Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement - Front RWD

Step 48 - Lift the hub and rotor while using both thumbs to hold the outer bearing in place as it is slide back into position. Some resistance may be experienced, a slight jostling may be required.

Installing Brake Rotor and Bearing Hub

Step 49 - Once the bearing hub rotor assembly is back into place, install the spindle washer.

Spindle Washer

Step 50 - After installing the spindle washer, install the nut and tighten to bring up the slack but do not tighten.

Install Spindle Nut

Step 51 - This part is important, if not done correctly it can cause the bearings to fail. While turning the rotor tighten (light snug) and loosen several times. This action sets the bearing into there races and allows the correct bearing play, axle nut should end up almost loose, allowing the bearing lash or play to be at the minimum. (Note: Do not over tighten.)

Light Snug Spindle Nut

Step 52 - Next, install the axle nut retainer onto the axle nut, align the retainer with the cotter pin hole in the spindle.

Axle Nut Retainer

Step 53 - Using a new cotter pin, locate the through hole and push the cotter pin into place.

Install New Cotter Pin

Step 54 - Once the cotter pin is installed, use a pair of dikes to bend the long end of the cotter pin over the spindle end and cut off the excess cotter pin material.

Cut Excess Cotter Pin

Step 55 - After the cotter pin has been installed, set the grease cap with the gap at the top.

Set Grease Cap

Step 56 - Using a hammer, install the grease cap evenly onto the bearing hub, wipe when finished with a shop towel.

Installing Grease Cap

Step 57 - After the cap is installed, use a clean towel and clean the rotor pad surface on both sides.

Clean Rotor Surface

Step 58 - Then install the caliper mount, thread the mounting bolts and tighten.

Install Caliper Mount

Step 59 - Compare the new brake pads to the worn pads, they should match up except for the worn brake material.

New Brake Pads

Step 60 - A brake pad may be unique as far as which side of the caliper its installed on, observe wear sensors etc.

Compare Brake Pad Size

Step 61 - After confirming the brake pads, install both pads while checking anti rattle clips and shims.

Install Brake Pads

Step 62 - Using a large pair of channel locks or C clamp, use an old brake pad as a buffer and squeeze the brake caliper to retract the piston, (brake fluid will leak out). (Note: For most vehicles, this operation is done while the caliper is still connected to the brake hose.)

 Retract Brake Caliper

Step 63 - Reinstall brake caliper over the brake pads and wipe clean.

Reinstall Caliper

Step 64 - Using a shop towel, wipe the caliper slides clean and apply a thin layer of brake grease to the bolt slide area.

Service Caliper Slides


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)