Are the brakes of your vehicle not releasing fully? Is your vehicle moving in a false direction while applying the brake? Being a vehicle owner, these will ruin the peace of your mind. These are the signs of the brake caliper compression problem. However, C clamps are there for the rescue.
How Do You Change Brake Pads With C Clamp?
You can use an old brake pad in the front of the piston. It will help to push the piston evenly. Start pushing the piston backward with the force applying with the C clamp. After a certain time when your piston will be perfectly collapsed, release the clamp and reinstall the pads.
There are some things you need to keep in mind that are readjusting the cylinder, adjusting the cylinder and the brakes over the rotor, and removing the cap of the brake fluid reservoir to prevent the pressure of the fluid while compressing the caliper.
What Size C-Clamp for Brakes
Imagine getting an 8-inch C clamp and not being able to place the fixed jaw in the back of the piston properly as it’s too big, frustrating right? The situation can be vice versa. C clamps are available in different sizes. You can’t just get one and start changing your brake pad.
The size of the C clamp matters as if it doesn’t fit into your piston properly, the main purpose won’t be served. Thus, get a C clamp that’s opening will perfectly support your piston.
Usually, a 4-inch C clamp is regarded as ideal for brake pad changing. But certainly, it depends on your vehicle and its model. According to most of the customers, they often use a 6-inch C clamp in their vehicle.
Besides, 8-inch is also used for changing the brake caliper when the piston covers a large area or it’s utterly displaced and you have to apply a large amount of force to get it in place. But this size is not generally suggested.
Brake Caliper Clamp Tool
Apart from the C clamp that we are talking about, there’s a whole kit available in the market for repairing and changing the brake caliper. Besides, there are many more specifications available to collapse the piston.
You can easily find the tools in Amazon or any other internet-based enterprise. You can also purchase them directly from a store. There are OEMTOOLS disc brake pad spreaders, Lang Tools caliper press, Powerbuilt ratcheting brake caliper piston spreader press tool, and so on. But the brake caliper wind back tool is one of the most popular.
This toolbox is manufactured by various companies. However, generally, this kit contains many adapters and left and right-handed thrust bolt assemblies. You can change the brake pads easily with this kit. But if you’re totally unaware of using these, it would be better to seek a helping hand.
How to Change Brake Caliper Using the Kit
You may wonder how the process actually works with the kit. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Preparation
First, take a brake cleaner and clean brake caliper. This is very important to prevent a leaking caliper. Now find the adapter that fits on your caliper perfectly. Place the adapter in front of the thrust bolt assembly. Insert the support tool provided by the kit in the back of the thrust bolt.
Step 2: Compress the piston
Now adjust the thrust bolt assembly. When it locks with the brake caliper start to rotate the collar. You have to put some pressure while rotating as it’s not so easy. When your piston is correctly placed, slide out the tool.
Step 3: Press the brake pedals
There’s an important thing you have to follow that is, when you’ll be done with the compressing, press the brake pedals a few times. This will ensure the contact of the piston with the brake caliper as there’s a possibility that you may have compressed the piston too much.
C-Clamp for Brakes Harbor Freight
Harbor Freight is one of the most renowned tools and equipment retailers. It has been providing high-quality tools for years. You will find a variety of C clamps there starting from 1 inch to 8 inches. There are normal C clamps, quick release C clamps, deep throat C clamps available to serve your needs.
As mentioned before, when it comes to changing brake pads, 4-inch and 6-inch C-clamps are widely used. You’ll get both from Harbor Freights. The 6-inch industrial C clamps of Harbor Freight have a cast iron body with a manufactured steel screw. The product is very rigid and durable.
You can get a 4-inch industrial C clamp as well but there’s the quick release one which is better for fast adjustments. This is also made of cast iron. It offers a 4.5-inch jaw opening and a sliding T handle. A push button is included to help in quick release. These Harbor Freight C clamps come with a lifetime warranty.
How to Compress Brake Caliper Without C-Clamp
Purchasing a C-clamp is always recommendable as it’s cheap and helps you at work. However, if you don’t want to choose that path, there are other paths open for you. You can compress your brake caliper without a C-clamp as well and the steps are given below.
Step 1: Remove the pads
To start the compressing process, first, you have to remove the brake pads. Keep the lug nuts on the rotor tight. After discarding the pads, screw the piston back in place.
Step 2: Press the piston
You can use various objects in this step. You can use a regular screwdriver or a tire iron or a crowbar as well. No matter what you choose, insert the object in the brake pad slot. Apply leverage on the outside. It will compress the piston enough to get to the other side applying the same prying technique.
After compressing a little, unscrew the piston and put back the pads. Now insert the prying element just like before and pressurize the other side of the rotor. You can see through the slot that there will be space in between the rotor and the piston.
Put the head of the prying object in there and pry it open a little bit at a time. Once it’s in all the way put more pressure to completely collapse the piston.
Your piston is back in place. Remember to take off the bleeder valve before getting into work.
Q: What will I do if my piston is stuck and can’t compress with a clamp?
Ans: The solution is not as hard as the question sounds. Mostly it happens because of uneven pressure. If you make the mistake there’s no need to panic. Just take two C clamps, place them reversely and get them tight. Turn the handles at the same time. This will solve the problem with relative ease.
Q: Can I change the brake pads without discarding the caliper?
Ans: Yes, you can. Usually, you should not have to discard the brake calipers to replace the pads. You can use the clamp or the screwdriver to push back the piston with the caliper on.
Q: How often should I check on brake pads?
Ans: You should check the brake pads every six months. It’s better to check on them more frequently such as with every oil change. It will keep you safe from unwanted incidents.
We always find the cheapest way to replace brake pads and using C-clamp to replace the brake pad is one of those. Applying grease onto the caliper can help you more.
By the time you are probably confident about the answer to the covered question as we tried to uphold each basic information. You can check Akebono brakes reviews and go on a test drive to see if everything feels alright. Otherwise, look for an experienced mechanic.