Garage Files: How to Check and Replace Your Brake Pads



Garage-1111-If you’re replacing your pads because they’re contaminated and not because they’re worn, sometimes you can file them down to remove the contaminated portion and breathe some new life into them. However, it’s usually best practice to simply replace contaminated pads.

Garage-1212-Hydraulic brake pads are designed to automatically compensate for pad wear by creeping in gradually as the pad wears down. Many riders will tell you to use a flathead screwdriver directly on the pads to push them apart, but this will likely gouge the pad material. Instead, use a more blunt object like the end of a wrench to gently push the pistons apart and back to their fully retracted position.

Garage-1413-Now give the entire caliper a bath using the isopropyl alcohol and a clean paper towel. Remove as much grime and old brake dust as possible, and let it dry out for a few minutes.

Garage-1514-With the pads fully retracted and the caliper clean, we’re ready to install the new pads. It’s easiest to do this by making a “spring sandwich” with the two pads and the H-spring in the middle.

Garage-1615-We’re ready to slide the new pads into place. Our X0 Trail brakes are designed with top-loading pads, although some older brakes from other brands may require the pads be loaded from the bottom.

Garage-1716-Replace the pad pin and tighten to keep the pads in place. This is a fairly low-torque bolt and only needs to be snugged and not super tight.


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