A vehicle’s brakes are one of its most important components, and the difference between a working set and a broken set could be the difference between stopping in time or bumping into the garage door. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you maintain your vehicle’s brakes at all times – whether you’re changing the pads or simply topping up the brake fluid reservoir.
Instead of taking your car to a garage every time your brakes start faltering, why not have a go at running a few basic tests yourself? Not only will this save you money but it’ll also help you develop your engineering skills even further – a win win scenario!
To brake the habit and attempt some DIY brake repair yourself, just follow the steps listed below.
1. First, start by checking the brake fluid level. To do this, simply pop the bonnet open, reinforce it in place and locate the brake fluid reservoir. Once you’ve done this, check the level of the fluid and simply add more if required.
2. If the fluid level is ok but your brakes still aren’t working as they should, the next step is to change your vehicles’ brake pads. Do this one wheel at a time, following each of the steps below.
3. Locate the jacking point near the wheel you’re going to be working on, and jack up the vehicle – using a chock of wood on the end of your jack to protect the underside of your chassis.
4. Before the wheel is fully off the ground, crack each nut using a ratchet and a bar. Once you’ve done this, keep jacking the car until the wheel is slightly off the ground.
5. Remove the wheel and place it safely out of the way.
6. In front of you, you should see your brake disc (the part the pads bite onto to stop your wheel from moving) and the caliper (the part that’s attached to the disc). At the back of the caliper, you’ll notice some bolts holding it in place – these need to be removed using a ratchet and socket.
7. With the caliper hanging loose, use a tie-wrap to stop it from getting in the way or damaging the vehicle’s brake hose.
8. Now, remove the old pads that sit in front of you, in the part of the brake that’s still attached to the disc. These may be held in by small metal clips, but once these are removed, they should slide out with relative ease (some WD40 should help things along if you find they’re a little seized).
9. Insert the new pads and pop the whole thing back together again. Reattach the wheel and test your brakes at a low speed – preferably no faster than 5mph.
If you feel your brakes haven’t improved since replacing the pads or topping up the brake fluid reservoir, you may want to consider taking your vehicle to a local mechanic for a more in-depth inspection.
Don’t forget, at CarParts4Less, you’ll find everything you need to keep your brakes happy and healthy. From fluids to pads, simply enter your vehicle registration on our homepage and find the right parts for your motor today.