With the right parts and a handful of tools, DIYers can learn how to do a brake service. While we’ve talked about the exact steps involved in replacing brake pads before, doing a brake service is easy and takes specific steps and no shortcuts. Our guide below goes over some of the finer points. It gives you tips to have the best outcome for brake jobs.
- Difficulty: Medium
- Duration: 1-2 hours
- How often: Every season
Choosing the Right Brake Parts
Brake parts, much like vehicles, are designed for different driving conditions. Using an economy car to tow a snowmobile trailer, for example, is just as ineffective as installing economy brakes on a truck used for towing and hauling. For a commuter car, economy pads are fine, but high-performance brake pads are overkill.
NAPA Auto Parts provides the brake pads that match your driving style. All NAPA Brakes products meet OE requirements in both form and function, and include hardware when required. A safer choice when servicing your brakes as everything is included in the box. Learn which brake pads and brake rotors fit your needs right here.
How to do the perfect brake service
Once you have the right brake parts, follow these three tips for the perfect brake service.
Clean thoroughly – Ensure all mating surfaces are free of rust and corrosion. Sandpaper, wire wheel brushes, wire cup brushes, and abrasive discs are all good tools for cleaning down to the metal. A chisel may be necessary in cases of extreme rust. Some especially important areas are the hub face, hub centre, and brake pad carrier or frame. Use high-temperature paint to protect the brake caliper and frame from future corrosion.
Use the right lubricant for your brake parts – Brake caliper slide pins and brake pad retaining pins allow for enough movement so that brake pads stay in place without dragging on the brake rotor. Use heavy silicone grease—not anti-seize compound—on slide pins after having cleaned them properly. Lubricate contact points (where the pads are in contact with the caliper with high temperature ceramic grease or a slight tuch of antiseize. Retaining pins can be protected with a dab of anti-seize. A very light coat of anti-seize on the brake rotor centre hole will ease future removal.
Change any parts that show signs of wear. First, let’s do a statement here: always change the hardware when changing your brake pads. Replacing hardware is one of the most overlooked maintenance for brakes and can be the cause of many future issues because of rust. Also, inspect your caliper piston and boots. If the caliper piston is rusted, are you sure you want to replace your brake pads again in a few weeks with possibly a new set of rotors because of a seized caliper? Plan ahead and prepare for a bigger job sooner than later. Prevention is key when dealing with brakes.
Torque and brake bedding – Be sure to properly torque all fasteners to recommended specifications, such as caliper mounting bolts and lug nuts. Pump up the brakes fully before attempting to move the vehicle. Spend the first 10 minutes driving bedding in the new brake pads, with a couple of braking decelerations from 60 km to 15 km. Because brakes are such an important safety feature, it might be a good idea to have your work checked by your local trusted mechanic.
We only briefly mentioned the different brake parts available for your car. Make sure to check out our next article, where we further explain what kind of brakes are best suited for your vehicle and driving habits.
By Benjamin Jerew