DIY Replacing Rear Brake Pads on an Acura
Replacing the rear brake pads on your Acura vehicle requires some specialty brake tools and a little mechanical know-how. It’s a great way to educate yourself in the braking system for the vehicle, as well as saving yourself a bunch of money on labor charges that dealerships and repair stations will tack onto your repair bill. Brake pad sets are fairly inexpensive and the money you’ll save on labor can be invested buying the tools you’ll need to do the job.
Remove half the brake fluid from the master cylinder. Use a turkey baster or a hand pump to do this, but be careful not to get the fluid on the paint of the Acura. Brake fluid is highly toxic and will damage paint.
Block one or both of the front wheels and make sure the parking brake is not applied. The rear calipers on Acuras integrate the parking brake system, so if it’s applied, you will not be able to get the calipers off of the pads and rotors.
Crack the lug nuts loose with a tire iron or suitable tool prior to lifting the Acura. A quarter turn is all that’s necessary. Lift the rear of the Acura on a flat and hard surface and then support the vehicle on jack stands. Never use a jack as a support. Finish removing the lug nuts and then remove the wheels. Set the wheels out of the way so they do not interfere with your work area.
Replacing the Pads
If applicable, remove the dust shield and then locate the two caliper guide bolts on the inside of the rear calipers. Perform the repair on one side at a time, so you can use the other as reference if necessary. Remove these bolts from the caliper using a ratchet and socket or a box-end wrench. You don’t have to remove the parking brake cable if you’re just replacing the brake pads. Next, pry the caliper off of the pads and rotor. Supporting the caliper to the rear suspension coil spring with a bungee cord or hook will prevent any damage from occurring to the rubber brake hose attached to it.
Use a caliper reset tool to screw the piston in on the rear caliper. These tools can be rented as complete kits at most auto parts stores. They’re also quite affordable to purchase. There are also even cheaper tools, like cubes that can be used in conjunction with a ratchet and extension.
The rear calipers on Acuras feature two notches in the solid piston opposite one another. Find the correct adapter fitting on the reset tool that matches up to the notches and then use the clamp to screw the piston in clockwise until it bottoms out in the bore of the piston.
Remove the old pads, shims and retaining spring and then clean off all the pad-to-caliper and caliper anchor contact points. Use a wire brush or something abrasive to do this. This will get rid of all the rust and corrosion on the hardware clips and caliper. Before installing the new pads, apply the shims if required. Lubricate the contact surfaces of the cleaned hardware and caliper. All sets of brake pads feature a small tube of lubricant, or you can purchase a higher quality lubricant inexpensively.
Insert the new pads onto the lubricated hardware and then replace the caliper and caliper bolts.
Finishing the Job
Once the Acura brake pads have been replaced, put the wheels and lug nuts back on. You won’t be able to torque the lug nuts with the rear axle raised, so tighten the lug nuts snugly to hold the wheels secure. Raise the Acura to remove the jack stands and then slowly lower the vehicle back to the ground. At this point, you can torque the rear lug nuts with a torque wrench and a socket. Most all Acuras require about 80 foot pounds of torque for the lug nuts.
Make sure the cover to the master cylinder is in place, then pump the foot brake pedal and apply the parking brake and then release it several times until the brake pedal feels firm. This will extend the pistons of the rear calipers outward so the pads will contact the rotors. Failure to perform this step will result in rear brake failure and a low brake pedal. Once the brake pedal is firm, recheck the master cylinder fluid and add new brake fluid to it (to the full mark), if necessary.