How to Replace the Front Brakes and Rotors on a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo


Jeep released the Grand Cherokee, its first true "luxury" SUV, in 1993. The 2003 Grand Cherokee came in three main trim levels: Laredo, Limited and Overland. The Laredo trim was the entry-level model of Grand Cherokee. It came fitted with a 4.0-liter, in-line six-cylinder engine that produced 195 horsepower. The Laredo model also came standard with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Replacing the front brake pads and the rotors on the 2003 Grand Cherokee Laredo is a relatively easy task for a do-it-yourself mechanic.

Things You'll Need

  • Turkey baster
  • Small container
  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Bungee strap
  • 8-inch C-clamp
  • Side-cutting pliers
  • Torque wrench
  • 1 qt. DOT 3 brake fluid
  • Remove the lid from the master cylinder reservoir and siphon out about half of the fluid from the master cylinder, using a turkey baster. Transfer this fluid to a small container.

  • Loosen the Grand Cherokee's front lug nuts, but don't remove them, using a ratchet and socket. Raise the front of the SUV with a floor jack, and slide jack stands under the frame rails. Lower the Jeep onto the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and pull the front wheels from the vehicle.

  • Remove the two caliper bolts, using a ratchet and socket, and pull the caliper from the brake system; notice the brake pads remain attached to the caliper. Suspend the caliper from a nearby suspension component, using a bungee strap.

  • Pry one side of the outer brake pad inward, using a flat-head screwdriver, to release the button on the pad from the hole in the caliper, and pivot the brake pad downward. Repeat this step for the other side of the outer brake pad.

  • Set an 8-inch C-clamp over the caliper, positioning the screw part on the inner brake pad and the fixed part on the rear of the caliper. Tighten the C-clamp until the caliper piston presses completely into the body of the caliper. Remove the C-clamp.

  • Pull the inner brake pad from the caliper; notice the inner pad has three metal clips that insert into the cavity in the caliper piston to hold it in place.

  • Set the new inner brake pad on the caliper and press the clips on the rear of the pad into the cavity in the caliper piston. Press the outer brake pad on the caliper until the buttons seat in the holes in the caliper body.

  • Remove the circular clips holding the rotor to the lug studs, if applicable, using side-cutting pliers. These do not get replaced, so if someone removed the rotor before, it's likely your Jeep will not have them.

  • Grab the brake rotor and pull it from the Grand Cherokee's hub. Lightly tap the rotor with a rubber mallet if it does not pull off easily.

  • Set the new rotor on the Grand Cherokee's hub. Place the caliper on the new rotor and tighten the caliper bolts to 65 to 85 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

  • Repeat Steps 3 through 10 for the brake pads and rotor on the other side of the SUV.

  • Reinstall the wheels on the Grand Cherokee and hand-tighten the lug nuts.

  • Raise the Jeep from the jack stands, using the floor jack, and remove the stands from under the SUV. Lower the Grand Cherokee to the ground.

  • Tighten the lug nuts, in a star pattern, to 110 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

  • Press and release the brake pedal until it feels firm. This extends the caliper piston out so it contacts the brake pads.

  • Check the fluid level in the brake master cylinder and add DOT 3 brake fluid to the master cylinder until it reaches the "Max" level on the reservoir.

  • Dispose of the old brake fluid in the small container properly. Many auto parts stores accept used automotive fluids free of charge.

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