How to Change Rotors on a Nissan Xterra


The Nissan Xterra is manufactured with hydraulically actuated disk brakes, which use a caliper, pads, and rotor to stop the truck using friction. The primary friction surface is the spinning rotor, which can wear or become damaged. Warped rotors can cause reduced braking power, and possibly loss of control at high speeds. Replacement can take the average backyard mechanic about 30 minutes per brake.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Lug wrench
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stand
  • Screwdrivers
  • Lift the Xterra at the wheel by placing the floor jack on a frame rail and pumping the lever until the wheel is off the ground; turn the lug nuts counterclockwise and the wheel will come off. Store the wheel away from the work area. Place a jack stand near the jack's head on the same frame rail for support. Unplug the ABS sensor from the caliper wiring harness adapter socket.

  • Remove the caliper by turning the twin rear mount bolts in a counterclockwise direction; the caliper will slide free of the rotor without these bolts in place. Watch for the pads, which can fall out of the caliper pistons once the unit is removed. Store the caliper on the control arm of the truck, or tie it to the control arm. Do not let the caliper dangle as the brake lines can become damaged.

  • Remove the rotor by turning the spindle nut counterclockwise, then pulling the rotor free of the hub. Resurface or replace the rotor, then position it back over the hub and secure the spindle nut clockwise.

  • Replace the pads on the caliper pistons, then slide the caliper over the new rotor. Secure the caliper by turning the mount bolts clockwise.

  • Replace the wheel, then turn all lug nuts in a clockwise direction, with an alternating pattern. Lower the truck by removing the jack stand and turning the pressure screw on the floor jack counterclockwise.

Tips & Warnings

  • Change rotors in pairs.
  • Change the pads when changing the rotors, so they will "mate" properly.
  • Use extreme caution while working underneath a lifted truck.

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  • Photo Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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