Thinking about attempting to DIY your next brake pad replacement? While it’s tempting to save a few bucks doing it yourself, an at-home brake pad replacement might not be in your best interest.
If you’re asking yourself “can I change my own brakes?” then chances are you’ve never done it before — and while replacing brake pads isn’t the hardest job in the world, it is more complicated than it may seem for someone without experience. Before you dive into that DIY brake pad replacement, here are four reasons to think twice before changing your brake pads at home.
1. Replacing Brake Pads Is More Complicated Than It May Seem
There is a whole lot of do-it-yourself auto repair content out there to help you change your own brake pads. But unless you have auto repair experience already, doing things like replacing your own brake pads or even changing your own oil is likely to be more challenging than it seems.
Not only can a lot of things go wrong if you’re unfamiliar with the parts, but you might be skipping over other significant brake issues without the knowledge on how to diagnose brake problems. What seems like a problem caused by worn brake pads — such as grinding noises or your brake pedal sinking rapidly while you brake — might actually be the result of a damaged rotor or air bubbles in the brake lines. In turn, you may find yourself in need of more complicated repairs or parts than just the pads.
It's best to avoid changing your brake pads just because they’re a common cause of brake problems. It’s better to have an automotive professional examine your brake system before making assumptions or troubleshooting your brake pads at home. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we offer a comprehensive brake inspection free of charge.
Pro Tip: For cars with rear drum brakes, changing the brake shoes can be especially complicated due to additional parts and connections the front brakes don’t have. Generally, it’s always best to leave front and rear brake maintenance to a trained service technician.
2. Installing New Brake Pads Requires Expensive Equipment
If you’re not the “fixer-upper” type who performs home and auto repairs regularly, then you may not have all the tools required to change out your car’s brake pads. Typical tools and materials needed for a brake pad replacement include a vehicle jack or lift, jack stands, torque wrench, socket set, caliper compressor, mechanic’s wire and more. If you don’t happen to have these things lying around, that can be a hefty extra purchase before you even begin repairs.
3. Making Mistakes When Changing Brake Pads Can Be Dangerous
Next to seatbelts and airbags, your brakes are among the most important safety mechanisms in your car. Improperly installing new brake pads or putting your brake parts back together incorrectly could compromise the safety of you and your passengers. Being familiar with the parts and repair process is critical to avoiding small mistakes, like a slightly loose caliper fastener that might affect braking performance.
4. Swapping Your Own Brake Pads May Not Be Worth the Time
Consider this: even an expert automotive technician takes between 30 minutes to an hour or more to replace the brake pads and rotors on some vehicles. For someone with little to no experience, brake pad replacement could take several hours or more.
Learning the process, gathering the right tools, precisely following all the steps, and then putting everything back together again can easily turn into a half-day of work that, ultimately, may not be worth your time.
If you finish the job only to realize that the brake pedal feels off or that your brakes have started making squealing or grinding noises, you may have to start all over to solve the problem and properly install the new brake pads. Talk about a headache!
Having a professional take care of your brake pad replacement instead is an easy solution that can save you time and money in the long run.
Get Brake Pad Replacement Done Right
You shouldn't have to pay a pretty penny to stop on a dime. Make sure your brake pads are installed safely with a visit to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. We install brake parts that meet or exceed your manufacturer's specifications, and we guarantee your repair service will be Fixed Right, Priced Right, Right on Time — that's the Firestone Triple Promise.
Want to save even more money at your next brake service appointment? Download our brake service coupons onto your mobile phone to use at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care repair shop.