How to Change the Brake Pads on a Subaru


Park the Subaru on a flat surface, away from traffic, leaving ample room for you to work on both sides of the vehicle.


Open the hood by pulling the hood release lever under the dashboard on the driver's side of the vehicle. Move to the engine compartment.


Remove the master cylinder cap. The master cylinder contains the Subaru's brake fluid. During the brake pad change you will need to force the caliper pistons open. The process will force brake fluid into the master cylinder reservoir. Remove half of the fluid in the container to prevent an overflow. Use a turkey baster to extract the fluid from the reservoir.


Loosen the lug nuts on each of the wheels you intend to service. Use a lug wrench, tire iron from the Subaru's wheel maintenance kit, or a 17-mm socket and breaker bar.


Lift the Subaru with the jack and place jack stands under the frame.


Remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off.


Remove the bottom of the two caliper pins with a 12-mm socket wrench.


Grab the center of the caliper and rotate the caliper away from the caliper bridge.


Pry the old brake pads from either side of the rotor with a flat screwdriver.


Place the new brake pads into the slots provided by the caliper bracket. Apply brake grease to the backs of each of the pads.


Place the channel lock pliers or vise-grip pliers, over the caliper piston and the back of the caliper. Squeeze the piston into the side of the caliper to make room for the new brake pads.


Swing the caliper back around the caliper bracket and new brake pads. Replace the lower caliper pin and tighten it with a 12-mm socket wrench.


Replace the wheel and screw on the lug nuts by hand.


Lift the Subaru and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle's tires to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron, lug wrench, or socket and breaker bar.


Repeat the process for each additional set of brake pads you need to replace on the Subaru.


Return to the engine. Remove the master cylinder cap and place a funnel into the reservoir. Fill the container with brake fluid. Remove the funnel and secure the master cylinder cap. Close the Subaru's hood.

Subaru has a tradition of making all-wheel drive vehicles, capable of superior traction in adverse weather conditions. The control that makes for the vehicle's sure-footing is a result of complicated traction control and braking systems. Replace the brake pads on your Subaru at the earliest sign of wear to ensure consistent brake performance. The brake pads are fitted with wear indicators; thin metal clips that scrape against the brake rotors when the pads have reached a critical point of wear. The scraping will likely be your first indicator that it is time to swap the worn pads for new ones.