How To Change Brake Pads On Your Bike
As we already mentioned in a previous article, bike brake pads are essential for braking. The brake pads work by friction and are made of a mixture of abrasive components that apply pressure on the rotor, stopping the rotation of the wheel.
Every contact between the brake pads and the rotor of the disc causes mutual wear. In other words, the surface of both hardware components is consumed, albeit in different timeframes and modes. In fact, the brake pads consume faster than the disc, this is why most cyclists are wondering how to change brake pads on their bikes.
If you are struggling with the same question, this guide is designed to give you a comprehensive insight into how to change brake pads. Find out whether it’s time to change them and learn the 10 easy steps that will make you change brake pads like a pro.
When To Change Bike Brake Pads
As mentioned above, the contact between the brake pads and the rotor causes both components to wear down. In fact, each time you brake, both components will continue to wear until the contact surface between the two is no longer sufficient. At this stage, the entire braking system is compromised.
There are various symptoms that indicate that it is time to replace the bike brake pads. These symptoms are:
How To Replace Brake Pads On Your Bike
Timing And Difficulty
Replacing the brake pads is an all-in-one, fairly easy task. You shouldn’t engage more than 10 minutes on each brake. The task can be carried out autonomously, or you can ask a bike mechanic to change the brake pads for you.
How To Change The Brake Pads In 10 Easy Steps
Step 1: Remove the wheel
Although it is possible to change the brake pads without removing the wheel, it is more comfortable to change them without worrying about the balance of a whole bike. As such, you should loose the quick release of the wheel and remove the wheel from the frame.
Step 2: Remove the pin
Using the gripper, remove the pin that holds the brake screw in place. If the brakes are not equipped with a screw but with a cushion, such as the case of the Shimano Deore brake pads, then you will have to straighten the upper jaw of the brakes and pass from the hole to the body of the brake.
Step 3: Remove the screw
With the 3mm Allen key remove the screw that secures the pads in place. If the pads are held by a pin, grasp the head with a pinch and pull it towards you until it comes out.
Step 4: Remove the pads
Now, since the pads are no longer secured to the braking system, grasp them with two fingers and pull them away from the body of the brake. The insertion side of the brakes varies from one bike to another, but you will find it either on the lower or on the upper side.
Step 5: Spray cleaning agent
Sprinkle a generous amount of isopropyl alcohol or disc cleaner on both the outer and on the inner sides of the body of the brake. Clean the area thoroughly with a clean cloth to remove all residues of grease or oily fluids. Repeat the operation on the rotor.
Step 6: Reset the stroke of the pistons
With a regular plastic tire lever, push on both pistons, applying sufficient pressure to reset them. This operation facilitates the insertion of the new brake pads. Remember that new brake pads are thicker, as it is logical to be, so you might struggle with this operation. Resetting the pistons is useful as they slightly change their positions when the brake pads wear out, to compensate for the loss of thickness in the system.
Step 7: Insert the new brake pads
At this stage, you are ready to put on the new brake pads. Insert them into the body of the braking system, making sure to not touch the surface of the pads with your bare hands or dirty gloves. At this stage, for safety reasons, it is recommended to put on clean latex gloves. Don’t forget to insert the spring supplied with the pads between them, as the spring will help the pads fix into their places.
Step 8: Secure the screw
Using the Allen key, put back the screw you previously removed. Make sure that it passes through the holes of the pads, to make sure they are securely kept in place.
Step 9: Mount the pin
Once the screw is in its place, use the gripper to put the pin back in its place. Bend it in position to prevent it from falling while cycling.
Step 10: Reassemble the wheel
Insert the wheel back on its place. Be careful not to “pinch” the new brake pads with the rotor, as it may splinter the coating of the pads.
Changing the brake pads on your bike is an uncomplicated operation that doesn’t require the knowledge of a mechanic. Nevertheless, to make sure your brakes function properly, you should follow all the above steps carefully.
Avoid using different tools than the ones recommended, as other tools might damage the hardware of your bike.