Modern cars are getting a lot more advanced, and nowadays, you can’t even replace your brake pads on your own vehicle without a computer.
This is at least what we are hearing from our customers. But is it true? Has it really reached the point where you need a computer to replace your rear brake pads?
In this article, you will learn how to replace your electric parking brake’s brake pads with or without a tool.
How to Replace Brake Pads With an Electric Parking Brake
This guide will teach you how to replace the brake pads if your car has an electric parking brake. This may need some special tools to procedure depending on your car model. Follow these steps to replace your brake pads with an electric parking brake easily:
Total Time: 1 hour
1. Connect a car battery charger
The first step is to connect a car battery charger while you do this job. This is a step that many people forget or do not care about, but it can actually damage parts and cause many problems if you do not take it seriously.
2. Connect a diagnostic tool
The next step is to connect your diagnostic tool or parking brake tool to your car. Make sure it got communication with the car and that the battery voltage is stable.
3. Loosen the parking brake pistons
Now, it is time to release the parking brake pistons. You can either do this with a diagnostic scanner, or a special tool for your parking brake. You should hear that the pistons are going back for 2-3 seconds if everything is done right.
It is also possible to push back the pistons with 12v+ power and ground, but nothing I will talk about here involves doing this, because it can damage your parts. You also need to do a calibration afterward, which is difficult without a tool.
If you need a tool for this, you can check out our guide: best diagnostic tools. Make sure it is compatible with your EPB system for your car model.
4. Remove Caliper & Push Pistons
After the parking brake pistons are released, it is time to raise the car and remove your wheel and the brake caliper. You should now be able to push back the pistons with a tool or a big plier. If it is not possible, it might be very rusty and may need a renovation, or you may have done something wrong with the step before. If the parking brake motor is not released, you will never be able to push the pistons in. Remember that for some pistons, you have to twist them at the same time as you push them for them to go in.
For this, you may need a tool like this from Amazon.
5. Replace Brake Pads
Once your pistons are pushed in, you can now replace the brake pads. Ensure you lubricate any moving parts and clean everything so nothing gets stuck, or you will find yourself having to redo the job soon. Replace any metal plates if you got them in the brake pads package.
6. Reinstall Caliper
Once you have cleaned everything and installed the new brake pads, reinstall the brake caliper. Make sure that you tighten everything correctly according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You should also install the wheels again and lower the car.
7. Push out the pistons
Once the car is standing on the ground and everything is put back together, jump into the car and push the brake pedal several times until it gets hard. Do not push it all the way to the bottom, though! This may damage the sealings in the brake cylinder. Pump several times instead.
8. Reengage parking brake pistons
Once the brake pedal feels stiff, it is now to move back the brake pistons. The best way to do this is to use the diagnostic tool or parking brake tool to do. However, in many cars, it will work to engage the parking brake with the button. You will hear the parking brake motors sound for 2-3 seconds until the parking brake is engaged. When it is engaged, you can rerelease it.
9. Calibrate parking brake pistons
For the parking brake to function properly, you may need to calibrate the pistons. This is done with your diagnostic tool or the parking brake tool. This is necessary for most car models to learn how much it should engage and release. Once you do this, you will hear the pistons move several times backward and forward until the calibration is done.
Once you have a successful calibration, it is now time to test the parking brake function. Try several times to engage and disengage it. Take your car for a drive and make sure the brakes are not getting hot. If everything seems fine, you successfully completed a parking brake pad change!
Estimated Cost: 100 USD
- Diagnostic Scanner
- Required Tools
Materials: Brake Pads
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when the electronic parking brake fails?
Two things may happen when an electronic parking brake malfunctions, depending on what’s causing the issue. If it fails to engage, the vehicle will not be secured while parked, increasing the risk of a rollaway. This is especially dangerous when the car is sitting on an incline. On the other hand, the parking brake’s mechanism may jam or seize while engaged. If this happens, the electronic parking brake will not disengage when the driver presses the e-brake button, leaving the car’s back wheels blocked.
How do I reset my electronic parking brake?
Many car makers have left the possibility for the driver to reset the electronic parking brake. While the procedure may differ depending on the make and model, the basic steps are usually very similar. Start by turning on the ignition, pressing the brake pedal, and shifting the transmission into neutral. Then, press and hold the e-brake button for several seconds until you hear a mechanical whining noise from the back of the car. When the whining sound stops and the e-brake light starts flashing on the dashboard, release the button. After a few seconds, press the button once again to engage the electronic parking brake.
How do you compress a brake piston with an electric parking brake?
There are two ways of doing this, with connecting a diagnostic tool being one of them. But in most cases, an ordinary OBD2 scanner will not do the trick, as these usually can’t access the electronic parking brake’s control module. Instead, you’ll need a device compatible with your car’s EPB system. Alternatively, you could release the brake pistons by dismantling the parking brake mechanism. This method, however, requires a lot of skill and can go horribly wrong if not done correctly.
How much does it cost to repair or replace the electric parking brake?
Repairing or replacing the electric parking brake is relatively expensive, especially compared to conventional, cable-operated versions. This is because of the complexity of these systems, which have electronic control modules and electric motors that operate the rear calipers. In most cases, even the simplest repairs will cost you more than $100.
Replacing brake pads is one of the easiest maintenance tasks on a car – or at least this was the case before car makers started fitting electronic parking brakes on their models. These button-operated devices are also semi-automated, as they apply the parking brake on their own once the car is turned off.
In addition, they incorporate an uphill assistant feature, which holds the handbrake engaged when starting from a standstill on an incline. But due to their complexity, e-brakes are more prone to failures than conventional, cable-operated variants. Moreover, a suitable diagnostic tool is usually needed for replacing rear brake pads in cars with electronic parking brakes.
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