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How do you change the front brake pads on a 2003 Honda Accord EX 4-cylinder?


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2015-07-14 15:53:15
2015-07-14 15:53:15

OK so I started to simply make some suggestions and it turned out to be close to an actual so I'm putting it here as well for Gino.

Honda front brake pads are easy to replace compared to many other types. If you have less than 50,000 miles on the car you should not be worrying about the front pads. Since you are we'll presume you drive a lot like I used to and the concern is valid. Don't let dealers try to get you to worry about such things so they can make a killing on a repair.

1) If you don't know where to start I would suggest going to your local auto parts supply (not the dealer!) such as Kragen, Shucks, Murray, Checker, or Advanced Auto Parts Stores. These are all owned by "Parts America" and the names are related to the area you live in. See their web site at www.partsamerica.com for the nearest location to you.

2) Get a Chilton's auto repair manual for your vehicle, they are available for free at some public libraries (here in Seattle at least), even accessible online with your library account. It will provide you with the details on how to change your brake pads. It will also tell you how to inspect them (after you jack the car up take the wheel off)to see if they are in need of replacement.

3) If you decide to do this on your own, you will need some simple tools. First suggestion I tell my friends is before you start to do anything to remove the caliper is to turn the wheel a few times. When the car is stopped the front brakes tend to stay close to the wheel. If you don't know the air that is generated when the car is moving creates an air cushion that keeps the brake pads away from the rotor. By turning the wheel first you will loosen this enough to make it easier to do the job.

4) Second thing before you remove the caliper is to examine the disks. You will be able to see about 3/4 of the disk at a time because the caliper blocks your view. Because you turned the wheel before removing it you should be able to turn the disk grabbing the lug bolts that the wheel attached to. Please DO NOT touch the rotor with your hands. These need to be clean at all times. What you are looking for is to see if the rotors are worn and need replacing. Starting at the part closest to the hub follow the profile of the rotor surface to the outer most part. The surface should be smooth, have no discoloration, and with a 2003 vehicle there should be almost NO ridge at the outer edge (1/4 inch). I have a 2002 CR-V and there is no ridge on my rotors. My wifes '97 Accord has 84,000 miles on it and just a bit of a ridge; This is acceptable wear. (bye the way I didn't have to replace her brake pads until the car hit 70,000 miles.) If you see any significant ripples on the surfaces then you have spent too much time with your foot on the brake. If you have anything other than smooth rotors you should consider having someone qualified (with experience that is) work on it. Find a friend because "Turning the Rotors" requires knowledge and a machine shop is not a fun job nor anything to be taken lightly.

5) Gather the tools (Wrenches will be METRIC) and follow the instructions in the book to remove the rotors. Remember they are fairly heavy as they are made of cast iron for durability. They will remain attached to the car via the brake hose. DO NOT attempt to remove them, this would make a big mess and add to the cost. I do recommend you have a box like a milk carton crate and a couple of smaller items available to stack up as necessary to rest the caliper upon.

6) A large "C-Clamp" is always useful to push the "Puck" pack into the caliper. This must be done so that the thicker pads can fit between the caliper and the rotor. The C-Clamp will have to have an opening of at least 6 inches to be useful. Be careful not to place the c-clamp at an angle or you can jam the puck. I like to use a piece of 1/4 inch plywood across the entire puck surface and that way pressure is placed evenly around the puck as you gently tighten the clamp thus pressing the puck back into the caliper.

6) Make sure you DO NOT touch the face of the new pads with dirty hands or they will have a tendency to squeak. The dirt and/or oil from your hands should be removed prior to installing the pads into the caliper.

Chilton's books will provide you with a list of tools usually required to do the job and the specifications for your car. The pads should run between $40 and $75 depending upon where you live. The book will become your best friend if you intend to do maintenance of this type in the future so look at it as an investment in long term savings.

BLG in Washington State

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