How to Change Brake Pads

Tools for Changing Brake Pads

Audi's R8 brake rotor, caliper and pads
You may not drive anything as fancy as this Audi R8. But even if you did, brake pad repair is a job you can always do yourself.

The tools for fixing brakes, especially the ones used for changing your brake pads, are not hard to use. In fact, they can typically be found at any hardware store or auto parts shop. 

­Here's a rundown of what you'll need, and why:


  • A C-clamp -- This will press on the caliper assembly and push the piston all the way in, resetting the brake once the new pads are in place. Note: Some vehicles will require the use of a special ­brake caliper tool to retract the brake caliper piston. Remember, prior to beginning any repair job, it's always a good idea to thoroughly investigate what will be required in order to determine any special tools you may need -- like a brake caliper tool
  • A wrench to remove the caliper bolts -- You may need an Allen or Torx wrench for this job, depending on the vehicle. 
  • A lug wrench -- To remove the wheel nuts; although, you've most likely already used this tool prior to raising the vehicle. 
  • Gloves -- These are to protect your hands from the chemicals and dirt that you'll encounter during the procedure. 
  • A dust mask and safety glasses -- The mask is to prevent breathing in brake dust, and the glasses are to protect your eyes from flying metal pieces and/or fluids during the actual brake work. 
  • New brake pads -- Obviously, these are to replace your old, worn out brake pads.

Many of us probably already have most of these tools lying around in our garage or work area. In other words, brake repair isn't completely out of reach for the average do-it-yourself weekend mechanic. In addition to the simple tools list above, the new pads won't exactly break the bank, either. A set of standard replacement brake pads for your vehicle can be found at just about any auto parts store or even online. Typical prices range between $40 and $100 per axle.

Next - we'll discuss how to remove your old brake pads so you can start repairing your brakes.