This page is dedicated to helping you figure out why your brake pads won’t fit. On this page, you’ll find a video outlining the four top reasons. You’ll discover mechanics brake repair tips and some links to brake tools to help nail the repair like a pro.
The video above covers the most likely reasons your brake pads won’t fit. We’ll assume, of course, your new pads are the correct size, etc.
Rear Calipers Are Different
Rear calipers on most vehicles are different. Many rear calipers incorporate the parking brake assembly, and that means they are what’s known as “Wind-back calipers”. Wind-back means to retract or depress the caliper piston, you must twist or screw the piston while simultaneously pushing on the piston.
It may be done without special tools, but it’s a pain. I’ve had to improvise with needle-nose pliers but expect to skin a knuckle. To make life easy and the job almost pleasurable, you’ll need a Wind-back tool, I’ve listed one below.
Electronic Parking Brake Needs Special Attention
If your vehicle has an electronic parking brake (EPB) meaning you press a button and electric motors apply the brake, then you’ll need to take an additional step before removing the calipers and after you’ve fitted the pads.
The EPB must be placed in “Service mode” before removing and winding back the rear calipers in the manner described above. After winding back the calipers, fitting the pads, and refitting the calipers the EPB must be placed in dynamic mode.
To command the EPB you’ll need a Scan tool equipped with this feature. Typically these types of tools cost more than a simple scan tool. I’ve listed a very capable tool below, but be warned, it’s a little on the spendy side for just a brake job.
Mechanics Brake Repair Tips
- Spray brakes with water before commencing repair work
- Wear a mask when wire brushing brake components
- Use axle stands, I never trust a car jack
- Use copper grease on metal to metal brake contact points
- Use silicone grease on metal to rubber contact points
- Apply copper grease to wheel hub before fitting
- Torque wheel to spec and in a star formation
- Pump brakes before attempting to drive the vehicle
- Bed in the brakes by braking moderately eight to ten times
- Check brake fluid level after brake pad bed-in test drive
Brake Tools & Supplies You’ll Need
The Autel MaxiCOM is a shop-level tool. It is capable of reading, clearing fault codes, coding a new battery, placing EPB module in service mode, and calibration after the repair. It is also capable of activating ABS modulator solenoids when performing a full brake bleed procedure. Pic links to Amazon.com.
This is a great caliper piston wind back tool. It will work for a wide range of vehicles and importantly, it works on front and rear calipers. Rear calipers need to be twisted and compressed simultaneously, this kit makes that look easy. Pic links to Amazon.com.
Copper grease is used widely for many applications. It protects from corrosion and galling the main cause of frozen bolts. Copper grease is great in hot locations too, unlike other greases it won’t run when hot. Anti-seize applications used on wheel hubs, spark plug threads, O2 sensor threads, etc. Pic links to Amazon.com.
Permatex is a premium brake lube used on pads, floating caliper rails/slides, and hubs. Doesn’t wash off and is resistant to heat and moisture. Prevents brake squeal. Pic links to Amazon.com.