Glitch in the Matrix

When one of your adventuring vehicles has problems, you have several options. In the interest of saving money for an upcoming Seattle/Portland trip, Catherine and I opted for the do-it-yourself discbrake/rotor repair.

We bought the parts, and with the right Autozone tool rentals, got the job done without too much trouble. To give a quick run down:


Catherine loosens the tires.


Jack the car up. Chock the wheels. Put it in neutral. Read the manual for this one since I wasn’t familiar with Catherine’s car.

photo 1

Me unbolting the caliper after removing a tire. Remove the worn pads. If the rotor shows signs of improper wear (It shouldn’t), replace it.

photo 5

Compress the brake caliper. For rear brake calipers that require a twist to compress, rent the tool from Autozone. You did rent it right?


photo 2

Compressing the front caliper with a C clamp


photo 3

Unusual wear from only the driver’s side rear pads, which tore up the rotor.


To replace the rotor, unbolt the caliper bracket, and then use a bolt from the caliper screwed into the rotor to pop it off the axle. Then seat the new (cleaned) rotor, and re-assemble. Before you replace rotors, make sure to clean the new ones.

photo 4

Secure new pads into the bracket, and apply sound dampener (the orange glue). Re-attach the caliper, and then put the wheel back on, tightening the bolts evenly to 100 foot lbs.

The first try it took us a second trip to Autozone to acquire the brake tool, and we ran out of time. Our second attempt, while doing the rear wheels, went incredibly smoothly, especially considering there is no Haynes manual for her car. Working with someone else on a job like this helps as well.

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