Brake pads are a common maintenance task that is surprisingly easy to accomplish on your own. Whether you’re a skilled mechanic or just starting to tackle auto repair tasks, you’re probably wondering, how much does it cost to replace brakes? Learn how to spot the signs of worn brake pads and simple replacement steps before comparing prices online.
Signs of Worn Brake Pads
There are a few basic signs that point to pads that need to be replaced. The sign you see first can vary, but here are the basic signs to look for:
- Squealing noises
- Metal-on-metal scraping when you press the brake pad
- Brake pad warning light turns on
- You’ve driven 50,000 miles since your last brake pad replacement
- Pads are worn to less than 1/4 inch thickness
The most obvious signs are loud noises as you press your brake pedal. Wet brake pads may make squealing sounds though, so it’s important to perform a visual inspection to determine the quality of your existing pads.
Uneven brake pad wear can be a sign of brake caliper or rotor damage. Inspect these other areas if your brake pads are unevenly worn. Don’t hesitate to replace brake pads that are less than a 1/4 inch thick. If they aren’t worn down this thin, but you notice other warning signs, there may be an issue with your brake calipers or rotors.
How To Replace Brake Pads
Disc brakes are relatively easy to replace with a few hand tools, safety gear, replacement brake pads, a jack and jack stands. However, your brake system can come in a few different styles. Be sure you know whether you have disc brakes, drum brakes, sliding calipers or fixed calipers. Shop at AutoZone to use AutoZone coupons and find the exact specifications of brakes for your make and model of vehicle.
Most brake pads are sold in pairs, because it’s best to replace both front or both rear pads whenever you perform this task. Start by removing a wheel to access the brake caliper. It’s easiest to loosen the lug nuts before lifting your vehicle with your jack and securing it with jack stands. Be sure to follow the proper safety instructions for using your jack stands.
Most slider calipers have two bolts, or pins, that hold them in place. Remove the two bolts and pivot the caliper up to gain access to the brake pads. Take out the pads and retaining clips. Inspect them for signs of unusual wear before installing the new pads.
Your new brake pads should come with retaining clips and a small amount of grease to prevent the retaining clips from squeaking. Use a C-clamp or other tool to retract the pistons and close the caliper. Replace the two bolts and tire.
Enjoy Affordable Brake Pads
This process may have caused some brake fluid loss, so check the fluid levels before testing out your new pads. Learn more about this easy DIY maintenance task at your local auto parts store or online. Shop for ceramic, metallic or semi-metallic brake pads that fit your vehicle for easy, efficient replacement.