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Honda Pilot Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 2nd generation 2009 to 2015 Honda Pilot SUV with photo illustrated steps.

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2012 Pilot Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise With Floor Jack
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Honda Pilot SUV in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricate the caliper slider pins.

Owner's of other Honda or Acura vehicles such as the Odyssey, Insight, Ridgeline, CR-V, Fit, Civic, CR-Z, Crosstour, Accord, MDX, RDX, RLX, TL, TSX and ILX may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 17mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a "C" or "F" clamp and a tube of synthetic high temperature brake parts lubricant grease.

A few compatible sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1378, ACDelco 17D1280C, Akebono ACT1280, Bosch BC1280, Raybestos ATD1280C, TRW TPC1378, Dura International BP1378C and Honda 45022-SZA-A10.

Raise Front of SUV
Spin Off Lug Nuts
Five Lug Nuts Removed
The first few steps are to park the SUV on a level surface, turn off the engine and engage the emergency / parking brake.

Then chock both sides of the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving while you are replacing the front brake pads.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the front of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

I prefer to work on one side of the vehicle at a time to keep three wheels on the ground for extra safety.

Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Rotor, Bracket & Caliper
Front Brake Caliper
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Pull off the front wheel to reveal the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper with the bolt heads facing in towards the engine bay.

Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 17mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Loosen Lower 17mm Bolt
Wrench & Rubber Mallet
Spin Out Top Bolt
Then loosen the lower 17mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the car).

If you have trouble loosening the caliper bolts, use a 17mm combination wrench and a rubber mallet to break the bolt free.

Remove Lower 17mm Bolt
Two Caliper Bolts Removed
Pull Off Front Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Gently pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

Rest Caliper On Suspension
Two "V" Spring Clips
Two Spring Clips Removed
Carefully rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord.

Remove the two "V" or "U" shaped metal spring clips from the outer edge of the old brake pads.

Set the two spring clips aside in a safe place.

Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Remove Old Outer Pad
Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Remove the old inner and outer brake pads from the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is located on the old pads.

On this 2012 Honda Pilot, the wear indicator bar was situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

I always buy the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1378 front brake pads since they have great reviews on Amazon. I also like how they don't require any shims, backing plates or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators.

If your new set of front brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket. Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant to the bracket before pushing the new pad abutment clips in to place.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the part of the new pad abutment clips that will come in contact with the brake pads.

Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Remove Lower Slider Pin
Lubricate Slider Pins
In order for the brake caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to each one before pushing them back in to the bracket.

Replace Caliper Slide Pins
Attach "F" Clamp
Brake Fluid Reservoir
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two caliper pistons need to be compressed back.

Attach the "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper and use the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the pistons.

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

Removing the brake fluid cap will allow the fluid to more easily travel backwards through the hose when you compress the two caliper pistons.


Twist Off Counterclockwise
Compress Caliper Pistons
Move To Other Piston
Compress the caliper pistons by turning the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction.

You may need to move the "F" clamp to the other side of the caliper in order to evenly compress both of the pistons.

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the two rubber dust boots that surround the pistons.

Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Install New Outer Pad
"Squeal" Bar - Top Inner Pad
Be sure to replace the brake fluid cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

Twist on the brake fluid cap in the clockwise direction.

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

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

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

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to any area where there is metal to metal contact such as the outer lip of the caliper pistons. Do not apply brake parts lubricant to the friction surface of the new pads or to the rotor.

Install the new inner and outer brake pads in to the bracket with the wear indicator bar situated at the top of the inner pad.

Push Pads Against Rotor
Re-Attach Spring Clips
Two Clips Replaced
Push the two pads together until are flush against the rotor.

Replace the "V" (or is "W" or "U") shaped metal spring clips to the outer edge of the new brake pads.

Lower Caliper Over Pads
Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
Replace Bottom Caliper Bolt
Push the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding bolt holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

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

Tighten Counterclockwise
Tighten Top 17mm Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) with the 17mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 53 ft-lbs of torque.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid might be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain a few 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 DOT 3 or DOT 4 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.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper right next to the top bolt.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Push On Front Wheel
Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.
Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Lower SUV From Stands
Torque To 94 lb-ft
Slightly tighten the five lug nuts in a star or "criss cross" pattern.

Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue tightening the lug nuts in the clockwise direction in a "star" or "criss cross" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight or about 94 ft-lbs of torque.

It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat of the car and firmly press 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 fresh DOT 3 or DOT 4 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.

Be sure to record the brake pad change in your Pilot's service records.

For more, please check out my other 2009-2015 Honda Pilot DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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