Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement - Front RWD

Step by step guide on how to replace front brake pads and rotors on a rear wheel drive vehicle. This article pertains to many rear wheel drive vehicles.

Difficulty Scale: 4 of 10

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Wrench set
  • Socket set
  • Large channel locks or "C' clamp
  • Brake fluid
  • Cotter pins
  • Shop towels
  • Replacement pads
  • Replacement rotors
  • Line pliers (optional)
  • Dikes (side cutters)
  • Small chisel
  • Hammer
  • Axle bearing grease
  • Protective eyewear and gloves
Begin with the vehicle on level ground with the emergency brake set with the engine "OFF". Lift the vehicle by the manufactures recommended instructions and secure with jack stands.

Step 1 - Once the vehicle is safely in the air remove the front tire lug nuts. (Note: If air tools are not used loosen the lugs (one turn) when the vehicle is still on the ground.)

Remove Lug Nuts

Step 2 - After the lug nuts have been removed, grasp the wheel and lift it from the rotor and wheel studs.

Remove Tire

Step 3 - Gently using line pliers to stop the flow of brake fluid, loosen the brake line off of the brake caliper. (Note: This step needed only with some models.)

Loosen Brake Line

Step 4 - Once the brake line has been removed there will be two sealing washers which will need to be cleaned for reassembly.

Copper Sealing Washer

Step 5 - Loosen both caliper slide bolts with a socket or wrench.

Loosen Caliper Slide Bolts

Step 6 - Next, finish loosening the bolts and remove.

Caliper Slide Bolt Removal

Step 7 - After the caliper bolts have been removed push the caliper side to side which will loosen the caliper for removal. Never allow the caliper to hang on the brake flex hose.

Brake Caliper

Step 8 - Using a small screwdriver loosen the pads from the brake rotor and caliper mount.

Loosen Brake Pads

Step 9 - Once the pads are loose, remove them from the caliper mounting bracket.

Worn Brake Pad

Step 10 - Next, locate and remove the caliper mount bolts and remove the caliper mount.

Remove Caliper Mount Bolts

Step 11 - After the caliper mount has been removed, use a small chisel and hammer to knock the bearing dust cap from the rotor.

Remove Bearing Cap

Step 12 - While working the chisel and hammer be ready for the cap to pop off.


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2015-01-03)