WE all understand that running a car takes money, in regards to maintenance and parts at the very least, but the spiralling costs of labour at many local garages can send us well into the red, even for some pretty simple jobs.
As more and more car owners eschew the expensive trips to the local mechanic and purchase car parts they can fit themselves from reputable online dealers, we take a look at just one of these jobs – replacing brake discs – to see if it’s possible to save some cash by doing it yourself.
Why replace your own?
If you take your car to the manufacturers garage, chances are that even small parts such as brake discs will be pretty expensive. However, there are car parts available online that are manufactured to the same exacting standards as your vehicle manufacturers for a fraction of the price.
Purchasing these alternative (but similar quality) parts and fitting themselves may take a little time and research but you’re more than likely going to save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
How to go about fitting your own replacement brake discs
Brake discs are actually only held on by two bolts, so the job is fairly easy to do. That said, you must have everything prepared – there’s no nipping out to get more parts while your car’s jacked up in a garage! You’ll need some form of eye protection and protective gloves, the required new brake discs, a well-lit, well ventilated place to work on your car and a jack. You’ll also need tools, including a spanner and a G clamp.
You’ll need to remove the wheel, first and foremost, so, after you’ve loosened the nuts first, jack up your car according to your manufacturer’s recommended jack points – if you can’t find them or you’ve lost the manual, you should be able to find these online. Make sure the car jack is on a level surface and use axle stands to give extra security.
Once you’ve got the car jacked up and secure, you’ll need to remove the wheel, and if your discs are held on with calipers undo the 2 caliper bolts, and remove the caliper.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to remove the bolts that hold the caliper carrier on, putting them somewhere safe, and take out the retaining screw in the disc. Many people find that the retaining screw seizes, but this can be overcome with an impact driver, or at a pinch with a hammer and chisel.
Make sure all faces are clean and free of damage, then simply replace with the new brake disc and put the whole thing back together, repeating the process for any other discs that need replacing.
Usually it’s just the front two wheels but check the back before you start the job, as it’s best to do them all at once. It’s advisable to take your vehicle out for a test drive after this, just to make sure your brakes are working as they should be. If there’s anything untoward, however, you should contact a professional immediately to take a look.
Of course it’s essential to get your brakes working efficiently, and you may be a little nervous about replacing your brake discs yourself.
There are, however, a number of good DIY mechanic manuals out there that can help you with these smaller maintenance jobs and save your money, but the other option would be to ask someone you know and who knows about cars to help you – especially if you’re a novice at maintenance.