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Picture of Replace Front Brake Disks and Pads on a Citroen C3
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Intro

Checking and replacing brake pads and disks is useful skill to have if you enjoy car maintenance, even if you decide not to do the replacement yourself it's handy to be able to spot an issue before it has an impact on your ability to stop.

Checking the brakes

If your turn your wheels to full lock you should be able to get a fairly good view of the inside of one of your wheels. The things you are looking for are excessive wear to the pads and pitting to the disks.

Excessive wear:

Bit subjective but most pads start out at >10mm thick so if you look to have less than 5 mm of pad then it's worth thinking about how long it's been since they were replaced.

Surface pitting:

Surface pitting is little rusty spots bellow the surface of your disks. If a disk has a full circle of rust where the pads should be making contact then there is no question about replacement time, your braking is being affected. If not then the AA website says this:

"This used to be a reason for MOT test failure but data available following the introduction of the computerised MOT showed that too many cars were failing the test on 'brake discs pitted' even though this was not sufficient to weaken the disc."

This is means there's no standard amount of pitting for an MOT pass or fail.

Tools:

  • Means to lift car
  • 17mm socket to remove the wheels
  • Star (or 'T') socket for caliper bolts
  • Axle stand (extra to any used for supporting the car)
    • I use some like these : Amazon link You can get them much cheaper, for me it's the kind of thing I'm likely to buy only once in a lifetime... :)


Materials:

There are a couple of differences in the C3s with things like the breaks being either Bosch or Lucas, so that even with your registration you are guaranteed to get the correct parts from a spare shop. I try and take some photos and ask to look at both types, most of the time you can spot which you have. I do try and keep the box with the part number but these jobs are done so rarely it's often lost by the time I need it again. This is for the Bosch version but the method will be similar for the Lucas set up.

  • New disks
  • New pads
  • New brake fluid
  • WD40

Step 1: Before We Begin...

Picture of Before We Begin...

CAUTION: This will involve jacking your car up off the ground so that the wheel can be removed. If you've not done this before grab someone who has! Also many videos can be found on Google and YouTube on how to do this safely. Five minutes watching how others do it successfully you save you a lot of hassle. I made a few of my own notes here: C3 drum brake replacement

  • Prepare your work area
  • Sort out tools
  • Double check the car is chocked and hand brake is on
  • I often loosen the wheel bolts while it's on the ground to make life easier
  • Lift car
  • Remove the wheel - 17mm socket
ddt3111 year ago

How did you pushed te cylinder in, to fit the new thicker pads and thicker disc?

cbm104 (author)  ddt3111 year ago

Hi, I used a pair of pump pliers to carfuly open them up a bit... I'll add that to the instructions :)