All about Brake Rotor Replacement

What You'll Need
Car jack
Lug wrench
Jack Stands
End wrenches or socket wrenches
Large C-Clamp
Brake spray cleaner
Turkey baster
Large rubber mallet
Rust spray dissolver

Automobile brake repair, such as brake rotor replacement, can seem like a daunting task. However, it is not an impossible task. With a knowledge of auto parts, the appropriate tools and an understanding of applying their use, and with a clear and comprehensive set of instructions, you should be able to replace your car's brake rotors with few problems.

Raising Your Car

You will need to remove the wheels of the automobile whose brakes you plan to repair. The brake rotors are behind these wheels, and you will not be able to access these components unless the wheels are first removed. To remove them you will need to raise your car high enough that the tires are no longer resting on the ground or floor. Jack stands typically are strong enough to hold your car up while you remove the wheels and replace the rotors. Be sure you have 4 of these stands on hand, one for each of your car's wheels. Once you have your car shift lever in the "Park" position and have applied the parking brake you will need to raise one of your car wheels with your car jack. When the car is high enough, you'll then need to slip a jack stand under the car frame as close as possible to the wheel you're about to remove. With the stand in place, lower the car so it is resting on the stand. Then do the same with the other 3 wheels.

Inspecting Your Brake Rotor

The brake rotor is the smooth disc that the brake pads rub against when you apply your car's brakes. In order for your brakes to operate at maximum efficiency, this rotor should be free of gouges and scoring that can be caused by calipers that are exposed by worn brake pads. If your rotor is free of these gouges, you can check the next brake rotor. If it is scored or gouged you will need to replace this rotor.

Removing Brake Fluid

At the proper time in your rotor replacement project you'll need to apply the brake to depress the caliper. This action will require you to lower the level of brake fluid in your master cylinder, the place where your brake fluid is stored. To reduce this fluid level, use a turkey baster and suck out 1/3 to 1/2 of the brake fluid in the master cylinder.

Compressing the Brake Caliper

Place an open C-clamp on your caliper, one side of the clamp on either side of the caliper. By tightening the clamp you'll be able to compress the caliper enough to remove the rotor.

Removing the Caliper and Brake Pads

Removing bolts that hold the caliper and pads in place will be necessary for you to remove these brake parts.

Replacing the Rotor

Without the caliper holding the old rotor in place, you will be able to remove the rotor by pulling it straight toward you. Then you can slide the new rotor into place.


With the new rotor in place you'll now be ready to replace all brake components and wheels and lower your car onto the floor again.