Pads Intro & Chalk Talk
Brake Pad FAQ
Tools / Parts
Page 1: Removal
Page 2: Re-Installation
All OEM BMW Parts
Brake Pads (Front)
The brake pads have a minimum thickness rating that is listed in the Bentley manual for your vehicle. The thickness of the pad can be measured with a pair of calipers once the wheel has been removed.
Not neccesarily. In any vehicle approximately 70% of the braking is absorbed by the front brakes due to weight transfer of the vehicle under stopping conditions. As a result the front pads wear out more quickly than the rears. You should check the thickness of rear pads in order to ascertain whether or not they need replacement.
In the E36 M3 (and other E36 models, so far as I know) there is a ceramic sensor mounted in the brake pad (front left, and right rear only). When the pad gets then enough for this sensor to be exposed to the rotor, a short is created and the dash light illuminates. That said, waiting for this light to illuminate prior to replacing your pads is probably not the best idea (but not unsafe) - there is very little pad material left once the light illuminates. Pad thickness does not effect braking performance (the caliper is self-adjusting) until the pad is completely gone, however!
Not neccesarily. If the rotor is badly scored it will adversely effect the new pads once they are installed so you may consider this procedure at the same time you are doing pads. That said, the rotor has its own rating for minimum thickness - also listed in the Bentley manual for your car.
No! Replacing pads does not require you to bleed the brakes. The hydraulic system is not accessed at any time during this procedure (as it would be to replace the brake lines, for example). You shouldn't even need to release the brake bleeder valve (which might risk requiring you to bleed) to perform this procedure.
Absolutely! Replacing the pads on your E36 sedan is straightforward, does not require special tools and represents a significant savings over having the dealer perform this same procedure (both from a parts and labor perspective). See cost analysis.Step 1.