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Old 07-25-2013, 11:15 AM
 
3,279 posts, read 4,035,159 times
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Last week I swapped the brake pads on our 2004 Oldsmobile Alero. I'm not a car mechanic by any means, but I decided I'd try the job myself for money-saving purposes, as the pads were $20 (vs it probably costing $100 if I'd had it done by a shop). I followed the steps as shown on a video, removing the wheel & the caliper, with the caliper supported so it wasn't hanging by the brake lines, removing the old pads, greasing the new pads, putting them in, closing the caliper in with the C-clamp (using one of the old pads where the "tip" of the C-clamp went so it had a smooth surface to do its thing), then re-attaching everything. I didn't change the rotors (a guy at AutoZone managed to peek & say they looked fine to him), I had driven it almost zero since hearing the scrubbing noise during braking (we have a 2nd car, we just parked the Alero) as prior experience told me I'd better act fast or else the brake job would be a lot more involved.

I didn't "bleed" the brakes during this process, as I didn't change anything but the pads, the only thing was when I first test-drove it the brake pedal initially went almost to the floor, I had to "pump" the pedal a few times initially before leaving our driveway & hitting the road itself. Since then, though, it's driven fine with no problems at all.

It was always my understanding that you only bleed the brakes if you change out everything (as in the pads, rotors and calipers), but that if all you did was swap the pads, you didn't need to. Was I right or wrong on that?

LRH
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 18,356,121 times
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you don't bleed brakes when you change the pads.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Here
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As long as you didn't open the fluid lines to the caliper or anywhere else, you don't need to bleed them. I always bleed mine though since it takes literally 10 minutes of additional work. Brake fluid should be bled every 2-3 years.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:32 AM
 
3,279 posts, read 4,035,159 times
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Thank you very much, you verified what I thought all along. Others I know who have more experience with such things (and thus are ones I tend to believe over my own thoughts in such situations) had asked me "did you bleed the brakes" & I replied "I just changed the pads, I always heard you didn't need to if all you do is change the pads" & I could hear them groaning like they were thinking "oh boy, I hope the car doesn't crash."

So I was right on this one, huh? Ha ha, that's funny, I'm going to have fun with this one when I tell them. It also makes me feel more calm & relaxed too, again, such tasks aren't tasks I do, normally I'd just pay a shop to do it. I'm more of a computers/cameras/electronics type of person, not a mechanical "Tim the Toolman Taylor" type of person, so I really surprised myself here, a LOT.

Thank you very much for the quick feedback.

LRH
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Annandale, VA
5,098 posts, read 4,285,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankgn87 View Post
you don't bleed brakes when you change the pads.

Agreed. I replaced the pads and rotors on my wife's 2007 BMW last weekend. As long as you don't open up the lines, there is no need to bleed them. Just compress the piston with a C-clamp to get the new pads to clear the rotor.

Cost of new front pads, rotors, and wear sensor doing it yourself........ $203.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:40 AM
 
Location: NY
9,069 posts, read 14,916,515 times
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You already drove it. So you would know if you needed to bleed the brakes. Air in the system would cause the brake light to come on, and you would have at least a spongy pedal and at worst a pedal which went right to the floor.

If you did not open the lines, you are fine. Replacing pads (or pads and rotors) should not typically require bleeding.

All that said, you need to pay attention to your calipers still to make sure they do not start seeping fluid, or sticking. Calipers do not always take kindly to replacing pads, due to age/wear. Also, I hope you made sure the calipers are sliding well on their pins, and also greased those pins. You can do a brake job without this, but re-greasing the pins anytime you service the brakes will keep them moving freely and properly.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,388 posts, read 10,100,592 times
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Pop the hood and take a peek at the brake fluid reseviour. When you push the pistons in, the fluid travels back up to here. Make sure the reseviour is not overfilled and spilling out. If needed, remove some fluid to just under MAX.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:54 AM
 
32,186 posts, read 26,007,072 times
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as the others said, you are good to go since you didnt crack the hydraulic system. the reason you had to pump the brakes a couple of times to get a pedal is because you pushed all the fluid in the calipers back up into the master cylinder, and it takes a couple of pumps to get the fluid back into the calipers. i would however check the master cylinder fluid level and adjust it as necessary.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Here
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Checkered24 View Post
Air in the system would cause the brake light to come on,
Not commonly
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:15 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 9,223,751 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by larrytxeast View Post
Last week I swapped the brake pads on our 2004 Oldsmobile Alero. I'm not a car mechanic by any means, but I decided I'd try the job myself for money-saving purposes, as the pads were $20 (vs it probably costing $100 if I'd had it done by a shop). I followed the steps as shown on a video, removing the wheel & the caliper, with the caliper supported so it wasn't hanging by the brake lines, removing the old pads, greasing the new pads, putting them in, closing the caliper in with the C-clamp (using one of the old pads where the "tip" of the C-clamp went so it had a smooth surface to do its thing), then re-attaching everything. I didn't change the rotors (a guy at AutoZone managed to peek & say they looked fine to him), I had driven it almost zero since hearing the scrubbing noise during braking (we have a 2nd car, we just parked the Alero) as prior experience told me I'd better act fast or else the brake job would be a lot more involved.

I didn't "bleed" the brakes during this process, as I didn't change anything but the pads, the only thing was when I first test-drove it the brake pedal initially went almost to the floor, I had to "pump" the pedal a few times initially before leaving our driveway & hitting the road itself. Since then, though, it's driven fine with no problems at all.

It was always my understanding that you only bleed the brakes if you change out everything (as in the pads, rotors and calipers), but that if all you did was swap the pads, you didn't need to. Was I right or wrong on that?

LRH
All you need to do is start the car, and press the brake pedal several times, until it builds up normal resistance. That's when the calipers have extended themselves, and you're ready to drive.
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