How to Change the Brakes on a Mazda 3


There is probably no vehicle feature more important than the braking system. Proper maintenance of the brakes, including the proper level of braking fluid and the regular replacement of brake pads, is essential in ensuring the function of the brakes. Mazda's anti-lock braking system in their Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks, is designed to exceed the strictest guidelines for safety set by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To maintain that level of performance, have your brakes changed by a professional mechanic or do it yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Tire iron
  • Tire blocks
  • 17 millimeter socket
  • Ratchet
  • Lifting jack
  • Jack stands
  • C-clamp or vise-grip pliers
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Lubricant (WD-40 or chain lubricant)
  • Begin to remove the lug nuts on the wheels with the socket side of the tire iron. Do not take the lug nuts completely off just yet.

  • Place the lifting jack beneath the frame of the Mazda, between the wheels. Lift the vehicle, place jack stands beneath the frame and lower the Mazda onto the stands. One jack stand will hold the vehicle, but two stands will ensure a more secure platform for your work.

  • Remove the lug nuts and the two wheels on the lifted side.

  • Remove the caliper bolts from both brakes. The bolts are located on the outside of the caliper facing away from you and they travel through to the side of the caliper closest to you. Use a 17 millimeter socket and ratchet to unscrew the bolts from the side closet to the frame of the Mazda 3.

  • Pull the calipers from the rotors. Use an adjustable wrench to open the brake fluid bleed valve found near the upper caliper bolt. Turn the valve two full turns to open it. Place drip pans below the brakes to catch the brake fluid from the valves.

  • Slide the brake pads from the caliper sides. The pads are held onto the calipers by thin metal clips. If the brakes are rusted, apply chain lubricant or WD-40 to loosen the grip of the rust. If the lubricant fails to adequately free the clips, use a flat screwdriver to pry the clips from the caliper.

  • Open the caliper pistons by forcing them flat against the caliper sides. Use a C-clamp or vise-grip pliers. While you open the pistons, the brake fluid that is in the caliper will be pushed out of the bleed valve and into the drip pans.

  • Slide the new pads onto the brakes calipers.

  • Place the calipers around the rotors and replace the bolts. Close the bleed valve with the adjustable wrench.

  • Put the wheels back onto the lug nut bolts. Screw on the lug nuts.

  • Remove the jack stands and lower the Mazda to the ground.

  • Press the brake pedal to restore brake fluid to the caliper.

Tips & Warnings

  • After changing the brake pads on one side, repeat the steps to change the brakes on the opposite side of the vehicle.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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