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Time to Change Brake Pads: A Quick Guide to Duration and Process

Mechanic changing a brake pad.

Whether you plan to seek a professional brake repair or try a DIY brake pad replacement job, knowing how long it takes gives you a better idea of how much time you should set aside.

A qualified mechanic takes around 30 to 60 minutes to change all brake pads or roughly five to 15 minutes per pad, provided there aren't any complications.

Amateur do-it-yourself enthusiasts will likely take much longer to do the job well — up to three hours.

We'll go through the various factors and complications that could affect the average duration in the sections below.

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    Mechanic changing a brake pad.
    Mechanic changing a brake pad.

    How Long Does It Take To Change All 4 Brake Pads?

    Thanks to the fairly simple process — you don't even need to bleed the brake system afterward — most professionals can replace brake pads within 30 to 60 minutes.

    As a general rule, you should allow five to 15 minutes per brake pad when your car is in the garage, but it could take longer if there are other complications, such as:

    • Leaks in brake lines or calipers
    • Warped brake rotors
    • Worn brake discs
    • Contaminated brake fluid
    • Spongy brake pedal

    DIY mechanics will likely need more time to ensure the new brake pads work properly, so give yourself around three hours if you fancy having a go.

    On top of that, you must allow time to check your brake system before driving away, but this should only take around five minutes.

    Do You Have To Replace All Old Brake Pads At The Same Time?

    Most professionals recommend changing all four brake pads simultaneously, even if one appears in good condition.

    While you could technically leave the pads on the rear brakes and only change the front brake pads, this isn't deemed safest by OEMs or mechanics.

    So, the rule is fairly simple — if you replace one brake pad, replace them all.

    Changing brake pads yourself may take an afternoon.
    Changing brake pads yourself may take an afternoon.

    How Long Does It Take To Change Your Brake Pads Yourself?

    Fitting new brake pads isn't difficult.

    Hence, so many car lovers decide to do the job themselves.

    But make sure you have the right tools before beginning.

    Everything You Need to Change Car's Brake Pads

    • Hydraulic trolley jack
    • Jack stands
    • Replacement brake pads
    • Heavy-duty lug wrench
    • Mechanics socket set
    • Silicone-based brake lubricant
    • Heavy-duty F clamp and C clamp

    Once you've procured the tools required to replace the brake pads, it's time to do the job.

    15 Steps to Replace The Brake Pads

    1. Head to the first wheel and loosen the lugs.
    2. Lift the car using the jack, placing the jack stands underneath and ensuring both wheels leave the ground.
    3. Unbolt the lugs.
    4. Remove the wheel.
    5. If you're changing the car's brakes on the front wheels, turn in the opposite direction to get as much room to work as possible.
    6. Take out the caliper's slide pins. Normally, there are two found on the back.
    7. Remove the safety clip too.
    8. Hang the brake caliper from the coil spring using a piece of wire.
    9. Compress the caliper piston using a clamp.
    10. Take the old brake pad offer and place the new pads in the right position.
    11. Use silicone-based lubricant to grease the caliper slide pins. Be careful not to touch the inside of the brake pads with it.
    12. Grease the outside of the inner brake pad at the piston-contact point. Use the mark on the old brake pad as a guide.
    13. Slide the caliper back into place, secure the pins, and return the safety clip.
    14. Reinstall the wheel.
    15. Repeat the process for the other three brake pads.

    Give yourself as much time as you need to change brakes, especially if it's your first time since they're such an important component.

    Typically, amateur DIYers take around three hours when replacing brake pads, so if you don't have time, seek a professional brake repair service.

    Performance Checks Following Brake Pad Replacement

    Once you've replaced the brake pads, make sure you conduct these checks to ensure they're working properly:

    • Right position — Ensure the wear sensor faces out and doesn't come into contact with anything.
    • Leaks — Look at the lines and caliper, checking for leaks. If you see any, take your vehicle to the mechanic as soon as possible.
    • Test drive — Test your new brake pads by driving slowly before gradually increasing acceleration. If they feel soft or spongy, you must seek a professional brake service.
    • Dirt and debris — Look at the area surrounding the brake system and remove any dirt or debris before driving.
    Mechanic installing new brake pads.
    Mechanic installing new brake pads.

    How Long Does It Take For A Mechanic To Change Brake Pads?

    A professional mechanic can usually conduct a brake pad replacement in 30 to 60 minutes.

    However, various factors can shorten or lengthen the time.

    After all, brake specialists who work on nothing but brake pads all day will inevitably do a faster job.

    If it's just a matter of changing brake pads, a qualified mechanic can make quick work of it, but the duration changes depending on:

    Condition of Rotors

    Adding new rotors lengthens the brake pad replacement process.

    You should expect the mechanic to take closer to an hour in this case, instead of 30-60 minutes.

    Job Thoroughness

    Highly qualified, experienced mechanics understand that fitting new brake pads can involve a myriad of steps to be wholly successful.

    For example, some may remove the caliper piston for optimal cleaning, lubricating, and restoring.

    A straight-up brake pad replacement job will always be quicker than one necessitating additional repairs, disassembled, or other procedures.

    Are Replacing Brake Pads Easy?

    As we mentioned before, fitting new brake pads is a fairly straightforward process, but it's worth remembering that professionals are always there if you feel overwhelmed.

    Some factors that can affect the simplicity of the procedure are:

    #1 Condition of Other Components

    Provided the brake rotors and brake fluid are in good condition, replacing the pads should be easy.

    It becomes much harder if the calipers and other system components are damaged, dirty, or worn.

    #2 Tools

    Hand tools take much longer (and more elbow grease) than power tools.

    If you're choosing the DIY route, ensure you invest in suitable tools to avoid any hiccups.

    #3 Type of Vehicle

    Smaller, front-wheel-drive cars are easier to work with than larger vehicles.

    How Much Should It Cost To Replace Brake Pads?

    While it depends on the cost of parts at the time the pads need to be replaced and the vehicle type, the cost tends to total $150 to $300 per axle.

    Although, if you require new brake rotors too, it could rocket to $500 per axle!

    Luckily, if you're replacing your brake pads in good time (i.e., every few years or 50,000 miles), there's a good chance you won't need to worry about warped or damaged rotors.


    Most mechanics take around 30 to 60 minutes to conduct a replacement of all four brake pads.

    However, worn discs, contaminated brake fluid, and other complications can increase the duration.

    If you attempt to change them yourself, it could take up to three hours, especially if you haven't done a brake repair before.

    And, as a final piece of advice — remember, you can always avoid harsh braking and vehicle overload to ensure your brake discs and pads last as long as possible to save money.