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Chevrolet Malibu Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads on a 9th generation 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 Chevy Malibu.

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2020 Malibu Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins (along with instructions for replacing the rotors if necessary).

The 9th generation Malibu was supposed to undergo a "facelift" in 2022 or 2023 and the refreshed vehicle may have continued being produced into the 2024 and 2025 model years but it will now apparently be discontinued after the 2023 model year.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Holden such as the Impala, Corvette, Bolt, Sonic, Spark, Express, Trax, TrailBlazer, Equinox, Traverse, Blazer, Tahoe, Suburban, Colorado, Silverado, Cruze, Volt, Camaro, Encore, Envision, Enclave, Regal, LaCrosse, Canyon, Sierra, Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Savana, XT4, XT5, XT6, Escalade, CT4, CT5, CT6 and Commodore may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: ACDelco 14D1913CH, Power Stop 16-1913 Z16, R1 Concepts 2311-1913-00, TRW TPC1421 and Raybestos EHT1913H.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet, an "F" clamp and a tube of brake caliper grease.

Please proceed with caution and at your own risk!

The first few steps are to drive the vehicle on to a level surface, shift the transmission into "Park" and turn off the ignition.

Engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to help prevent the car from moving unexpectedly.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them 1/4 to 1/2 turn in the counterclockwise direction with the tire iron.

Carefully raise the front of the car with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

Please do not solely rely on the floor jack to support the vehicle!

I prefer to only work on one side of the car at a time and keep three tires on the ground for extra safety.



 

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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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Five Lug Nuts Removed
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Rotor, Bracket, Caliper
Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully remove the front wheel to reveal the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen Top Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Bottom Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts located on the back side of the caliper.

The bolt heads face in towards the engine bay.

Loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Then loosen the bottom caliper bolt by also turning it in the clockwise direction (when viewed from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

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Spin Out Lower Bolt
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Remove Upper Bolt
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Two Bolts Removed
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.
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Lift Caliper Out of Bracket
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Rest Caliper On Rotor
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Two "V" / "U" Spring Clips
Carefully lift the caliper out of the bracket and off the old brake pads.

Rest the caliper on the rotor or suspend it from the suspension spring with a bungee cord or some twine.

Try to avoid bending, kinking, pulling or stressing the rubber brake fluid hose.

The front brake caliper is equipped with two "V" or "U" shaped metal pad spreader clips. These "drag reduction" clips help keep the pads away from the rotor when you are not actively braking to reduce friction and increase fuel economy.

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Remove Top Spring Clip
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Remove Bottom Clip
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Remove Old Inner Pad
Carefully remove the two drag reduction clips and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull the old inner brake pad out of the bracket.

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Wear Bar - Top of Inner
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Grasp Old Outer Pad
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Old Outer Pad Removed
Make a note of where the wear indicator bar or "squeal bar" is located on the old brake pads.

On this 2020 Malibu LT, the wear indicator bar was situated at the top of the old inner brake pad.

Remove the old outer brake pad from the bracket.

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Pad Abutment Clips
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Replace Both Clips
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Caliper Slider Pins
If your new set of front brake pads includes a bag of replacement hardware, pull the old pad abutment clips or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Clean off the rotor, lug studs, bracket and caliper with brake parts cleaner spray.

Avoid breathing in the brake dust or the cleaning spray since they may be carcinogenic.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to the top and bottom of the new pad abutment clips where they will come in contact with the new pads or the bracket.

Push the new pad abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket. Make sure the clips are fully seated in place.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly the two caliper slider pins or "guide pins" need to be well lubricated.

Do NOT mix up the top and bottom caliper slider pins since they are slightly different.

Pull one caliper slider pin out of its rubber dust boot attached to the bracket, apply a thin layer of grease and push it back into place.

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Lubricate Both Slide Pins
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Attach "F" Clamp
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Ecotec LFV 1.5L I4
Repeat the process to lubricate the other caliper slider pin.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, you'll need to compress back the caliper piston.

Attach the "F" clamp to the caliper and use an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the piston.

Move to the engine bay and locate the brake fluid reservoir tank.

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Brake Fluid Reservoir
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Twist Off Reservoir Cap
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Compress Caliper Piston
The brake fluid reservoir is located at the right rear area of the engine bay on the driver's side close to the coolant overflow bottle.

Twist off the cap in the counterclockwise direction and set it aside in a safe place.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the system when you compress the piston.

Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the caliper piston.

Make sure the piston is retracting straight back into the caliper.

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boot that surrounds the piston.

Once the piston is just about flush with the rubber dust boot that surrounds it, you can detach the "F" clamp from the caliper.

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Replace Reservoir Cap
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
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Install New Inner Pad
Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air) so you don't want to leave the cap off for any longer than absolutely necessary.


If your Malibu has been exhibiting shuddering, shaking or vibrations in the front end while braking, the OEM rotors might be worn out or warped and should be replaced.

The OEM front brake rotor part number is ACDelco 18A82000.

Two compatible replacement aftermarket front brake rotors with their part numbers are as follows: Centric 320.62132 and Callahan EBYCN0806.

To replace the rotors, first remove the two 21mm bolts on the back side of the bracket or "torque member" that secure it to the wheel hub. Set the bracket aside in a safe place.

New GM vehicles are equipped with torque-to-yield (or "TTY") bolts that should not be re-used. Consult with your dealership to purchase new bracket bolts.

Then remove the set screw on the outer face of the rotor by turning it in the counterclockwise direction with a Torx T30 star bit screwdriver.

Slide the old rotor off the wheel hub and lug studs.

Slide the new rotor over the lug studs and replace the Torx T30 set screw by turning it in the clockwise direction.

The torque specification for the front rotor set screw is 62 lb-in (or 7 N.m).

Re-attach the caliper bracket with the two 21mm bolts and tighten them in the clockwise direction until they are snug.

The service manual specification for tightening the torque-to-yield 21mm caliper bracket bolts is 111 lb-ft plus 45 degrees for the first pass and another 15 degrees for the second pass.

An optional step is to apply some Loctite Blue (medium strength - removable with hand tools) or Loctite Red (high strength - heat required for removal) threadlocking adhesive to the bracket bolts.

Double check that the bracket bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Note - The torque specifications were obtained from the service manuals for the 2011 To 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, 2013 to 2016 Buick LaCrosse and the 2014 to 2017 Buick Regal. All of these vehicles along with the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain have the same front brake caliper and bracket part numbers. Please verify the torque specifications for your vehicle.


Orientate the wear indicator bar at the top of the new inner brake pad.

Push the new inner brake pad into the bracket.

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Install New Outer Pad
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Push Pads Against Rotor
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Re-Attach Spring Clips
Install the new outer brake pad into the bracket.

Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

If your new brake pads are equipped with the small grooves at the top and bottom, re-attach the two "V" or "U" shaped metal pad spreader clips.

These spring clips help reduce the friction on the rotor when you are not pushing down the brake pedal.

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Top Pad Spreader Clip
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Re-Attach Top Clip
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Lower Caliper Over Pads
Make sure the two spring clips are properly installed and securely attached.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new brake pads and into the bracket.

If you can't lower the caliper over the new pads, you may need to compress the piston back a bit further.

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Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
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Replace Bottom Bolt
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Tighten Lower Bolt
Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding bolt holes in the slider pins attached to the bracket.

Spin in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Upper Bolt
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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Tighten the two caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

The service manual specification for tightening the front caliper bolts is 20 lb-ft (or 27 N.m) of torque.

Double check that the caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake fluid might contain a few air bubbles or some moisture.

It would be a good idea to bleed the brake lines and flush out the old fluid with fresh new DOT 3 brake fluid.

I highly recommend using the Allstar Performance Bleeder Bottle to bleed the brake lines. It makes this procedure an easy one-person job compared to having an assistant pump the brake pedal for you.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located on the back side of the caliper just below the top bolt. To open and close the valve, you'll need a 10mm wrench.

In general, the brake line bleeding order for most vehicles is to start at the caliper furthest from the brake fluid reservoir and work your way to the closest caliper. So the order should be as follows: right rear, right left, front right and front left.

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Push On Front Wheel
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Spin On Five Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Carefully replace the front wheel over the five lug studs.

Spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction with the tire iron in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern.

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Lower Car From Stands
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Torque Lug Nuts
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Front Brake Job Done
Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue tightening the lug nuts in the clockwise direction in a criss-cross or "star" pattern to just past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to properly tighten the lug nuts to the owner's manual specification of 100 lb-ft.

Please double check your owner's manual for the correct lug nut torque specification for your vehicle.

Check the brake fluid level in the reservoir and if necessary, pour in some new DOT 3 brake fluid until the level reaches the "MAX" (maximum) line.

It would be a good idea to check your garage floor, driveway or parking spot for drops of fresh brake fluid over the next few days which could indicate a leak from the bleeder valve or the reservoir in the engine bay.

I also recommend that you check that the lug nuts are still tight after your next few trips.

Be sure to write down the front brake pad and/or rotor change in your car's service records.

Please check out all of the 2016-2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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