How to I replace the brakes on a Dodge Neon?

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Answered by: Edward, An Expert in the DIY Repairs Category
If you have any doubt about your mechanical abilities, I recommend leaving brakes to a professional. Improper brake repair can lead to a life or death situation! Repairing the brakes on a Dodge Neon is just like any other model of car with four wheel disk brakes. There are eight brake pads, one inner pad and one outer pad for each wheel. Other than the eight brake pads, a car with four wheel disk brakes also consists of a number of other intricate parts that make the brakes function correctly.

The first thing to do when replacing the front brakes on a Dodge Neon is, with the car still on the ground, loosen all of the lug nuts on the front wheels (DO NOT REMOVE THEM COMPLETELY). Place the floor jack under the fender on one side of the car. Be sure to locate the jack directly below the notch on the fender where the oem jack would normally go and lift the car. Place a jack stand beneath the lower control arm. Repeat the last step on the other side of the car.

Once the car is roughly six inches off of the ground, spin the lug nuts off the rest of the way and remove the wheels. I recommend fixing one side at a time. That way, if you forget how to put anything back together, you can use the other side as a guide. Now remove the two mounting bolts from the brake caliper, one on the top and one on the bottom. Once the two mounting bolts are removed lift the caliper off one end at a time. Don't let the caliper fall or the rubber line may break. With a flat head screwdriver gently pry both pads from the caliper.

Using a c-clamp, completely compress the piston. Now replace the pads with new ones and put the caliper back onto the spindle. Before replacing the bolts they must be coated with anti- seize. This is the gray paste included with the pads, also lightly coat the back of the pads to prevent squeaking. Replace both bolts and tighten securely. Repeat all of the previous steps on the opposite side of the car. Once the vehicle is completely reassembled, lower it to the ground. With the vehicle in park, start it and pump the brake pedal repeatedly until it no longer depresses all the way to the floor.

Rear brakes on a car, seldom need to be replaced, that's where a lot of unscrupulous mechanics will take advantage of their customers. If by chance they do need replacing, it's the same as doing the front brakes with one exception. After removing the caliper mounting bolts, the parking brake cable must be removed. When reassembling the caliper, the parking brake must be re-calibrated by screwing in the piston until it's flush with caliper body. When the brake pedal is pumped, per the last step in the previous paragraph, this will reset the parking brake to the proper position. As always test the brakes at low speed before driving the car normally.

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