Pointers for Picking the Right Brake Hardware Kit
Any mechanics or DIY enthusiasts should have a brake hardware kit for their car on standby in their garage. Use this for replacing loose or worn out parts. This will also come in very handy if you misplace a vital part spring or bolt during regular brake maintenance. Read this guide to get some helpful hints on how to pick out the right brake hardware kit.
Know your car
The kit is not universal. With that in mind, the first thing you should do whenever you buy a brake hardware kit, or any aftermarket part for that matter, is to identify your car. Know the make, model, and year. For the sake of being specific, it might also help to know the series and engine type you have. Having this information will dramatically filter and limit your options.
Identify your brakes
Once you know what make and model your car is, the next thing that can help you in picking a kit is to know what type of brakes your vehicle has. These can either be drum or disc brakes. The hardware for each type is unique and very different from each other. Read the label properly to avoid buying hardware for the wrong type of brakes.
Kit for all brakes
Anticipate how much of the kit you may need. Aftermarket makers give buyers the option of buying them either as a complete set for your car, or individually on each side or corner. Another option is to buy a comprehensive set. Some may offer ones limited only to springs, bolts, clips, retainers, or retainers. Our suggestion: get a complete and comprehensive starter set on standby for all brakes of your vehicle. Then, when the time comes for you to replace one or a couple of brakes, buy the individually packaged kits as soon as possible. But because brake repair and maintenance are usually done in pairs, it may be only necessary to buy kits per ends of the car.
Complete Brake Repair with a Brake Hardware Kit
Working on the brakes usually means repairing the brake assembly's main components. Whatever type your car has, this may include calipers, pads, shoes, and rotor. To do a complete repair job, it may be necessary to replace old and worn hardware as well. The brake hardware kit is ideally used at the same time you perform routine brakes maintenance and replacement. This guide will only focus on hardware replacement, not on main component repairs.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Socket or Allen wrench set
- Brake cleaner
- Screwdriver set
- Spring remover tool
- Brake hardware kit
- Main assembly replacement parts
Step 1: Check the contents of your brake hardware kit to see if they are complete and are a match for your car. Replace only the hardware available with the kit you have.
Step 2: Park your car on a flat surface, but don't engage the parking brake. Turn off the engine. Raise the car with a floor jack and secure with jack stands.
Step 3: Start with the front brakes. Most cars' front wheels have disc brakes on them. Use a lug wrench to remove both front wheels of the car. Skip to step 7 if you are working on drum brakes.
Step 4: With a wrench, unscrew the bolts located at the back of the caliper to remove it from the disc. If the caliper seems to be stuck on the rotor, hit it softly with a hammer. With the caliper off, this is a good the time to work on the brake pads and work on the rotor. Refer to other guides to help you with replacement of these parts.
Step 5: Before reinstallation, change the hardware of the caliper. This may include pistons, seals, and clips. The kit may also include bolts, sleeves, pins and springs. By this time, the main brake components should be ready to be replaced and the caliper ready to be returned. Finish the repair by returning the front tires.
Step 6: Transfer to the rear and remove the rear tires for drum brake hardware replacement.
Step 7: Remove the drums to expose the insides. Take out the adjusting screw, parking brake springs, pins, actuating lever, and other springs. Check the wheel cylinder if it needs replacement.
Step 8: Install all the new brake hardware to the drum brakes. It is important to install the new parts in the same orientation of the parts removed. Return the tires and lower the car to finish the repair.
- Work on one brake assembly at a time. Use the other side as reference when you're confused how to assemble the parts.
- Clean everything you can clean with the right cleaner. Be careful if your brakes still use harmful asbestos compounds.
Brake Hardware Kit Buyer’s Guide
- The brake hardware and your other braking components are subjected to the same amount of heat, moisture, and corrosion.
- A brake hardware kit contains all the necessary pieces for a brake hardware replacement, such as springs, clips, and screws.
- Common causes of brake hardware failure include rust and corrosion, ozone and debris, heating and cooling cycles, and flexing and movement.
- There are two types of brake hardware kits: the drum brake hardware kit and disc brake hardware kit.
- The cost of brake hardware kits ranges from $2 to $86.
All the braking components in your vehicle are subjected to the same amount of heat, moisture, and corrosion. So if you're only replacing your brake rotors and pads when they show signs of wear and tear, you're neglecting other important braking components like your brake hardware.
Your brake hardware plays a vital role in keeping your braking system’s performance at its optimum level. It allows your brake pads to dish out superior stopping power when you hit your brake pedal, ensuring your safety when you’re on the road. That’s why when repairing your brake, we recommend that you buy a new brake hardware kit in addition to the rotors and pads, so that you can also replace other important braking components.
What is a brake hardware kit?
Located in the caliper, the brake hardware is composed of all of the pieces that hold your brake pads into place. It has a very critical function in ensuring a stable brake system. Although these parts don't help in stopping your vehicle, they play an essential role in allowing brake components like your brake pads and rotors to last longer and perform at an optimum level.
We recommend that you use a brake hardware kit when replacing the brake hardware, since it already contains all the necessary pieces like springs, clips, and screws.
What causes the brake hardware to wear out?
Heating and cooling cycles
Your brake hardware, especially parts like springs and anti-rattle clips, can be weakened by heating and cooling cycles. Constant heat exposure can cause unseen damage to brake hardware, which could cause your new brake pads to prematurely wear out. To prevent this, we recommend replacing both the brake hardware and brake pads at the same time, even if your brake hardware passes the eye test.
Flexing and movement
Constant flexing and movement can cause metal fatigue and put a lot stress on your brake hardware. Weakened brake hardware components can lead to the excessive movement or binding of your brake caliper and brake pads. This can cause premature brake pad wear, rotor warping, and pulling.
Rust and corrosion
Since your vehicle's brake components are always exposed to varying weather conditions, rust and corrosion may also occur in your brake hardware. If there’s rust and corrosion buildup on a floating caliper’s slides or bushings, the caliper won’t be able to center itself on the rotor when braking. This means that your braking power is weakened and your vehicle’s stopping distance will increase. Additionally, if only one caliper in the brake hardware has rust and corrosion buildup, this may also lead to uneven braking, where your brake will pull toward the stronger side.
Ozone and debris
Aside from springs, clips, and slides, your brake hardware is also composed of rubber parts, such as grommets, bushings, and dust shields. Ozone, debris, and heat can wear out these parts, which are important in protecting brake hardware like caliper bolts or slides. But unlike metal components, if the rubber parts seem like they're in good shape, there’s really no need to replace them. You can simply clean them and replace the lubricant.
Types of brake hardware kit
If you're going to replace your brake hardware, the first thing that you need to know is what kind of brakes your vehicle has. This will determine the amount and type of brake hardware kit that you'll need.
Drum brake hardware kit
Compared to disc brakes, drum brakes require more brake hardware. They have a series of return springs, clips, and retainers that lock the brake shoes on the backing plate and separate them from the drum surface when the brakes aren't in use. All of these pieces are usually included in a drum brake hardware kit.
Disc brake hardware kit
Not all disc brakes have the same hardware requirements. Most calipers have a set of slide pins, which allows the caliper to move back and forth when the brakes are engaged. Over time, these pins can get rusty, worn out, or even frozen in place, making replacement necessary. A set of pad slides or fit kit is also present in most disc brakes.
As the name implies, pad slides are basically where a brake pad slides on. They are thin pieces of metal attached to the caliper bracket that also prevent the brake pad's excess movement. Disc brakes may also have a return spring or pad spreader. Its main purpose is to keep the brake pads away from the rotor when the brake isn't applied.
In some vehicles, the rear disc brakes employ an auxiliary drum brake for the emergency brakes. It’s essentially a mini drum brake attached to the back of the rotor. You'll need a drum brake hardware kit to replace the brake hardware for this auxiliary brake.
When is the right time to replace your brake hardware?
Worn out brake hardware can lead to sticky or squealing brakes. You may also feel that the brake pedal is too soft or low. If you notice these symptoms, you should do a visual inspection of your brake system. Look for signs of rust and corrosion and damage to your brake hardware including bent slides, broken return springs, and missing clips.
How much does a replacement brake disc hardware kit cost?
Brake hardware kits on CarParts.com cost from $2 to $86. Prices will depend on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, Each product is sold per piece, in sets of two, or as a kit. It may also come with a warranty provided by the brand.
To make your search easier, don’t forget to use our website’s vehicle selector. Just enter the year, make, and model of your ride to get the full list of compatible parts and accessories. You can also filter search results by brand, price range, location, and quantity.