Many of the tools needed to change brakes are probably sitting in your toolbox or garage already. If not, purchasing these tools is something of an investment since most can be used for a multitude of other tasks. Here are the tools needed to change brakes.
Start With the Right Protection
Before you start any project on your car, make sure that you are properly protected. You should have a pair of mechanic’s gloves to protect your hands, protective eyewear and a dust mask so you don’t breathe in brake dust.
Brake Pads and Rotors
Before you get started, make sure you have the right replacement parts on hand for the job. This includes brake pads, rotors if they’re being replaced and even brake fluid if you will be bleeding your brakes during the replacement.
Jack and Jack Stand
You’ll need to remove the tires from the vehicle to work on the brakes so you need a jack and jack stand. A jack likely came with your car so you can change those inconvenient flats, but a purpose built service jack is a much better choice. You also need to purchase jack stands. These make your car much more stable when it’s lifted and reduce the chance it will slip and fall while you’re working on your brakes. NEVER work under a car that is supported with only a jack.
Lug Nut Wrench
The lug nuts should be loosened before you lift the car and place it on jack stands. Once the vehicle’s weight is safely resting on the jack stands, use the lug nut wrench to completely remove the nuts and then you can remove the wheel to expose the brakes.
The piston or pistons need to be retracted in order to fit around the new, thicker brake pads. The easiest way to do this is with a brake caliper tool (or a C-clamp will do in a pinch). Depending on the caliper, the piston may need to be both compressed and rotated at the same time to retract. This is where a dedicated tool shines.
Brake Bleeder Wrench
On the list of tools needed to change brakes, a brake bleeder wrench may or may not be needed depending on the job. If you disconnected the brake hose to change the brake calipers, then you need this tool to make sure no air is trapped in the hydraulic lines.
Allen Wrench Set
This is another maybe, but anyone who plans to work on their car can’t go wrong with an Allen wrench set. It’s one of the tools needed to change brakes as the brake calipers are often held in place by Allen bolts that need to be removed.
Lubricants and greases may also be needed depending on the job but having at least these basic tools on hand ensures you’re ready to change your brakes.
With these tools, you’ll be able to replace your car’s brakes safely and quickly. If you don’t have these tools in your arsenal, investing in a set is a good idea, as replacing your car’s brakes is a vital part of vehicle ownership.
Check out all the brake system parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on what parts you need to change your car’s brakes, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.