Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Staunton, VA
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Replaced brake pads and rotors front and rear
Just thought I would post a few comments on the recent brake pad and rotor replacement (front and rear) on my 2004 Mazda 6s. I've got 195,000 miles on the car and I replaced just the front pads at one point (sorry don't have the mileage handy). Car failed inspection for front rotor width and rear pads and of course the shop wanted some outrageous fortune to replace them. Laughable as I don't know what parts they were quoting but the costs were more than the dealer list prices.
The sticky here was very helpful for replacing the rotors and I didn't have too much of a problem with them. Definitely buy yourself an impact screwdriver as it worked great on the screws holding the rotors on (front and back). Rear rotors needed a little more convincing with my big sledge hammer to get loose than the front but neither were too bad.
Pads are straight forward to replace in the front and I had already done them once. The sticky was helpful for the steps required for disconnecting the emergency brake cable. The first rear piston screwed back in using a pair of needlenose pliers. A little tough to start but then it loosened up and screwed in easily. On the second rear piston, I ended up breaking one of the arms on the needlenose pliers. Back here to the forum for more searching and found someone referenced using a 3/4" open-ended wrench. Using that with another as a lever in the box-end, I was able to get it turned back in but it was definitely stiffer than the driver's side. I'm going to go ahead and buy one of the cubes on Amazon and see how that works the next time (although I probably won't have to do it again on this car given that I got 7 years and almost 200,000 miles from the original rear pads). Oh both pistons screw in clockwise which was something I didn't see mentioned and is helpful to know when you have one that's stuck and you are unsure why.
The only other thing I haven't seen mentioned much are the shims. There are 2 for each pad. The first front brake pads I installed I had to reuse both shims. This set came with the inner one already attached so I just had to reuse the outer shiny (stainless?) one. The rear pads did not come with any shims so I had to reuse both.