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What Tools Do You Need To Change Brake Pads and Rotors?

This article contains a list of tools that you typically need to replace brake pads and rotors.

Replacing the brake pads and rotors is a do-it-yourself project that you can complete yourself in a couple of hours, as long as you have the right tools.

tools you need to change brake pads

Here are tools that you will find handy when doing a brake job. You don't need to buy all these tools because you most likely already have some of them. If you don't, we have provided links to where you can find any of them.

1. Ratchet and Socket Kit

tools you need to change the brake pads

To fix your vehicle, you must have a socket set.

Even though you only need a metric set in most cases, it is best to choose a kit with both SAE and metric socket as you never know what you may need.

Domestic cars typically use SAE sockets, and import vehicles use metrics. 

2. Torque Wrench

what tools do you need to change the brakes - torque wrench

A torque wrench is a must. It will help you put the right torque on the caliper bolts. That way, you will not break the bolt, and you won't leave them too loose either.

As a beginner, you will need a torque wrench to ensure that the job is done right. If you don't know the torque specifications for a certain bolt, call your dealer parts or service department, and they will help you. 

3. Brake Pad Spreader or C-Clamp

Disc Brake Pad Installation Spreader Caliper Piston Compressor

A brake pad spreader or even a large c-clamp is handy when pressing the piston into the caliper. With this tool, you can easily retract the piston.

This will allow you to reset the piston, and therefore, you will be able to fit the new brake pads. While there are different ways to push the piston, but using a C-clamp is much easier.

If you are doing the brake pad replacement job for the first time, this will be a great tool to consider.

You will need to remove the caliper. Place the inner brake pad on the piston. Place the C-Clamp on the caliper and twist the bolt until the piston is pushed all the way in.

The rear brake piston may need to be rotated to be pushed, which can be done with a rear brake piston cube adaptor

4. Torx / Allen Set

torx allen bit set to change the brake pads

Often the brake caliper bolts are held in place with Torx or Allen bolts.  This depends on what your car has installed; therefore, it is better to verify that you need to change your brake pads. You can quickly identify what your car uses by looking at the two bolts on the caliper's back.

Suppose you need any of these bits or need to see how they look like you can get a set at your auto parts stores or online. If your manufacturer uses standard bolts, you won't need these bits to replace the brake pads or rotor.

Editor's Choice: Tekton Hex Key Wrench Set

5. Brake Bleeder Wrench

brake bleeder wrench for auto brake job diy

You will not need this unless you disconnect the brake hose, which is unnecessary unless you change the brake caliper. 

Bleeding the brakes ensures that there is no air trapped inside the hydraulic lines and caliper.

You can also use a regular wrench to loosen the brake bleed bolt/valve, but the brake bleeder tool is easier to use. It fits the bolt entirely, and therefore, it is less likely that you will damage the air bleed valve.

Editor's Choice:  Brake Bleeder Wrench  by OEM Tools

6. Jack and Jack stands

floor jack

While a heavy-duty jack is highly recommended, you can still use the jack that comes with the car to jack up your car.

If you plan on doing any auto repair underneath your vehicle, including replacing the brakes, you should always secure the vehicle with jack stands. They are inexpensive can save your life. 

7. Lug Nut Wrench

lug nut wrench

You already have a lug wrench in your car, but the wrench that comes in most cars is a pain to use and can even strip your lug nuts.

One of our favorite tools is an aftermarket lug wrench. Not only does it have all the sizes, but it can be extended, which makes it very easy to remove those bolts that are hard to come out of.

8. Gloves

brake pad rotor replacement tools needed

Always try to use gloves when you work on your car. They will protect your hands from chemicals and dirt. Plus, you will spend less time washing your hands afterward.

9. Dust Mask and Safety Glasses

Last but not least is the dust mask and safety glasses. Use a dust mask to avoid breathing the dust on your wheel or brake pads and rotors.

While the glasses can save your eyes in case metals or screwdrivers, flying around.

The cost for brake service can range from a couple of hundred up to eight hundred dollars. The brake pad and rotor parts are inexpensive, but the labor makes this repair very expensive. So why not replace your brake pads and rotors yourself and save a lot of money?

Want to know what most car guys use to change their brakes? Watch this video by ChrisFix.