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Kia Optima Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the rear disc brake pads on a 3rd generation 2011 to 2015 Kia Optima with photo illustrated steps.

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2013 Optima Rear Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Rear of Vehicle
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Kia Optima in changing the rear disc brake pads.

Owners of other Kia and Hyundai vehicles such as the Forte, Cadenza, Rio, Soul, Sedona, Sorento, Sportage, Sonata, Accent, Elantra, Veloster, Azera, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet, a "C" or "F" clamp, a tube of brake parts lubricant grease and a new set of rear brake pads.

A few compatible aftermarket sets of new rear brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Bosch BP1313, Akebono ACT1445, Wagner QC1445 or ZD1445,  Dura International BP1313 C, Bendix D1313 and EBC UD1313.

Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
5 Lug Nuts Removed
Caliper, Bracket & Rotor
The first two steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface and then chock the front wheels to prevent it from moving.

Make sure that the emergency/parking brake is not engaged.

Slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the rear wheel by turning them counter clockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the rear of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands.

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

Spin off the 5 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull off the rear wheel to reveal the caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Spin Out Lower Bolt
The caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper.

Loosen the upper and lower caliper bolts by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
Pull Off Rear Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully lift the caliper out of the bracket and either rest it on the suspension or hang it from the spring with a bungee cord.

Try to avoid stressing or kinking the rubber brake fluid line.

Rest Caliper On Suspension
Remove Old Brake Pads
Wear Bar - Bottom Inner Pad
Pull the old brake pads out of the caliper bracket and make a mental note of where the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is situated on the old pads.

On this 2013 Optima EX, the wear indicator bar was located at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

I recommend buying the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1445 brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon.

Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace Pins
If your set of new rear brake pads included new brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the caliper bracket before re-installing the new ones in their place.

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

Pull the caliper slider pins straight out of their rubber dust boots within the bracket.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to each one before pushing them back in to their dust boots.


Attach "F" Clamp To Caliper
Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Compress Caliper Piston
In order for the brake caliper to fit over the thicker new pads, the piston will need to be compressed backwards.

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

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay, closest to the driver's seat, and twist off the brake fluid reservoir in the counter clockwise direction.

Slowly turn the handle on the "F" clamp in the clockwise direction to compress the caliper piston back until it is flush with its rubber dust boot.

Repeatedly check the level in the brake fluid reservoir while you are compressing the piston to prevent it from overflowing.

Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces.

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

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

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 (cancer causing) if inhaled.

If your Optima previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the rear end during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with new rotors. If this is the car's first rear brake job and the rotors appear to be in good 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 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.

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 piston. Do not apply brake parts lubricant to the friction surface of the new pads or to the face of the rotor.

Wear Bar - Bottom Inner Pad
Install New Outer Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Install the new rear brake pads in to the caliper bracket with the wear indicator bar situated at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

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

Lower Caliper Over Pads
Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
Replace Upper Caliper Bolt
Lower the caliper down over the new pads and in to the bracket.

If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, the piston may need to be compressed back a bit further.

Spin in the upper and lower caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counter clockwise to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Upper 14mm Bolt
Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning them counter clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20 to 25 ft-lbs of torque.

Double check that the two 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 DOT 3 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 just below the upper caliper bolt.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Replace Rear Wheel
Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Replace the rear wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.
Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Lower Car From Stands
Torque To 65.1-79.5 ft-lbs
Slightly tighten the 5 lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern with the tire iron.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack until the rear wheel holds enough weight to keep it from spinning.

Continue progressively tightening the 5 lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 turn past hand tight or about 65.1 to 79.5 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 vehicle and firmly push down 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, pour in some fresh DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new 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 Kia Optima Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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