How to Change the Front Brakes on a Tahoe

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There are four wheels with brakes on a Tahoe, but the two in front are the most important, as they do the bulk of the braking of the vehicle. As a result, they wear out quicker and need to be replaced more frequently. Thankfully, GM has made the process fairly easy for even the home installer. In this case, the project vehicle is a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe, but the process is similar for other vehicles as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Tire iron
  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set
  • Metal hook
  • Replacement rotor
  • Replacement brake pads
  • Brake caliper press
  • Lift up the front of the vehicle using the jack and secure it on jack stands. The vehicle must be completely secure on the jack stands before you crawl underneath it. Remove the front wheels using a tire iron and place them to the side, out of the workspace.

  • Unbolt the brake caliper from the steering knuckle at the brake caliper bracket using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Hang the metal hook on a hole in the frame and place the caliper on the hook to support its weight. Pull the rotors off of the wheel hub using your hands and place it to the side.

  • Slide the replacement rotor onto the wheel hub. Put the brake caliper press in the center of the brake caliper and use it to depress the brake caliper piston by pumping the handle. Pull off the old brake pads and clips, install the clips on the new pads and then put the pads in the caliper, clipping them in place.

  • Slide the brake caliper onto the steering knuckle and bolt it into the caliper bracket using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

  • Reinstall the front tires using the tire iron. Raise the vehicle off of the jack stands using the jack and place it back on the ground.

Tips & Warnings

  • You don't always have to replace the rotors every time you do the brakes, but you definitely have to get them turned. If you don't, your brake pads won't have the same amount of grip as they would usually and as a result will wear unevenly. To turn the brakes, do everything up to Step 2, then take the rotors to a local brake shop or parts store and ask them to turn them down using their lathe.
  • Allow the brakes to cool before you work on them. If you don't, you could burn yourself.
  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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