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How to change brake pads and rotors on jeep wrangler?

Brake pads and rotors are major parts of your wrangler and it is always important to check the condition of your brakes and rotors to see if they are in good working condition. In this article, we’re going to see how to change brake pads and rotors on jeep wrangler?

Jeep wrangler brake pads usually last for between 30,000 and 70,000 miles but this entirely depends on your driving habits. If you daily your wrangler and you often find yourself in heavy traffic, your rotors and pads wear out quicker and you’ll need to get an inspection more frequently.

It is recommended that you check your owner’s manual to get more information on recommended interval inspection and maintenance schedules since this is usually different for jeep wrangler models. 

It is recommended that you take your wrangler to a service center for pads and rotors replacement but this is something you can do yourself. Before undertaking pad and rotor replacement on your wrangler there are a few factors that you should be aware of. They include the following 

  • The reason as to why you are replacing the pads and rotors. 
  • Usage, material, and Price of pads and rotors. 
  • The correct procedure for replacing the pads and rotors. 

Reason for changing the pads and rotors 

There are a few observations you should note when braking to consider changing the pads and rotors on your wrangler. Some of these observations require immediate attention and it is dangerous to drive your wrangler when you notice in-efficiency in your braking system as this might lead to accidents.

Though front pads and rotors tend to wear out quicker than rear rotors ad pads it’s better to replace them all at once for efficient braking capabilities. 

Brake pads wear out quickly than rotors and need to be replaced more frequently than rotors. Here are some signs that your brake pads and rotors are wearing out. 

Vibration of braking pads 

This is a sign that parts of the rotor are uneven. This means that some parts are thinner instead of the whole rotor being uniformly round. Rust and dirt on some parts of the rotor may cause this.

Another cause of this is instant braking which puts pressure on some parts of the rotor. Uneven rotors also cause the brake pads to wear out quicker due to excessive friction.  

The brake indicator light comes on 

The brake indicator light on your wrangler is there to alert you that there is something wrong with your braking system it can be that there is something wrong with your braking oil or that the rotor and brake pads are not in good working condition.

Brake pads and rotors should be immediately replaced when the brake light comes on. If the pads and rotors do not have issues perform a maintenance check on all components of the braking system.  

Sharp squeaking sound when braking 

This is mainly caused by worn-out pads. Once your pads are worn out, you’ll start hearing squeaking sounds when braking due to excessive friction between the worn-out pads and rotors.

It’s recommended that you change your braking pads immediately when you hear a squeaking sound when barking as worn-out pads cause rapid wearing out of the brake rotors.

change brake pads and rotors on jeep wrangler

If you continue using the worn-out brake pads, you’ll incur more costs when replacing both the brake pads and rotors due to the excessive damage caused by the worn-out pads. 

Grinding sound when braking 

Jeep wrangler brake pads have metal wear indicators that are built-in that make a grinding noise to alert you that you need to replace your pads immediately.

If you leave your brake pads after hearing that grinding sound you are subjecting your rotors to damage and you will incur more costs when replacing the pads and rotors.

Delay in stopping when braking 

If you notice that your wrangler takes longer than usual to stop when braking. Then there is an issue with your braking system.

Thoroughly check all the braking components and if you find any issues with the brake pads or rotors. you need to replace what is not in good working conditions immediately as inefficient braking can cause accidents especially braking while driving at highway speeds.

Thinning brake pads  

It is recommended to check your brake pads once in a while especially when driving in moist weather conditions as this can cause rapid thinning of the brake pads.

To check if your brake pads are thinning, look through the spokes of your wheels and if the brake pads are less than a ¼ of an inch thick, then you need to replace them with new brake pads. 

Can I use new pads with old rotors or new rotors with old brake pads? 

Yes. These do not need to be uniformly replaced as in most cases one wears out quicker than the other. But if both are not in good working condition you need to replace them both as a slight defect in one of the two can lead to the other getting worn out quickly.  

Usage, material, and Price of pads and rotors

Stock jeep wrangler pads and rotors are good but you might want to upgrade your braking system by getting aftermarket brake pads and rotors which might be better as compared to the stock Wrangler rotors and pads.

Aftermarket rotors and pads are usually more expensive than stock jeep wrangler brakes but they provide better braking performance and are more durable.

Power stop brakes are among the best-preferred brakes by wrangler owners and they are also recommended by most wrangler owners.

For example, the Power Stop K2798 brake set (brake pad and rotors) are very good brakes and highly rated and recommended by Jeep Wrangler JK owners who have experience with the brake set.

change brake pads and rotors on jeep wrangler

You can find Power stop brakes on amazon and other online but you have to configure your wrangler model and other details to check the compatibility of the brake set to your vehicle.  

The correct procedure for replacing brake pads and rotors. There are different procedures for replacing brake pads, rotors, and both brake pads and rotors depending on what you need to replace on your wrangler.

If you are a handy person, you can do this all by yourself using the necessary equipment but if you do not have any experience, you can take your wrangler to a certified automotive technician who will do the work for you and also teach you how to do it while at it so that you save some cash next time when you need a brake pad and rotor replacement.

Equipment Required for changing pads and rotors

Below shown equipment are listed for safety and efficiency reasons. Make sure you do the work yourself with utmost care and the right type of equipment.

Replacing brake pads in jeep wrangler

  1. Remove the wheel – loosen the nuts on the wheels and jack up your wrangler. Place a jack stand under the wrangler’s frame and lower the jack that the vehicle frame rests on the jack stand then fully remove the nuts and the wheel respectively.
  1. Remove the slider pins – Find the slider pins that hold the brake caliper in place and loosen them and then pull them out though it is only necessary to remove the lower pin. 
  1. Push the brake caliper up If you have removed the lower pin then you can push one half of the brake caliper up to expose the brake pads. You do not have to worry about the hydraulic fluid line as it will flex. If you find that you need to disconnect the hydraulic like seek professional help. 
  1. Slide-out the old brake pads – Now that the brake pads are exposed and the retaining clips loosely hold them, slide them out. 
  1. Replacing the retaining clips – New brake pads come with new retaining clips which snap in place onto the caliper and there are right-handed and left-handed so make sure to use the correct brake pads for each side.  
  1. Slide in the new brake pads – New brake pads often come with a small packet of graphite that you apply to the new brake pads to prevent the brake pads from squeaking. Slide in the new brake pads into place. 
  1. Retract the pistons – You need to retract the pistons to fit the new brake pads. 
  1. Re-position the caliper and re-install the slider bolts- The caliper should slip over the pads easily and if it does not do so then it shows that you did not retract the pistons completely. After re-positioning the caliper re-install the slider bolt and tighten it. 
change brake pads and rotors on jeep wrangler

Do the same for all sides that need brake pad replacement and after that test drives your wrangler in a safe driving space to check whether there are any issues when braking.  

Replacing rotors in jeep wrangler

  1. Loosen the wheel nuts and jack up your wrangler then place a jack stand under the vehicle frame. Lower your wrangler and let the body frame rest on the jack stand.
  1. Press the brake pedal a couple of times to release residual pressure. Completely remove the wheel nuts thus also allowing you to remove the wheel. 
  1. Unbolt the brake caliper slide pins thus removing the entire caliper. Find a point to which you can tie the caliper to avoid removing the hydraulic fluid line using a heavy wire or a strong cord. 
  1. Take off the brake rotor from the wheel studs. Rotors are usually hard to remove and you’ll need a hammer to do this. Tap the top and the bottom side of the rotor slowly while spraying lubricant or D-4D on the wheel struts to ease the process of removing the rotors.  
  1. Once the old rotor is out compare it with the new rotor to ensure that diameter and hole positions are similar then slide the new rotor into place. 
  1. You’ll need to compress the piston for the caliper to slide back onto the rotor. This is usually done by using a C-clamp. This will ensure that the piston recesses into the cylinder evenly. 
  1. Slide the caliper back on the rotor and put a removable thread locker which ensures that the bolts stay locked even with vibrations. 
  1. Re-install the caliper slider bolts and tighten them then put the wheel back on. 

Repeat the process for all wheels that require rotor replacement and test drive your wrangler in a safe driving environment. 

How to Replacing both rotors and brake pads on jeep wrangler?

  1. Loosen the wheel nuts and jack up your wrangler then place a jack stand under the vehicle frame. Lower your wrangler and let the body frame rest on the jack stand.
  1. Press the brake pedal a couple of times to release residual pressure. Completely remove the wheel nuts thus also allowing you to remove the wheel. 
  1. You’ll need to remove the entire brake caliper to detach it from the rotor and replace the pads separately. Do not remove the brake caliper entirely, instead tie it to a point on your wrangler so as not to detach the hydraulic fluid line.
  1. Take off the old rotor and ensure that it matches in size with the new one and that all holes are drilled into similar positions as the old one then slide in the new rotor.
  1. You’ll need to retract the piston to fit in the new brake pads and also the rotor.
  1. Mount back the caliper onto the new motor and re-install the caliper slider bolts and tighten them. 
  1. Put the wheel back on and lower your wrangler.

Repeat this process for all wheels that require both brake pad and rotor replacement and test drive your wrangler in a safe driving environment. 

Conclusion 

Once you notice your brake pads and rotors, you should replace them immediately as driving a vehicle as heavy as a jeep wrangler without a proper braking system can lead to accidents some of these accidents being fatal.

If you didn’t notice earlier and noticed while driving, slowly drive your Wrangler off the road and park it then call a tow truck to tow it to a service station or at home depending on whether you can do the brake and rotor replacement by yourself.

If you have the technical skills to do brake and rotor replacement by yourself then you should go ahead and do it because you will save a lot on labor and other miscellaneous expenses.