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Step-by-Step Guide to Changing VW Touran Rear Brake Pads
This article guides you through changing the brake pads on a VW Touran, a very popular MPV produced by Volkswagen. The information that follows applies to many of the VW, Audi, SEAT, and Skoda range of vehicles.
More and more people are maintaining vehicles themselves. Some maintenance is best left to a qualified mechanic, but there are some jobs that a competent DIY'er can do themselves.
Changing the rear brake pads on the Touran is a relatively straightforward job if you know how to do it. This article provides a step-by-step pictorial guide to the process.
Although this example shows a VW Touran, the same brakes are used on Audi A3s and Skoda Octavias.
Caution: If you are not sure about doing this yourself, consider taking the car to a qualified mechanic. The brakes are a critical component on any car and not something to get wrong.
Tools Required: Check That You Have Everything Needed
If you want to change the rear brake pads on your VW Touran, it is essential that you check you have the correct tools before you start.
You will need:
- Jack. Either the standard jack that comes with the car, or if you have one, use a trolley jack.
- Axle Stand. It is very important that you support the car correctly whilst working on it.
- Wheel brace. Used to remove the wheel bolts. If you have anti-theft wheel bolts, you will also need the 'key.'
- 13mm spanner/wrench. Used to undo the caliper holding bolts.
- 15mm spanner/wrench. Also used to undo the caliper holding bolts.
- Volkswagen special tool (optional). Used to recompress the piston into the caliper.
- Clamp and pinned wrench (optional). Used instead of Volkswagen special tool to recompress the piston into the caliper.
- Tape measure (optional). To check piston is fully recompressed into caliper.
- Rope/bungie (optional). To hold caliper whilst detached from wheel hub.
- Cardboard (optional). Ideal to sit on while working on dirty or damp surfaces.
As well as a new set of brake pads this is all you need to complete the job. Ideally, if you have access to the Volkswagen special tool you should use it; otherwise, you will need to find a suitable combination of clamp and wrench to compress and turn the piston at the same time.
Remove the Wheel Cover: Make a Start!
- Before you do anything else, make sure the car is on level ground.
- Park the car in the position you want to work on it so that you can get to both sides of the vehicle.
- Leave the car in gear, or in 'park' if you have an automatic transmission.
- Release the handbrake.
- Remove the wheel cover if you have one. Depending on the model of car you have, you may have steel wheels with full-size plastic wheel covers; or if you have alloy wheels, you may have a plastic centre cap just covering the wheel bolts. The VW Centre caps in this picture are removed by inserting the special tool through one of the holes and giving it a sharp tug. If you have this type of wheel, the special tool is usually stored in a bag with the wheel brace and other small tools supplied with the car.
Remove the Wheel Bolts
- The wheel bolts can now be loosened. It is better to loosen them while the wheel is still on the floor.
- If you wish, you can remove some of the wheel bolts completely, but at least two must stay in position until the wheel is raised off the floor.
Touran Anti-Theft Wheel Bolts: Easy to Remove if You Have the Key
To remove the anti-theft wheel bolt you will need to use the 'key' that was supplied with the car. The key is shown below to the left of the wheel brace.
Simply insert the 'key' into the wheel bolt and then use the wrench to undo the bolt.
Use a Jack to Lift the Car
If you are using the jack supplied with the car, you need to ensure that you position it correctly. There is an area of the underbody that has been strengthened to allow the car to be lifted. If you are not sure where this is you should consult the user manual that came with the car.
Lift the car sufficiently to be able to position the axle stand under the car.
Use an Axle Stand: Don't Take a Chance
Place an axle stand under the car.
When working on a car, it is important that you do not just use a jack. The jack that comes with the car is only designed to change a wheel and will be quite unstable. If you leave the car on the jack and start work, there is a good chance that the jack will fall over causing damage to the car and possibly injuring you.
Position the axle stand under the suspension mounting where it will not slip. Lower the jack so that the weight of the car is on the axle stand. You can leave the jack in position but check that the car is stable before proceeding.
Remove the Wheel and Get Access to the Brake Unit
Once the car is safely positioned on the axle stand, you can continue to remove the wheel bolts and then lift the wheel off.
Take care lifting the wheel as it will be heavy. Put it to one side where it will be out of the way.
You now have access to the brake unit. Take a moment to examine everything and familiarize yourself with the hub and brake unit.
The Brake Caliper: A Simple Unit
The brake unit is quite straightforward. It consists of a fixed casting which is attached to the wheel hub. There is then a floating casting which moves within the fixed casting as the brake pads wear.
The floating casting has a piston in it which applies pressure to the brake pads when the brake pedal is pressed.
There is also the mechanism for the handbrake, which will not be affected by changing the brake pads.
Identify the Caliper Fixings
The floating brake caliper is attached to the fixed casting with just two bolts. The first shown above connects to the top of the casting; the other, shown below, to the bottom of the casting. Just inside the lugs that these pass through you will see a nut and a rubber flexible cover.
Take a moment to check that you have identified these correctly.
Undo the Bolts and Prepare to Remove the Caliper
Use the 13 mm spanner/wrench on the bolt head and the 15 mm open-ended spanner/wrench on the inner nut.
Remove the bolt and put to one side for safe keeping. The nut and rubber cover will remain in position and do not need to be removed.
All Fixings Removed
The picture shows the total number of fixings that have to be removed. There are five wheel bolts, including the anti-theft bolt, and two caliper bolts.
Be sure to keep these safe as they will be required to reassemble the unit.
Support the Caliper: Don't Damage the Brake Lines!
Once the bolts have been removed, you can slide the caliper off the brake pads. The caliper unit needs to be supported while the pads are being changed so that strain is not placed on the flexible rubber brake pipe.
I have found that an elasticated bungie is a good idea for this. You may need to wrap it around the shock absorber to shorten it if it is too long. This can then be simply hooked onto the suspension spring.
Remove the Brake Pads: Out With the Old, in With the New
With the caliper out of the way, it is now a simple task to change the brake pads. These are held in place by the anti-rattle springs and simply pull out.
While you have the brake pads off it is worth checking the disk for wear. If the disk is badly scored or has excessive even wear you may want to consider changing the disk as well.
Old Pads vs. New Pads: See the Difference!
You can see in the picture the extent of the wear on the old pads. Just in case you hadn't worked it out, the new ones are the lower ones in the picture!
Check the Anti-Rattle Springs
Whilst you don't need to change the springs at the same time as the pads, it is worth checking them. Check both the upper and the lower spring on both sides of the brake disk. If any are broken it is advisable to change them all.
Fit New Pads - Easy!
The new pads simply push into place. Make sure you have inserted them correctly and that they are tight to the brake disk.
Measure the Brake Pads: Not Essential But Saves Time
Use a tape measure or a steel rule to measure across the pads. This will be used soon to check the caliper will fit back over the pads.
Depending on the wear on your disk, this measurement will be about 45 mm.
Measure the Caliper! How Much Space Do You Need to Create?
Use your tape measure or steel rule to measure the caliper. You need to measure from the face of the piston to the inside of the lugs.
This will tell you how much you need to push the piston back into the caliper.
Find Something Useful to Turn the Piston
You will need to turn the piston while it is being pushed back into the caliper. You need to find something that will allow you to do this. There is a special Volkswagen tool available and you can also buy special tools from car parts dealers.
I found that the spanner from my angle grinder fitted perfectly.
Compress the Piston Into the Caliper: Find Another Useful Tool!
Whilst the piston is being turned you will need to apply a compressive force to push the piston back into the caliper. Again the special tool from Volkswagen will do this for you.
I found a woodworking clamp that did the job perfectly and worked with the angle grinder spanner so that I could compress and turn at the same time.
Open the Brake Master Cylinder and Release the Pressure
Before compressing the cylinder you should remove the cap from the master cylinder. This is located under the bonnet. Take the cap off and place some absorbent rags or paper towels around it. This will catch any liquid that may overflow the cylinder.
If the cylinder has not been topped up since the pads were last replaced then you shouldn't have an overflow problem.
Brake fluid is corrosive and will damage paintwork if you allow it to overflow.
Compress the Piston—Reset the Caliper
When you are ready you can compress and turn the piston back into the cylinder. It is best to turn the piston in an anticlockwise direction when looking at the face of the piston.
Take your time. Do not force things. If the cylinder does not go back in easily, check everything. Make sure that you are trying to compress the piston straight into the cylinder and not at an angle.
Compress the piston until you have the clear measurement that you measured across the new brake pads.
Refit the Caliper: Slide it Back Into Place
If you have compressed the piston enough, the caliper should simply slide over the new brake pads. Reposition the caliper and put the bolts back in.
You may have to fiddle with the flexible rubber cover and nut a little, but the bolts should go back in easily.
Once the bolts are back in they should be tightened to 35Nm. If you have a torque wrench you should use it to check the torque, although space is restricted so you may not be able to get the torque wrench and a socket in place.
Refit the Wheel: Nearly Finished!
Lift the wheel into place and replace the wheel bolts. Tighten as much as you can with the car on the axle stand.
Once the wheel is on you can remove the axle stand and lower the car to the ground.
Re-tighten the wheel bolts with the car firmly on the ground to check that they are tight. You can then refit any wheel trim that was in place when you started.
When you have completed one side of the car, you need to do the other. Brake pads should always be replaced at the same time on both sides of the car to ensure balanced driving.
Start the engine and pump the brake pedal a couple of times. Initially, the brake pedal will travel further than normal but will then firm up and operate as normal.
Finally, check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and top up if required. Be sure to use the correct specification brake fluid. Replace the cap on the master cylinder.
This information is provided with the intention of assisting individuals in carrying out basic DIY maintenance and is believed correct at the time of writing. The author does not accept any responsibility for any injury or damage to any person, object or other third parties as a result of directly or indirectly following the guidelines offered.
You can share any hints and tips for maintenance or just getting the most from your VW Touran with other readers here. Leave your ideas, thoughts or general comments on this lens.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2009 Robyco