Brake pads are relatively inexpensive, compared to other car parts that may need to be replaced, and they last a long time. The average lifespan for brake pads is about 18.000 to 31.000 miles, but this can differ a lot depending on the brake pad quality and your driving style.
After you’ve taken the time to inspect your brake pads or you have seen and heard clear symptoms of their excessive wear and tear, it’s time to go to a car workshop to replace them.
How long it really takes to change brake pads depends on a lot of factors. In general, it takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour on average to change brake pads.
However, if the brake pads are worn out, it’s best to leave it to a car mechanic, as this job requires precision. If just one of your pads is worn out, your car will not stop properly.
The actual time needed to change the brake pads can differ based on different factors like what brake pads you have, the skill of the mechanic, or your skills if you are doing this by yourself.
For example: On some car models, especially on race cars or heavily modified ones, it will take longer to replace brake pads because they are made from stronger materials, they can have different sizes, and are harder to change. If you have regular wheels, then 30 minutes to 1 hour is enough to get the job done by a skilled mechanic.
The process of changing the brake pads
The process of changing the brake pads is fairly simple. You do not need to know how to change the brake pads to perform this repair.
The steps are as follows:
After the brake pads are off, the valve is pulled from its seat in the caliper. Then, press out the old pad and replace it with the new one. Repeat this process on the other side of your car for both brakes.
There are two types of brake pad systems: disc-style and drum-style. If you have a disc-style model, just replace both sides at once and slide your wheels back into place so they’re flush with each other again.
If you have a drum-style system, put the wheels back in place again after you’ve done the first side and then repeat this procedure on the second side. You’ll need to make sure that your wheels are flush with each other afterward.
How long does it take to do a full brake replacement job?
The entire process takes about 15 minutes per brake. This includes making sure your wheels are raised, removing all of your car’s pieces and putting them back together again, and taking off the old brake pads, and installing the new ones after finishing everything else.
If you’re looking to perform this repair yourself, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Remove one wheel from an axle before removing any other parts of your car that need to be off.
- Step 2: Remove the cable from the brake caliper arm, which is located on each side of your car, and hold it with a wrench.
- Step 3: Gently pull up on the valve stem to release it from its seat in the caliper.
- Step 4: Pull out the old brake pad and push in a new one. Repeat this process for both sides of your car.
For disc brakes, this all happens really quickly because you have to just pull off both sides and slide them around to make sure they’re flush with each other again before putting everything together again and removing your wheels from your car’s axle.
For drum brakes, just take off one side of your car after you put the wheels back on it, and then you can put everything back together again.
After putting everything (including your wheels) back on your car, adjust the brakes so that they’re working correctly and make sure they’re going to your expectations before shutting the car’s engine off.
What tools are needed to change the brake pads?
A wrench or a screwdriver. These are needed to remove the wheel’s lug nuts and also to remove the brakes from your car. A jack is also needed in case you need to adjust your car’s height before removing the wheels and brakes. Wrenches of all sizes are required when changing the brake pads on disc-brake models because you’ll need to adjust them differently on each side of your car’s axle for them to be flush with each other again.
Checks you should perform after installing the new brake pads
After installing the new brake pads, you should perform the following checks :
- Make sure that the brake pads are fitted in the right position. If they’re not, you’ll need to remove them and refit them again.
- Adjust the caliper piston so that it doesn’t interfere with the new brake pads.
- Observe any leaks in your system for fluids such as brake fluid or anticorrosive fluid and fix them as soon as possible.
- Check if there is any dirt or dust left on your brakes to make sure they work properly.
- Test your brakes to make sure they are working correctly before driving off with your car.
- If your brakes squeak, check the wheel bolts if they’re tight enough.
- If you hear grinding sounds when braking, your brake discs might need replacing.
- Drive on a smooth road for about 10 meters to push the brake pedal and test if there is anything wrong with the brake pads.
- Make sure that you’ve not forgotten to fix anything else on these brakes and put all items back in place in case you’ve removed them earlier.
- Before driving off, adjust your handbrake if it’s not working properly.