Steve has been producing How To tutorials and articles for over 10 years, as well as E-books with Amazon KDP.
When to Replace Front Brake Pads?
It is a good idea to keep a check on the condition of your brake pads and discs so regular checks are desirable. If you take your Mini One to a garage they will usually recommend pad replacement from when about 40% wear is evident. For me, that is a bit too early, but it does depend on the number of miles and the conditions you drive in.
How long do brake pads last?
Typically, a good set of brake pads will last up to 50,000 miles, but it really does depend on how efficiently you drive. Obviously limited use of your brakes will save unnecessary wear. Good planning and anticipation of the road and conditions ahead will help the cause.
If you are a foot-down, brake-at-the-last-minute type of driver, then you can expect more wear from your brake pads and discs. The smoother you drive the more cash you will keep in your pocket. If you're anything like me then you will have deep pockets. I am an efficient type of driver too!
Making sure that you replace your brake pads before they get down to 5 mm is my advice. If you get down so low they can wear out rather quickly. Definitely replace them before going metal to metal. If you're getting a grinding noise at the moment then that will probably be the case. What's left of your brake pads will be scouring the brake discs which will cost you more money to have the discs replaced as well.
What tools will you need?
Listed are the tools that you are likely to need when you fit new front brake pads to your car.
- Wire brush
- W.D. 40 Spray
- Brake cleaner spray
- Anti-squeal paste
- Copper grease
- Socket set
- Flat screwdriver
- Caliper wind back tool
- Ratchet wrench
- Torque wrench
- Wheel choc
- Trolley jack or bottle jack
Planning the job of replacing front brake pads needs a bit of thought in terms of safety for you and your car. The reason you are doing this I would think is to save money so what you don't want to do is cause yourself more expense and risk injury by neglecting the important safety issues. It will be a good idea if as a minimum you do the following,
- Wear gloves
- Wear goggles
- Cover arms and legs
- Secure the car on axle stands
- Choc road wheels still on ground
- Put handbrake on if working on front of car
- Keep area clear around your car
- Have a helper to support you if possible
You Can Do This
If you're wondering if you are capable of doing this, I have to say I did the same before I changed my first set of brake pads many years ago. In those days there was no Internet—I had to learn to do things using a workshop manual and a bit of planning. I have to say maintaining your car at home has never been as easy. You have so much information at your finger tips.
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Yes, you can do this. If I can do it then so can you. If you are generally a practical hands-on sort of person and don't mind getting your hands a bit mucky then go ahead and have fun with car maintenance on your Mini Cooper One.
Advantages of Maintaining Your Own Car
There are one or two advantages of maintaining your own car, particularly if you are the only owner the vehicle has had. You get the satisfaction of knowing that the work has been done to a good standard and above all with great care. Listed below are the six main reasons you might want to do it yourself:
- Cost-saving on garage labour costs
- Improving your skills
- Personal satisfaction
- No waiting for garage bookings
- Do it when you want to do it
- No downtime without your car
When you do some of the maintenance jobs on your car it means you are able to plan things rather than just waiting until things go wrong. Regular checks of your vehicle will give you time to plan ahead and buy parts ready to do the jobs you are able to cope with.
It goes without saying that there will be jobs that you just won't be able to do and a garage will be the only option. Some jobs will require specialist equipment that a home mechanic just won't have or be able to accommodate.
Below is a step by step guide to follow which should be of help especially if the video above fails to work.
- Undo brake fluid reservoir cap
- Loosen wheel nuts
- Jack car up
- Remove road wheel
- Remove caliper front body retaining clips
- Tie caliper up out of the way
- Wind back the caliper using tool
- Remove worn pads
- Clean up before replacing pads
- Fit with anti-squeal paste
- Fit new pads
- Build caliper back up
- Refit caliper retaining clips
- Clean disc with brake cleaner
- Refit road wheel
- Repeat the same for the other side
I would always recommend taking your car out for a road test to check the brake efficiency and that there are no strange noises as a result of your efforts.
Make sure to pump the brake pedal a few times to reset the piston in the caliper after winding back. Three or four pumps of the pedal should be fine or until resistance is felt at the top of the pedal stroke.
Remember also to refit the brake fluid reservoir cap.
Another Job Done
That wasn't so bad now, was it? You will probably understand now why I say that you can do it. If you have a socket set and a few other popular tools you can certainly learn how to do many of the jobs yourself.
How do you feel now?
How does it feel knowing that you have successfully completed the replacement of your front brake pads on your Mini One?
Good, I would imagine.
Feel free to comment below by letting us know how you get on with your car maintenance jobs. If I have missed any important points from this tutorial or something you have found that will help others please advise and we will add any relevant information to the article.
In the meantime let me thank you for reading and doing.
Cheers for now.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Steve Mitchell