DIYer’s Guide to Checking and Re-inserting the Brake Pad Pin
What could possibly turn a cruise on the streets or a blast through the highway into a nightmare? Your brakes not functioning properly! This braking trouble can be blamed on a corroded or stuck brake pad pin or caliper guide pin, which ensures the proper angle at which the brake pad should meet or make contact with the brake rotor. Check the pin and put things back into proper place. Here's how:
Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Jack stands
- Solvent for cleaning the pins
- Grease for lubricating the pins
Note: Caliper pin removal tools may be used instead.
Step 1: Lift the car using a jack and use jack stands to support the vehicle off the ground. You'll have to remove the tires to get access to the caliper and the guide pins.
Step 2: Remove the caliper. As you take off the caliper, look into the housing and locate the guide pins.
Step 3: Inspect the caliper guide pins. The pins could be stuck in the rotors or they may have not been inserted properly after the pads were replaced. Also check if the pins are corroded or need to be lubricated.
Step 4: Take out the pins. The pins can be removed with a screwdriver and with some light taps from a hammer. Alternatively, caliper pin removal tools from auto parts stores may be used for pulling them out safely and easily.
Note: If the caliper guide pins are stuck or corroded and can't be removed, you may need to have the brake service done by a certified mechanic or professional. The old pins have to be replaced with new ones, which may come as a set or as an individual piece for the front or rear brakes. The replacement pins should fit directly into the caliper holes without needing alterations or modifications.
Step 5: Make sure that the pins are lubricated well before you re-insert them back into the caliper housing. Before applying some grease, the caliper guide pins should be cleaned with some solvent. They have to be free of any excess grease or dirt. After cleaning the pins, cover them in high-temperature grease. The grease should be specially formulated for calipers. It will be under extreme heat and pressure, so you can't apply just any kind of lubricant.
Note: Some repair shops or home mechanics would skip this step, but coating the pins with fresh grease can help ensure the brake's optimum performance. This will also allow them to withstand wear and tear better.
Step 6: Re-insert the caliper guide pins. They have to go all the way in. Also see to it that they won't be stuck in the rotors. After making sure that the pins are re-inserted properly, you can now reinstall the caliper or complete other brake jobs such as replacing the pads.
Step 7: Test-drive the vehicle to check if the brake job is done properly. Take note of any unusual noise when braking or any trouble with stopping. If the calipers aren't making contact with the rotors at the right angle, braking may be accompanied by a grinding sound. Brakes may also stick or grab when driving. You have to correct this.