How to Replace Brake Pads on a Hyundai Santa Fe

car rotor and brakes

If you're wondering how to replace brake pads on a Hyundai Santa Fe, it's important to understand how the process is different compared to other vehicles. While the process of changing brake pads is generally the same across most vehicles, there are a few unique things to keep in mind with the Santa Fe.

Learning How to Replace Brake Pads on a Hyundai Santa Fe

When you're thinking of changing the brake pads on your Santa Fe, you'll notice that the process is just as easy, if not easier, than changing the brakes on a domestic car. Hyundai has come a long way in manufacturing vehicles that are easy to maintain and repair.

Issues With Santa Fe Brakes and Rotors

Keep the following things in mind that are unique to the Santa Fe before you try to tackle the task of changing your brakes:

  • The rotors and hubs are two pieces, so you don't need to remove the wheel hubs in order to change the brakes.
  • The rotor and hub often rusts together, so if you need to replace the rotor you'll have to hammer it loose with a rubber mallet.
  • You'll need to remove two #3 screws, as well as the brake caliper itself, in order to change out the rotor.
  • Many consumers reported that Santa Fe models after 2007 had issues where the brakes started squeaking even when not worn down. A quick repair for this is oiling the caliper springs.
  • On some Santa Fe models, the rotors were suspect because many consumers had to replace them for not meeting minimum legal thickness requirements. Always check the thickness of the rotor when changing your Santa Fe brakes.
  • Always install Santa Fe brake pads appropriately, with the inboard and outboard pads on the correct sides. When installing your brake pads, check that the one with a wear indicator is installed on the inside, since that is the inboard pad.
  • In 2011, Hyundai recalled the 2011 Santa Fe for a manufacturing defect in the rear brake calipers. If you experience premature wear of your rear brake pads of any Santa Fe models made during this time, make sure to have the rear calipers checked, and check with the dealer to see whether your car is on the recall list.

Changing the Brakes on Your Santa Fe

Now that you know what to look for before you get started with changing the brakes on your Santa Fe, if everything else looks okay then it's time to get to work. Work through the following steps to replace the brake pads on your Santa Fe. Before you get started, make sure you've purchased a new set of brake pads from your local auto shop.

  1. Park on level ground, and place wedges behind the back wheels.
  2. Locate the master cylinder located just in front of the steering wheel in the engine compartment, open the plastic top and with a turkey baster, and remove and discard about two-thirds of the brake fluid.
  3. Jack up and secure the back end of your vehicle so that you have easy access to the wheels and so that they are completely clear from the ground.
  4. Remove the lug nuts, and then completely remove the wheel.
  5. Using a 9/16-inch wrench, remove the mounting bolts from the brake caliper.
  6. Remove the caliper, but keep the brake hose attached. Attach the caliper to the car frame with tie-wrap in order to keep it out of the way. Don't dangle the caliper from the brake hose, or you may damage it.
  7. Take the brake pads and inspect the rotor to make sure it isn't scored, especially if the brake pads are very worn down.
  8. Place lubricant (to prevent squealing) to the back side of the brake pad, then reinstall the shim and the new pad.
  9. Using a C-clamp, re-attach the caliper and tighten the clamp by hand.
  10. Put the mounting bolts back into the caliper and tighten with a torque wrench until you're applying about 16 to 20 pounds of pressure.
  11. Lower the car, and then repeat the process to replace the brake pads on the back tires of the car as well.
  12. Refill the brake fluid into the master cylinder, and bleed the brake line so that there are no air pockets.
  13. After reattaching all of the tires, lower the car back to the ground, start the engine, and pump the brakes a few times so that the new brake pads correctly seat.

Immediately after you've installed your brand new brake pads, try not to apply too much pressure to your brakes when you're stopping. This is called "seasoning" the brake pads. You can accomplish this by driving slowly and avoiding any hard stops for about a week after installing new brake pads.

Use Caution

While learning how to replace brake pads on a Hyundai Santa Fe isn't too difficult, there are some things to be cautious about. Always be careful with brake fluid, as it can be very hazardous if ingested. Many brake parts also have asbestos fibers that you could inhale if you're not careful. At the very least, wear eye protection while doing any work on your car, and try not to do anything that will send dirt or dust from parts into the air. So long as you take your time and are cautious, changing your own brake pads can be a very rewarding experience.

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How to Replace Brake Pads on a Hyundai Santa Fe