In this guide, we will show you how to replace the front brake pads and rotors on a 2019 A6 Volkswagen Jetta. Brakes need to be replaced when pads are low.
This brake job applies to Volkswagen Jetta years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and other similar VW models. Sixth generation (A6, Type 5C6; introduced in 2011)
What you will need
- Breaker bar
- Impact gun
- Flathead screwdriver
- Channel-lock pliers
- Ratchet and 17mm, 21mm socket
- Torx 30 bit
- Hex 7mm bit
- Brake piston compressor
- Brake caliper hanger
- Loosen the lug studs of the wheels with a 17mm socket and breaker bar or impact gun. Some models have a wheel lock key, locate the key and use it to loosen the lug studs.
- Jack up the front of the vehicle, use the pinch welds at the very front of the vehicle. Secure the vehicle on jack stands. Use a wheel chock on the rear wheels and set the emergency brake to prevent the vehicle from moving.
- Use a flathead screwdriver for popping the spring clip out of the caliper. Keep your face away from the clip to prevent it from flying and hitting you. Alternatively, to safely remove the spring, use a pair of channel-lock pliers to compress the spring and pull it out.
- Remove the Torx screw in the middle face of the rotor. Use a Torx 30 bit and a ratchet, be careful not to strip this screw. Hold the rotor to keep it from spinning while loosening the Torx screw. If you are having trouble with this screw, an impact driver might be necessary to remove it. If the screw is stripped, it will need to be drilled out to get the rotor off.
- Use a C-clamp around the caliper and on the brake pad face to compress the caliper enough to pull the caliper off of the rotor. Alternatively, stick a big flathead screwdriver or pry bar through the top of the caliper and pry against the pad to compress the piston in the caliper.
- Remove the plastic dust caps from the back of the caliper guide pins with a screwdriver. Use a 7mm hex bit and ratchet to loosen the two guide pins through the back of the caliper. Loosen both completely until the brake caliper slides off of the rotor.
- Use a C-clamp or brake piston compressor to compress the brake caliper piston. It is important to do this with the old pad, so no damage occurs to the face of the new one. Hang the caliper securely with a hanger or wire; the srutis a good place to attach the hanger.
- Remove the old brake pads; one is in the caliper bracket and the other inserts into the piston of the brake caliper using clips. Pull it out of the caliper. Loosen the two 21mm bracket bolts and remove the bracket from around the rotor.
- Remove the brake rotor from the wheel hub. If it is stuck on, use a hammer and gently tap around the rotor's face where it meets the wheel hub.
- Replace the rotor with the new one. Make sure to use brake parts cleaner and clean the entire surface where the pads will touch. Rotors are stored with an oil film to prevent rust, and this is an important step. Do not forget to do this!
- Insert the Torx 30 screw back into the rotor and tighten the new rotor to the wheel hub. This wheel helps to keep everything lined up and prevent it from moving while reassembling everything.
- Install the caliper bracket back onto the steering knuckle over the rotor. Torque the two bolts to specification—usually around 80 ft-lbs. Install new brake hardware onto the caliper brackets. Lightly grease them, be extremely careful not to get grease on the friction surfaces where the rotors or pads touch!
- Remove the guide pins from the caliper and clean them with brake parts cleaner; use fresh brake caliper grease to grease the pins and reinsert them.
- Install the new brake pads. One sits on the front of the caliper bracket, and the other with the clip on the back face of the pad inserts into the piston of the brake caliper.
- Reinstall the brake caliper and torque to specification. Place the wheel back on the hub and tighten down the wheel studs.
- Repeat this process to change the brakes on the other side of the vehicle.
- Jack the vehicle up and remove the jack stands, lower the vehicle until the wheels touch the ground, and torque the wheel studs to specification. Lower the vehicle to the ground after torquing and remove the rear wheel chock.
- Make sure to pump the brakes before starting the vehicle! Start the vehicle and test your knew brake job out on a test drive; you are done!
- Brake caliper guide pins: 40 ft-lbs
- Brake caliper bracket: 80 ft-lbs
Is it time to replace the brakes on my Volkswagen Jetta?
If there is an audible squeal coming from the brakes while driving, this is an indicator the pads are low. The pads and usually the rotors will need to be changed as soon as possible.
Do a visual check of how much thickness is left on the brake pads. Other brake noises can be caused by dust buildup or warped rotors and may not be an indicator of a low pad. Check for grooves on rotors; if grooves are significant enough they can be felt when running your finger across it is a good idea to do a brake job.
Can I reuse the brake rotors on my Volkswagen Jetta?
Often, manufacturers do not make rotors to where they can be reused anymore. The rotors manufactured today are made so that they wear out during the same interval as the brake pads. It is difficult to find a place that will even resurface brake rotors even when there is enough "meat" on them to be reused. It is a dying art, and most likely, the rotors will have to be replaced with new ones.