are basically the forged piece of metal behind the caliper that the caliper bolts onto and this is the part that holds the brake pads in place,Now you already have the caliper out of the way so that means you now have access to your brake pads so with a screwdriver you should be able to lever the pads out and then give you access to your brake caliper carrier,give it a bit of a clean using either brake cleaner or just a wire brush to get rid of all the old brake dust,they may have brake shims in there too which are basically anti-squeal plates,they are copper looking plates that sit top and bottom of the carrier,if you have them then you will get new ones with your new pads if you don't you wont simple as,they just pop off with your hands and just push the new ones into place.Once thats done you need to remove the carrier,you dont always need to sometimes the disc will slip past it but im assuming the worst case which means you have to remove it.If you put your head into the wheel arch you will see it is held in by two bolts,they will be either torx or regular bolts and quite tight so you will have to use a big long breaker bar,crack these off and remove the carrier.
These are the discs and they are bolted to the hub and when the brake pads are applied to them they slow the vehicle to a stop.These are usually held on only by a grub screw or two as they are essentially held in place by the wheel being bolted to the hub,they are usually either torx screws or phillips head screws keeping them in postition.
Once you have removed all of the above then it is simply a matter of doing everything in the reverse order,although you will want to put some copper grease on the edges of the brake pads that sit in the carrier as this helps movement of the pad back and forth.Once this is done and you have replaced the components in the reverse order and made sure that everything is tight then you need to replace the brake fluid reservoir cap and then enter the vehicle and pump the pedal to take up the slack in the caliper piston, once the pedal feels good and hard and you are confident that everything is nice and tight then it is tie for the road test, on the road test you are listening out for any noises,such as grinding or scraping and making sure that the pads get a bit of a bedding in by gentle braking,then make sure that for the next couple of hundred miles you use gentle braking until the brakes are bedded in nicely.Congratuations you have just changed your first set of pads and discs.