How to Change Rear Brake Pads With An Electric Parking Brake

Electric parking brakes are becoming more and more common in vehicles today. Many newer models across brands like Toyota, Honda, Ford, etc. now come equipped with an electric parking brake system.

While this offers convenience through just a push of a button, it can cause some trouble when you need to change your rear brake pads. This is because the electric parking brake actuators apply force on the caliper pistons, so you need to disable them first before compressing the pistons.

Don’t worry, with some preparation and by following the steps below, you’ll be able to smoothly change the rear brake pads in your vehicle with an electric parking brake.

What You’ll Need

  • Jack and jack stands
  • Wheel chocks
  • Lug wrench
  • Brake caliper tool
  • Brake cleaner
  • Brake lubricant
  • New brake pads
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Park on level ground and chock the wheels

Park your vehicle on a flat, level, and hard surface. Engage the parking brake and place chocks in front of and behind both front wheels.

2. Jack up the rear and support on stands

Using the jack, lift up the rear of the vehicle and place jack stands securely underneath the frame rails.

3. Remove the rear wheels

With the lug wrench, loosen each lug nut by turning counterclockwise. Once all lug nuts are loosened, remove them fully and take off the rear wheels.

4. Access the service mode

This will disable the electric parking brake actuators. Check your owner’s manual for the specific procedure. Generally it involves turning on the ignition, pressing the brake pedal, and holding down a series of buttons.

5. Compress the caliper piston

Insert the brake caliper tool and twist it clockwise to compress the piston enough to loosen the brake pads. Repeat on the other side caliper.

6. Remove brake pads

The old pads should now slide right off the caliper bracket. If any are stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry them loose.

7. Clean components

Use brake cleaner spray and rags to remove any debris, dirt, or brake dust from the caliper bracket, caliper, and rotor.

8. Install new brake pads

Slide the new pads into place on the caliper bracket with the friction material facing the rotor. Apply brake lubricant to the pad contact points where they touch the bracket.

9. Compress pistons

Turn the brake caliper tool clockwise again to press the pistons back into their bores so that they are flush with the caliper.

10. Reinstall the wheels

Place the rear wheels back on the vehicle and hand tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross star pattern. Then fully tighten with the lug wrench.

11. Lower vehicle

With wheels secured, use the jack to lower the vehicle back to the ground. Remove the jack stands and chocks.

12. Exit service mode

Check your owner’s manual and follow the procedure to reactivate the electric parking brake system. Typically you turn the ignition on and press the brake pedal.

You’re all done! Those are the essential steps for changing rear brake pads on a vehicle with an electric parking brake. Be sure to test braking performance before driving.


How often should I change the rear brake pads?

Inspect brake pads during every oil change. Generally, they will need replacement every 30,000-70,000 miles depending on driving habits.

What tools do I need to change rear brake pads?

Basic tools like a jack, jack stands, lug wrench, brake caliper tool, brake cleaner, lubricant, and rags. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for any specific tools.

Should I replace rotors with brake pads?

Rotors should be measured whenever changing pads. If below specifications, they should be resurfaced or replaced to ensure proper braking function.

How do I know when rear brake pads need changing?

Signs include squeaking/squealing when braking, low brake pad material, brake pedal pulsation, and illuminated warning light on dash.

Is it safe to drive with worn brake pads?

No, worn pads can severely reduce braking ability. They should be replaced immediately when showing signs of thin wear to avoid dangerous conditions.

Changing rear brake pads on a vehicle with an electric parking brake takes a few extra steps, but following the proper procedure will allow you to get the job done safely. Maintaining your brakes is vital for road safety, so inspect them regularly and replace pads when needed.

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