However, there are some repair jobs that can be easily done yourself. With these comprehensive tips, you will be able to learn how to efficiently and effectively replace your brakes and make sure your car is back up and running.
What You Need to Know
First, in order to be able to effectively replace your brakes, you will need to understand how they work. The braking system of any vehicle must be treated with great experience, seeing as brakes are one of the most important components of a car. The brakes are typically made out of a simple hydraulic system. As soon as the driver applies force to the pedal, the system starts to apply a clamping force to the wheels. Thus, the car is allowed to come to a complete stop.
After a while, your braking system will become worn out and start producing a screech. The sound you hear is a safety measure with the intention of alerting drivers to change their brakes. This happens when your brake pad starts wearing down on the rotor. However, some brake pads are not as effective as others, where they do not produce an audible sound. Modern vehicles are capable of alerting drivers by displaying that they need changing on the car’s dashboard.
The costs of replacing the braking system will vary between each vehicle. Typically, all four pads for the front and rear of a non-performance vehicle will range from $50-$80. However, they can go up to $150-$200 with the rotors included. By DIY-ing the task, you can save up to $180.
How to Replace Your Brakes
Replacing your vehicle’s braking system can be easily performed from your garage or driveway. Here are some tips to help you out.
1 - Tools
Before you start unlocking your brakes and taking it apart, you will need to acquire the appropriate set of tools. These are:
Ratchet (3/8” and 1/2")
Assorted Extension (3/8”)
A Break Bar (1/2”)
Sockets, Assorted (3/8” and 1/2”)
If you own a German or American manufactured vehicle, you might need additional tools, like assorted Torx and reverse Torx sockets, as well as Hex sockets.
2 - Rotors and Brake Pads
Ideally, you will need to acquire ceramic brake pads, as they tend to be the most effective. They are capable of giving the best ‘brake feel’ while providing longer protection against the system’s deterioration. However, ceramic pads develop a tendency of accumulating dust, which happens with a higher frequency than traditional pads. That said, your GM Brake Parts will need to be genuine parts, in order to ensure the best results. They can be obtained from salvage yards, though it is best to order yours online.
3 - Loosen the Lugs and Raise the Car
You will need to loosen the lug nuts, which can be done by activating the emergency brake. That way you will be able to remove them easily with a regular ratchet. Keep in mind that when you are working on the rear of the car, look to place a few bricks behind the front wheels. Once the wheels are off, deactivate the emergency brake.
You will then need to raise your car with a hydraulic jack. The jack must be placed on either side of the bottom of the vehicle, where it will need to connect with the jack points or the frame rail. The jack points are the parts protruding from under which can be seen as dimpled pieces. German vehicles typically use rubber for the jack points. Once the jack stand is put into place, make sure that the car’s weight is resting on it, to ensure that the position is fixed. Use this opportunity to clean your wheels from the brake dust that has been accumulated.
4 - Caliper & Caliper Carrier
The caliper should typically have 14mm bolts on it. Once they are removed, you will be able to easily remove the caliper itself. A pry bar may be used to ‘pry out’ the caliper. Then, have it rest on the vehicle’s suspension and make sure not to place strain on your brake line.
As for the caliper carrier, you will look to remove the 19mm bolts that are on the rear. They are usually fixed in tight, so use a mallet or breaker bar to help you remove them.
5 - Rotor
The rotor should also be removed. This can be achieved by using a hammer, which should come out with a few whacks. But make sure you removed the locating screw if your rotors have one. However, since rust can be an issue, look to start by pulling on the threaded holes, which will force the bolts out from its place.
6 - Install New Rotor and Assemble the Carrier
As you look to install the rotor, you will need to bring out your wire brush and remove any rust found on the hub. This is to prevent future corrosion. Also, use an open-ended wrench with a lug nut in order to secure the rotor and have it sit flush. If there is oil or oil residue, you can have it removed with a degreaser. The carrier should have its bolts replaced so that you may then tighten them with a breaker bar.
7 - Compress Caliper
Look to compress the caliper piston with a C-Clamp. This must be done until the piston is tight with the caliper’s housing. However, you will need to first make sure that the brake reservoir has the cap off since having it on could blow a brake line.
8 - Install the Caliper & Pads
You will need to use some of your anti-squeal grease during this operation. Have them placed on the outside of the pad. That way, you can ensure having a smooth operation. The pads will be installed inside the carrier and will be followed by the installation of the caliper bolts. Once that is done, make sure that the caliper can move without binding. Then just put on the wheels and double-check your work.
Self-installing your braking system can be easily operated from any place, with regular tools. However, it is important to ensure that the installation has gone by successfully as it could otherwise present an issue. Also, make sure to pump your brakes until the pressure is reached, which can be done with 3 pumps of the pedal. And remember to make sure your brake parts are genuine.