How Long Does It Take To Replace Brakes And Rotors?

Two crucial parts of an automobile's braking system are the brake pads and the rotors. These parts will naturally wear out, necessitating replacement. In this post, we have researched how long it takes to replace brake pads and rotors. Here's what we learned. 

A skilled mechanic can complete an entire brake and rotor replacement in 30 minutes to an hour. However, if you are working on a car with specific braking system problems and replacing the old, rusted, and corroded brakes and rotor, you may need to add more time to this process.

Keep reading to learn more about how long it takes to replace brakes and rotors. Along with the proper replacement method, we will also discuss the warning signs that your brakes and rotors need to be replaced. Read on!

How Long Does It Take To Replace Brakes And Rotors?

Brake pad replacement in car service.

For various reasons, it is impossible to accurately predict how long it will take to replace your car's rotors and brake pads. One of these factors is your level of experience, which will greatly impact how skilled you are at fixing cars.

Assuming no complications, a skilled mechanic may often do brake pad replacement work in 30 minutes to an hour. If DIY, the task will depend on your skill level. Just make sure not to rush the process, as brakes are an essential part of your vehicle.

It is estimated that most people spend between 1-8 hours fixing their brake system.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms That Your Brakes And Rotors Need To Be Replaced? 

White use car is repair disc break front wheel in garage vehicle service shop.- How Long Does It Take To Replace Brakes And Rotors?

Keep an eye out for the signs below to know when your brakes and rotors need to be replaced.


The surface of the rotors may crack after prolonged exposure to heat. Although there are many distinct kinds of cracks, they are all caused by either compression or expansion.

Small hairline cracks may appear concerning, but repairing can often treat these. These cracks are most frequently visible when brakes are used in extreme heat, such as when driving downhill for a long time.

Close up view of a damaged car brake pad and rusty spoiled rotor under sun shine

It will only be necessary to replace the rotor immediately if a crack develops and goes to the edge. 

Loud Braking Noises

You'll frequently hear squealing or screeching as brake pads begin to wear down. What you are hearing is metal-to-metal grinding.

Additionally, a loud noise occurs when the tolerance between brake parts is compromised by severe corrosion. Dragging of the brakes might also happen. The brakes must be replaced immediately, so you should stop driving your car.

A metal wear sensor is available on modern brake pads. This material grinds on the rotor when the brake pads deteriorate, giving you a warning sound to act. The brake rotors could last longer if old brake pads are immediately replaced.


It's typical to notice a vibration in the brake pedal when the brake pads or rotors are deteriorating. The vibration can sometimes even penetrate the steering wheel when it is particularly intense.

This vibration frequently results from brake pad material that has formed on the rotor's face, causing high spots. Sometimes, it happens when the brake system overheats from constant use. In addition, when the deposits accumulate, you might experience increased pedal feedback.

Damage And Have Grooves

The rotor's surface may develop groves and other damage over time. Debris or worn parts rubbing against the rotor are the cause of this.

The rotor can sustain damage if the metal backing plate from worn brake pads touches it. Additionally, the surface will develop grooves due to corrosion and rust.

Consider giving the rotor another look if you suspect it to be deformed. Brake rotors hardly ever truly warp. Instead, you're focusing on how uneven the surface is.

Takes Longer To Stop

The brake rotor provides the brake pads with a surface to generate friction, slowing or stopping the vehicle. It's necessary to replace your brake rotors if your car takes longer to perform either of these tasks. The brake pads won't produce enough friction to slow the wheels down and save you from colliding with anything since the brake rotors most likely no longer have the iron surfacing that the brake pads grip.

How Do You Replace Brake Pads and Rotors Properly? 

Closeup of car mechanic repairing brake pads

If you know what you're doing and use the proper method, replacing brake pads and rotors is reasonably straightforward. However, when working on a car's brakes, safety should never be compromised; as a result, only use high-quality or original equipment brake pads and rotors when replacing them.

Step 1-Jack Up Your Car And Remove The Tires

To begin, jack up the car on a level area and set jack stands in a secure spot to support it, just as you would for a tire rotation. Whether you are changing the front or rear brakes, attempt to work on only one axle at a time, and place a tire chock in front of and behind the tires that are still on the ground.

Step 2-Remove The Caliper Guide Bolts

Find and remove the caliper guide bolts once you've removed the wheel. Guide pins could be included with some models. Before installing your caliper guide bolts, you must remove the anti-rattle clip from this vehicle.

Step 3-Check For Any Rust

Once the guide bolts or pins have been removed, inspect them for rust and cracks. Both must be replaced if either is present. Even if the pin is lubricated, rust shows the absence of the protective zinc coating and spreads swiftly.

Step 4-Remove The Caliper And The Old Brake Pads

Remove the caliper and hang it up to prevent pressure off the brake line. For a particular type, removing the caliper requires unscrewing a retaining clip. 

Remove the outside pad. You might need a screwdriver if it's clipped on. You can compress the piston using the interior pad since it will remain attached to the caliper.

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Step 5-Remove The Rotors

To remove the rotor, unscrew the mounting bracket and caliper bracket. If you reuse the rotor, mark both the rotor and the hub so you can reinstall it in the same position. A hammer may be required to tap the rotor loose, but only if you're changing it, as doing so risks damage.

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Step 6-Clean The Area And Install The New Rotor

To remove rust from the hub and bolts, so the rotor can seat properly, use a wire brush and a wheel stud brush. Check for rust on the caliper bracket. Replace it if the area where the brake hardware or pads has corroded. Use brake cleaner to clean the caliper bracket.

Use brake cleaner to clean the braking surface of a new or resurfaced rotor before mounting it, but never use brake cleaner on a painted area. Install the replacement rotor, then give it a last brake cleaner wipe down.

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Step 7-Reinstall The Caliper Mounting Bracket And Compress The Caliper Piston

Reinstall the bolts and bracket for the caliper—Lubricate the contact points on the brake pads and hardware first. 

The bleeder valve should be opened by rotating it counterclockwise while you attach your one-person bleeder tool. The piston should be pushed back into the caliper using a C-clamp or piston tool. You must utilize an old pad between the caliper piston and the C-clamp. 

As you compress the caliper piston back into it to create a place for the new brake pads, which will be thicker than the previous ones, the old brake pad will shield the piston from damage. 

Ideally, the caliper piston and housing are flush. Don't push on the piston itself when doing this, and avoid pinching the boot.

Discolored brake fluid and tiny dirt particles will be released during the compression of the caliper piston. Avoid getting brake fluid on painted surfaces because it can ruin the paint. Replace the bleeder valve's tightness. The internal brake pad may now be removed.

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Step 8-Install The New Brake Hardware

All metal-on-metal contact points should be greased, but friction surfaces should be spared. You can now install the brake hardware. 

Clean lube with silicone lubricant, then tighten your caliper guide bolts or pins. The piston should be flush with the caliper, and the pads should be pressed against the rotor.

Ensure that the caliper piston is flush with the caliper housing if the caliper would not fit. Do not force the caliper and pads over the rotor. You can now take out the rotor if it is secured with a lug nut.

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Step 9-Reinstall The Wheels

The wheel should now be flush with the hub as you reinstall it and tighten the lug nuts. Your car should now be lowered while you use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts. Ensure that they are tightened per the manufacturer's instructions. On the other side, repeat these steps.

Step 10-Test The Brakes

Before you go on a trip and after the task is complete, squeeze the brake pedal down and up until pressure returns. It should respond to the replacement brakes in the same way it did before.

Watch this video for more details.


Car mechanic replacing pads for car break, transportation concept.

If you only have a rudimentary understanding of car maintenance, replacing your brakes and rotors is a straightforward procedure. If there are no brake system issues, a skilled mechanic can only finish this work in around 30 minutes to an hour. However, if the mechanic discovers any problems, it will typically take between an hour and eight hours, which is also a suitable amount of time for beginners.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

How Do You Bypass A Brake Light Switch?

Can You Use Engine Brake In Rain, Ice And Snow?

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