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Replacing brake pad instruction?

07-15-2014, 03:31 PM
Hello, I'm pretty mechanically inept when it comes to vehicles but I would like to see if changing out the brake pads is something I can (or should) attempt to do on my own. It's a 2003 Explorer Sport Trac XLT. I'd be looking to do front and rear. Also, I don't know what kind of pads I should buy (Semi-Metallic, ceramic, ???)

Any information is appreciated. I watched some youtube videos and it doesn't really seem too bad.

07-15-2014, 05:43 PM
If you are mechanically inept I would recommend not doing it yourself. You are talking about your brakes. They are very important. Although they are not very hard to do, for someone who is not mechanically inclined that has no knowledge of car repair it's probably not a good idea. The reason I say this is just recently my neighbor was doing an oil change. He jacked up the car on a side incline. He did not use jack stands, only the car's scissor jack. Luckily he put the wheel under the car by the door. The car fell on the wheel instead of him or the rotor. When I loaned him a hydraulic jack so he get the car off the wheel he unsafely positioned it and continued to try to change the oil. Then I went over with jack stands so he wouldn't kill himself since he was working under a car that was ready to fall again. He scrapped the idea and put the wheel back on. He didn't know that he should start the nuts by hand so he didn't cross thread the studs, he didn't know what cross threading was. He didn't know about tightening the lugs in a star pattern. Basically what I'm trying to say is there is a basic level of mechanical ability and common sense needed to do your own car repairs. Lack of knowledge is not the same thing. If you just lack the knowledge but have the ability then I say you should. But if you don't have the ability then let someone else do it.
If you do decide to do the brakes yourself then you need to safely support the car on jack stands when you do the job. Also you need to correctly torque all the fasteners as well. Sorry for the lecture but after what I saw my neighbor do I felt that I had to speak up.

07-15-2014, 05:50 PM
I understand the concern. I do have the ability, it's just that I've never done it. After watching videos and reading articles, I feel like i can do it. My biggest concern is with the fluid. Do I need to bleed it? Do I need to change the fluid all together? (It hasn't been changed in at least 3 years) could I change the pads and then have a mechanic do the fluid stuff?

07-15-2014, 10:00 PM
Although you don't have to bleed the lines if you don't get any air in them, it's a good idea to change some or all of the fluid every couple years. It gets dirty, absorbs moisture, breaks down, which lowers the boiling point of the fluid and the corrosion protection. I open the bleeder screws on the calipers when I push the pistons back in so I don't push the old fluid back through the system. Then I empty the master cylinder with a mighty vac (you can use a turkey baster) and then fill it with fresh fluid. Then I bleed the lines after to remove the rest of the old fluid. Do not get any brake fluid on the new pads. Also be sure to thoroughly clean the new rotors with brake cleaner.

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