Installing New Brake Rotors and Pads
By Larry Walton
Brakes: Few would dispute their importance on any vehicle, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT shown in this article can really give a braking system a workout. The Grand Cherokee has the capability to do some serious off-roading, which requires solid, precise braking. But more often these machines are pressed into service on the street with daily commute and passenger-hauling duties. The improved engine performance of the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) version puts even more demand on the braking system.
Disc brakes operate much like hand brakes on a bicycle wheel. As the brakes are applied, pads are pushed into both sides of the rotor, which is located between the wheel and the hub or spindle. Because braking is achieved through pad-on-rotor friction, there is no avoiding parts wear. Brake inspections at oil-change intervals are a good idea. Also, inspect brakes with the following conditions:
Brake Noise. Sounds associated with depressing the brake pedal often indicate the need for attention to the braking system. Squeaks, scrapes, rubs, squeals, grinds … There are a number of reasons the brakes can make noise including worn pads, glazed rotor, loose caliper, worn rotor or a rock in the calipers.
Feel. Brake problems often manifest in how the vehicle feels when braking. Surging, shuddering or pulls to one side are indicators that you may have a brake problem.
Response. Diminished braking calls for a check of the system and components. This includes depressing the pedal noticeably further to get results along with longer braking distances to slow or stop the vehicle.
Brake Dust. Because brake pads and rotors are always wearing, a buildup of brake dust on your wheels is normal. In fact, front wheels usually have more dust than rear because the fronts do more of the work. However, if you notice an unusually high amount of brake dust on your wheels and calipers, you know parts are wearing and a brake inspection is warranted.
When inspecting brake components for wear, look for thin pads, glazed rotors, cracked rotors, loose fasteners and leaking brake fluid from lines, pistons or cylinders.
Here’s how we changed the pads and rotors on a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
Step By Step
Removing the wheels allowed access to the rotors and calipers. Notice the buildup of brake dust on the wheels, which is a sure sign of brake wear.
This O-ring keeps dust out of the bearing pack. Our mechanic Derek hooked it to remove it before removing the rotor.
He removed these bolts from the inside to detach the caliper from the vehicle.
He then removed the caliper, which wraps around the rotor.
A bungee cord can be used to hang the caliper to reduce stress on the brake line.