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Any tips for Brake and disc replacement


Hello there

I am new to the site and so far have found it very helpful.

I got a quote from dealer to replace the front pads and discs on my 2001 leon cupra and they wanted £250!!.

I have decided to take on the challenge myself and wanted to know if there is anything i should know or any useful tips anyone could give me, I do have some knowledge of cars.

Any recommendations on where to buy the stuff would be great




RoadRunner meep meep
Mar 26, 2009
there is a tool you will need to push the pistons back in, in order to fit the pads. also some copper grease will be handy :)


LCR Track car
Aug 6, 2004
Sunny Scotland
I did the very same myself.
Instead of paying someone to do this I spent the money on buying bits to do myself.
Get a copy of ELSAWIN from Ebay and this will be your best friend
Feb 26, 2009
Front pads are fairly easy, the worst part is getting the pistons back in the caliper. They always seem to need quarter of an inch more than you can get them in!!

You're going to need a breaker bar and a good set of sockets, as the bolts holding the caliper and the carrier are on there very tight. You'll also need a torque wrench for putting things back together.

For buying the stuff, I'd get some prices from the sponsors here, they tend to be fairly decent.


Joined the Dark Side
Aug 13, 2007
Fronts are IMO very easy and very standard in design but id still recommend a golf mk4 haynes manual as fitting brakes needs to be done right and tightened to the correct settings.


Catch that diesel!
Mar 17, 2006
North Kent
Front brakes:

If working on axle stands, chock the rear wheels - the handbrake may not hold.


Check before you begin to see if you will need new caliper bolts. Some have stretch bolts which should not be reused. Make sure you have the torque settings to hand.

If the old ones have a wear sensor, keep the plug and wiring, don't throw it out with the pads. Joining the two wires will make a part you can use to fake the wear sensor if you get an aftermarket set of pads without one. (wear sensor is just a wire embedded in the pad, once it's worn through it lights the brake wear light)

Take the lid off the hydraulic reservoir. Leave the lid off while you do the job. Take some fluid out of the hydraulic reservoir to make room for what will be forced back as you push the pistons in to make room for the new pads.

Lever back on the old pads to force the pistons back into the calipers. That way the pads take care of any damage from the tools you're using to do the levering. In particular this protects the rubber dust seals between piston and caliper body. Lever the pistons back as far as they will go.

Check the new pads against the old ones to make sure they are the correct fitting, size and shape.

Clean off any rust and dirt accumulated on the pad guides. They don't need to be sparkling. Don't grease them - the pads don't move very far, and the grease will just stick more road dirt and brake dust to the guides than you would normally get. And you don't want grease near brake pads in any case.

If you haven't quite pushed the pistons in far enough, a pair of water pump pliers like these can often be opened up wide enough to fit round the caliper.

Sometimes copper grease between the pad back and the pistons can help with brake squeal.

Once new pads are in, (and new disks if you're doing them at the same time) pump the pistons back down gently until you get a solid brake pedal.


The single countersunk securing screw may be rusted in. An impact screwdriver can help to release it. Its main use is to keep the disk against the hub while you change a wheel - the wheel bolts take all the braking loads.

Rear brakes

If working on axle stands, chock the front wheels. Your handbrake won't help once the wheels are off the ground.

As for the front, plus:

The rear calipers contain a mechanical handbrake mechanism which transmits force to the piston via a threaded rod which the piston is screwed onto. The mechanism adjusts automatically to keep the handbrake lever motion almost constant: the piston climbs up the rod, unscrewing itself a little bit every time the footbrake is applied.

To get the pistons back down and make room for the new pads, the pistons must be both forced back in and screwed onto the rods. A caliper windback tool from Halfords is a good way to make this easy.


Thanks for all your assistance on this one i will be starting the job on Saturday

Listers, parts supplier