Where Do the Clips Go on Brake Pads

The first step is to carefully observe the pads. Try to match the old pads to the new ones. In doing so, you will be able to identify which end of the pad matches the top of the caliper piston that retracts and extends.

Once this is done, add clips to the top of the caliper piston end of both brake pads. This can be done with a large pair of pliers or a screwdriver (toothpick/wire brush) and an assortment of washers, including Phillips screws in top hat-style screw fasteners.

look very carefully at the pads

  • Look closely at the old brake pads. Look at the new brake pads. Take a look at the calipers and pistons. Now, look at the clips—they should be in one of these places and they are not interchangeable. If you need more help, check to see if there are any instructions in the box or on the packaging of the new pads or rotors, or find a video online that shows how to replace them for your particular vehicle.
  • Are you still having trouble finding them? A mechanic may be able to help you locate your clips so that they can be installed correctly when used again next time!

try to match old pads to new pads

Start by checking which side of the old pads the clips are on, and then compare them to the new ones. Usually there’s a little arrow or some other indicator showing you where they go. If there isn’t an arrow, it’s a safe bet that you don’t need them—but if you want to be absolutely sure, refer back to your parts list. If the parts list doesn’t say anything about clips (or whichever part you’re trying to figure out), give your parts store of choice a call and double-check that you ordered the correct part for your make and model.

identify which end of the pad matches the top of the caliper piston that retracts and extends

It’s important to identify which end of the pad matches the top of the caliper piston that retracts and extends. The clips may technically go on either side, but you want them to be at the top so the brake pads don’t rattle. Once you’ve got your parts in order, start by placing one pad into each caliper bracket. Next, install your brake clips onto each end of both pads. If you notice any damage to these pieces (such as a bent or broken clip), replace it before moving forward with installation. After you’ve got your clips installed on both pads and brackets, push them in so they’re fully seated against the caliper piston.

add clips to the top of the caliper piston end of both brake pads

The brake clips hold the brake pads to the caliper. The clips have a number of orientations and you will need to determine which is right for your vehicle. Some are even reversible, so feel free to experiment!

Place the clips in the top opening of the caliper piston end of both brake pads. If you’re lucky enough to be replacing your brake shoes with new ones, simply place them as factories install them on brand new cars.

If your brake clips aren’t reusable from your old set, consult your owner’s manual or look up the part numbers for replacements and make sure that those match what is already on your car so that you get the right fit for all four wheels.

be sure to use the right clips for your vehicle

Now that you have the right clips, it’s time to learn how to use them.

First, make sure that you’re on a flat surface with your car. Position the discard guard over the brake pads so that it’s flush with the pads (as shown below). Then remove all of the clips from your old brake pads and place them in front of you on a table or work surface (you can also wrap them in newspaper if they’re dirty). You’ll now be using the new clips for this part of your brake job. If any of your old clips don’t fit perfectly into place, try moving up one or two sizes as needed. Once all of your clips are in order, lift up one edge and insert each clip close to its neighbor so that it fits into its spot exactly, like this picture below:

Repeat this process until all of the clips have been inserted into their spots. “Like a puzzle,” is how I’d describe it.

Steven Hatman
Steven Hatman

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