Garage Files: How to Check and Replace Your Brake Pads

How to Check and Replace Your Brake Pads

You can only ride as fast as you can stop. Since your brakes are the only thing slowing you down as you careen down the mountain, your pads are one of the most critical parts on your bike. They need attention from time to time, and we’re here to show you how to inspect these unsung heroes of your bike to be sure they’re working properly and how to replace them if they’re not.


Garage-11-In addition to your standard toolkit, you should have some clean paper towels, some isopropyl alcohol and fresh pads. We like to put the alcohol in a spray bottle to make it easier to use, and there are a wide variety of stock and aftermarket pads to choose from. Be sure they’re labeled with your specific brake model on the packaging before buying.

Garage-22-Using a work stand for jobs like this will always make things easier, although there are probably some MacGyver types out there who could do without one. We like to put the bike on the stand “backward,” with the drivetrain facing in if we’re only going to be working on the brakes. This makes them easier to access.

Garage-33-Start by removing the wheel. While it may be possible to do this with the wheel in, it’s much, much easier without the rotor in the way.

Garage-44-If you’re working on hydraulic brakes, be sure to never squeeze the lever with the wheel and rotor out. Doing so will push the pads and pistons out too far, which will mean they will have to be pried apart.

Garage-55-Most brakes have a safety clip to prevent the retention pin from falling out even if it comes loose. This should be carefully removed with a scriber and set in a safe place.


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