Disc brakes: How to replace them
You buy a bicycle with disc brakes because of the braking quality. But also because those brakes will last longer and cause lesser problems. But, after a while the pads in the disc brake need replacement. How do you do this yourself? And when do you need to change them?
When do you need to replace your disc brake pads?
When you use a bicycle with disc brakes often you will notice a decrease in braking quality. The brakes will start to squeak and caliper is constantly in contact with the pads. If you need to squeeze the brake lever really far and your braking time increases this can have to causes. There is something wrong with the cables. The cable is stretched or the brake needs bleeding. I fit is not the cable, the braking pads need to be replaced.
You can recognize a worn out braking pad very easily. The wear out material on the pad is totally gone as you can see on the picture below.
How to replace a disc brake pad
The replacement of a disc brake pad is easy to do yourself. You need to follow the next steps.
1. Remove the linchpin from the caliper.
Remove the linchpin from the caliper. Use the pincer to squeeze the linchpin till its flat. Now, remove the pin with your hand.
2. Remove the old pads
Remove the old, worn out pads from the caliper. Pay attention to the spring (which keeps the pads in position). So, be gently when removing the pads.
3. Place the new braking pads
Place the new braking pads on the new spring (you will find them all together in the package). Pay attention not to touch the part of the pads that will wear out. This needs to be kept free of oil and fats. This will be sucked up by the material and will cause a squeaking sound and make the pads vitrified. Press the new pads on the new spring and in the caliper.
Look out: It is possible that the cylinders in the caliper have come out which makes it very hard to place the new braking pads in the caliper. In this case you have to push the cylinders back into the caliper with a flat screwdriver or a special tool.
4. Tighten the linchpin again.
If the new braking pads are fitted in between the caliper it is time to place the linchpin back. Press the pin through the caliper, pads and spring. Bow the ends of the linchpin to keep it from falling out.
Disc brakes are sensitive for oil and other lubricants. Even oil on your fingertips can have negative effects on the braking power. Did you get grease on your fingers while working on your bike? Don’t forget to clean this part before replacing the braking pads.
Polluted disc brake pads
Are your braking pads not yet completely worn out but are they starting to squeak while braking? In this case the pads are probably vitrified. A combination of dust, warmth and pressure have made the surface of the pad plain. Due to this layer the pad doesn’t have any resistance anymore and your brakes will not work properly.
Vitrifying of the pads occurs when using the wrong braking technique. If the brake are continuously squeezed (in for example a downhill part of the ride) they will become too hot. This causes the vitrifying of the pads. Best solution for this problem is to replace the pads. Are they still new? Try to bring resistance back on the braking pads with a file or sandpaper.
Disc brakes need to be replaced as well
Not only the pads in a disc brake, but also the disc itself asks your attention. Discs are parts that wear out one day. But, when do you need to change them and how do you do this? Read all about it in the blog: How to change a disc brake, disc? Do your brakes make a squeaking sound? In this case it is possible that they are wrong aligned. Do you want to know how to adjust your disc brakes: How to adjust a disc brake?