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Changing brakes and rotors 2010 Mazda 6

4958 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  posttosh
Hi all,

I’m at the point where my rotors are so warped when I brake my car shakes. I had the rotors and brakes changed out last year, my roommate is saying that I brake too hard. Anyway I heard some grinding tonight when I was almost home from work. It didn’t grind the whole time but I heard it a couple of times braking. I was wondering who actually replaces their own rotors and brakes and if it’s hard. I have never done anything major myself to my car so I’m a little nervous. I have all the tools to repair this I just need the rotors and brake pads. I just haven’t done this ever in my life and was wondering if it’s worth it to try to do myself or take to mechanic who happens to be next door.

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It's not difficult but you do need the correct tool to wind back the rear caliper in most cases -- Autozone and the other parts places have it you can rent/borrow if you don't have one.

You DO need the correct brake-specific grease for the caliper pins and need to pay attention to the dust boots on the caliper pistons; if you tear one of those you'll be forced to rebuild the caliper involved. I would also be prepared to replace the pin dust seals if they're at all questionable. A torque wrench is also required and, of course, ordinary wrenches and such, plus jackstands and a floor jack. A wire wheel on a cordless drill is extremely useful for cleaning corrosion and gunk off the flanges before you mount the new rotors (absolutely necessary; you MUST have a clean and even surface on the hub for the new rotor) and a can of brake cleaner and shop rags are necessary to get the shipping oil off the new rotors -- they come in the box with oil on them to prevent rust in shipping and storage and you must clean ALL of that off before they're installed.

I also strongly recommend changing the brake fluid on 2 year intervals; if you haven't been doing it this is a decent time to do so. Brake fluid is hygroscopic (picks up water from the atmosphere) and the moisture corrodes everything in the system; avoiding that will avoid caliper and master cylinder (plus ABS pump) problems and replacements over time. A power bleeder helps with this a LOT and turns it into a one-person job that can be done in ~20 minutes or so.

If you live where they salt the roads in the winter time expect "fun" getting things apart and the potential for a need to replace fasteners.

I can do an axle of brakes (both sides either front and rear) in two beers assuming I don't have to deal with severe corrosion. If you do then the time goes up somewhat and the potential for surprises (where you don't have something you need to replace in-hand and must run to the parts store) goes up too.

If you have shuddering (what people think of as "warped" brakes) but NOT a pulsing pedal then the rotors are NOT warped. What's happened is that they were not properly bedded when new and you have uneven deposits on the rotor surface. Once this starts it gets progressively worse and at a certain point you get changes in the metallurgy of the rotor at which point it's irreversible (prior to that you can dismount the caliper, wire-wheel the rotor surface with a stainless steel wire brush and then re-bed the brakes to put an even deposit of pad material on them -- most of the time that works.) To avoid this when you change the brakes make sure you properly bed them -- I've posted the procedure here before and you can find it on the 'net as well. You need a clear, open road where you can accelerate and brake multiple times, HARD, but without coming to a full stop, to get them good and hot and then drive without having to stop until they cool down fully; this will take 30 minutes or so and its VERY important you NOT come to a complete stop during this time while the brakes are still hot.
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