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Chevrolet Equinox Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads on a 2nd generation 2010-2016 GM Chevy Equinox SUV with photo illustrated steps.

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2012 Equinox Front Wheel
Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
Raise Front of Vehicle
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) GM Chevy Equinox in changing the front brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other GM vehicles such as the Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Volt, Malibu, Impala, Camaro, Corvette, Traverse, Tahoe, Suburban, Colorado, Avalanche, Silverado, Verano, Encore, Regal, LaCrosse, Encore, Enclave, Canyon, Sierra, Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Savana, ATS, XTS, CTS, SRX and Escalade may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this front brake job include a floor jack, jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket with ratcheting wrench, a thin 18mm cone spanner wrench, a "C" or "F" clamp, and a new set of pads.

Some compatible aftermarket brake pads include the following with their part numbers: Wagner QC1421, Bendix D1421, ACDelco 17D1421CH, Bosch BP924, Raybestos ATD1421C, Akebono ACT924, Monroe GX1421, Wagner ZD1421, Dura International BP1421 and Centric Parts # 301.11250.

Spin Off Lug Nuts
Set Aside Lug Nuts
Remove Front Wheel
The few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the front wheel with the tire iron.

Then raise the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with two jack stands. (I prefer to work on one side of the car at a time for extra safety.)

Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place. Pull off the front wheel to reveal the front brake caliper, rotor, bracket and suspension.

Front Brake Caliper
Loosen 14mm Caliper Bolts
Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Locate the two bolts on the back side of the caliper. Loosen them with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning them clockwise as seen from the outside of the vehicle.
Spin Out Upper Bolt
Remove Lower Bolt
Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside with the lug nuts.
Lift Caliper From Bracket
Rest Caliper On Suspension
Remove Outer Brake Pad
Lift the caliper off the old brake pads and carefully rest it on the suspension.

Remove the old brake pads from the bracket and make a mental note of how the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is located. On this 2012 Equinox, the wear bad was situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

I recommend buying the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1421 brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon. I also love how they don't require any backing plates, shims or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators.

Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Attach "C" Clamp With Pad


If your set of brake pads came with new metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips, pull the old ones out of the top and bottom of the bracket and push in the new ones.

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper assembly and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

If your vehicle exhibits shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the car's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just replace the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, just remove the two bolts on the rear of the caliper bracket that attach it to the steering knuckle. Then loosen the old rotor with a rubber mallet, pull it off, and slide the new one in its place.

Back Right - Brake Fluid
Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Slowly Compress Piston
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the piston needs to be compressed backwards.

Attach the "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper piston using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the force.

Twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap at the back right of the engine bay by turning it counter clockwise.

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

Slowly compress the caliper piston with the "F" clamp while repeatedly checking the brake fluid level in the reservoir to make sure it doesn't overflow.

Clean up any spills immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces. Continue compressing the piston until it is flush with its rubber dust boot.

Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Install New Outer Pad
Wear Bar - New Inner Pad
Replace the brake fluid cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

Install the new brake pads into the caliper bracket with the wear bar situated at the top of the inner pad.

If your new pads didn't come equipped with a new wear bar, you may be able to re-use the one from the old pad.

Push Pads Against Rotor
Pull Out Upper Caliper Pin
Lubricate & Replace Pins
Push the two new brake pads flush against the rotor.

In order for the brake caliper to work smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to each one.

Push the caliper pins back in to their rubber dust boots until they snap in place over the metal lip on the pin.

Re-Install Caliper
Spin In Caliper Bolts
Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
Lower the brake caliper over the new brake pads and in to the bracket. If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, you may need to compress the caliper piston back a bit more.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the holes in the caliper slider pins in the bracket. Thread in the two caliper bolts by hand a few turns to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Upper Bolt
Hold Pin With 18mm Wrench
Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft lbs of torque.

If the caliper slider pin begins spinning as you are tightening the caliper bolt, hold it in place with a thin 18mm cone spanner wrench.

Double check that both the upper and lower caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain some air bubbles.

It would be best to bleed the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With An Assistant DIY Guide or alternatively the Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With A Power Bleeder Guide.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Replace Front Wheel
Spin On Lug Nuts - Tighten
Replace the front wheel and spin on the five lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack until the front wheel holds just enough weight to keep it from moving.

Lower Vehicle
Torque Lug Nuts
Front Brake Job Done
Progressively tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight. 

It would be best to use a torque wrench or an air gun with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to the 140 lb-ft of torque specification in the owner's manual.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure. Check the brake fluid in the reservoir and verify that it is at the proper level. If it is low, add some DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new front brake pads, just drive normally for the first few hundred miles while trying to avoid any hard or "panic" stops which may glaze over the new pads and cause them to be noisy and/or not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway for drops of brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and also verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

For more, check out my other GM Chevrolet Equinox DIY Repair Guides.

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