All cars manufactured in the last few decades have front disc brakes. As most of the braking comes from the front brakes, the front disc brakes will wear out and need to be replaced more often than the rear brakes. Removing the front disc brakes isn’t as complex as it seems. However, unless you’re an experienced mechanic, have someone help you. Remember, doing the job properly is important to keep you alive as you drive.
Step 1 - Preparation
Open the top of the master cylinder to relieve the pressure. Cover with a cloth to prevent dirt entering. Put chocks or bricks behind the rear wheels and make sure the vehicle in a “Park.” Loosen the lug nuts on both from wheels, then raise the front end with a jack. Put jack stands under the axle, then remove the lug nuts and the wheels. Place the wheels behind the axle as extra safely in case the car comes off the jack stands.
Step 2 - Caliper
You’ll need to remove the front disc brake caliper from the rotor. How that’s done will depend on the type of car. With some economy cars this might be as simple as releasing some spring clips. In other vehicles, there is more work involved. There will be bolts holding the caliper in place, and the hoses for the brake line will be attached to them. You will see an upper and lower bolt. Turn these counter clockwise to remove them with the socket or the wrench. Unbolt the caliper, and you will need to lift it off the rotor.
Step 3 - Securing
After lifting off the caliper, you need to secure it, either on the wheel or sitting on something. It’s vital that the flexible hose doesn’t become kinked. You should always look at the caliper to check for any excessive wear. If necessary, you might have to replace the caliper.
Step 4 - Brake Pads
The brake pads in the front disc brakes will usually be in the caliper. There will be two of them one of each side. These will be held in place by secondary caliper bolts. Remove these and then pull out the brake pads. In some instance the brake pads won’t be in the calipers, and will require a different technique; however, these are very few and far between.
Step 5 - Rotors
The last part of the front disc brake is the rotor. This will probably need to be removed, either to be replaced or resurfaced. To do this, use a rubber mallet and hit the rotor. Do this on the plated fin, working outward from the center. After each strike, turn the rotor ¼ turn and then hit again. It might take some time, but eventually the rotor will break from the hub and you’ll be able to remove it. Take it off to see what needs to be done with it. If the metal is too thin it will need to be replaced, rather than resurfaced.