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Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 4th generation 2016 to 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata with the part numbers.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2018 Miata Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Front of Vehicle

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation ND (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021) Mazda MX-5 Miata in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2 (Demio), Mazda3 (Axela), Mazda5, Mazda6 (Atenza), CX-3, CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, RX-8 and MPV may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench (or a 21mm or 13/16" socket), a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet, a 17mm wrench, an "F" clamp and a tube of brake caliper grease.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers include the following: EBC DP42263R, ACDelco 17D1903CH, Power Stop Z23-1379B, Callahan CPK01011 and Beck Arnley 085-7062.

Please verify the correct replacement brake pads for your vehicle before purchasing new parts by using the Amazon Part Finder website. The correct compatible part numbers may vary depending on whether your Miata is equipped with the standard brakes with one caliper piston or the Brembo calipers with four pistons.


Spin Off Four Lug Nuts
4 Lug Nuts Removed
Pull Off Front Wheel
The first few steps are to park the car on a level surface, turn off the ignition and shift the transmission into park.

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

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

If you don't have a lug nut wrench, you can use a 21mm or 13/16" socket with a 1/2" drive breaker bar or ratchet.

Carefully raise the front of the vehicle 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 car.

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

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

Carefully remove the front wheel and set it aside.

Caliper, Bracket & Rotor
Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Once the front wheel is out of the way, you'll be able to see the caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

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

Then loosen the upper caliper bolt in the clockwise direction (as viewed from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Spin Out Bottom Bolt
Spin Out Top Bolt
Two Bolts Removed
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.
Pull Caliper Out of Bracket
Rest Caliper On Rotor
Remove Old Inner Pad
Carefully lift the caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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

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

Pull the old inner brake pad out of the bracket.

Remove Old Outer Pad
Pad Abutment Clips
Replace Abutment Clips
Pull the old outer pad out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bars or "squeal" bars are situated on the original OEM pads.

On this 2018 Miata, the wear indicator bars were located at the bottom of both the inner and outer pads.

If your new set of front brake pads includes a bag of replacement hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Clean off the bracket, caliper, rotor and lug studs with a can of CRC Brake Parts Cleaner spray.

Try to avoid breathing in the brake dust or the cleaner spray.

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

Push the new pad abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket.

Make sure the pad abutment clips are fully seated in the bracket.

Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace Pins
Attach "F" Clamp
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide bolts" need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the bracket.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of each pin.

Slide the pins back into their dust boots.

Spin the pins around a few times to evenly distribute the grease.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston needs to be compressed or "retracted" back into the caliper.

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

Brake Fluid Reservoir
Twist Off Cap
Compress Caliper Piston
Open the hood and move to the right rear corner of the engine bay (closest to the driver's seat).

Twist off the brake fluid reservoir bottle's cap in the counterclockwise direction.

Set the cap aside in a safe place.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the line while you are compressing the piston.

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

Continue compressing the caliper piston until it is just about flush with the rubber dust boot that surrounds it.

Repeatedly check the fluid level in the reservoir while you are compressing the piston to make sure it doesn't over flow.

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

Once you are done compressing the caliper piston, replace the brake fluid reservoir tank's cap as soon as possible.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air), so the cap shouldn't be left any longer than necessary.


Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Install New Outer Pad
Install New Inner Pad
Twist on the brake fluid cap in the clockwise direction.

If your Miata has exhibited shaking, shuddering or vibrations in the front end during braking, the rotors may be warped and need to be replaced with new rotors.

To replace the rotors, remove the two 17mm bolts on the back side of the bracket. Remove the bracket, slide off the old rotor and slide the new one into place. Replace the bracket and tighten the two 17mm bolts to the shop manual specification range of 59 to 74 lb-ft of torque (or 79-101 Nm).

Install the new inner and outer brake pads into the bracket.

The wear indicator bars should be situated at the bottom of both the inner and outer brake pads.

Push Pads Against Rotor
Lower Caliper Over Pads
Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Carefully lower the caliper over the brake pads and into 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 (as seen from the outside of the car).

Replace Bottom Bolt
Tighten Upper Bolt
Tighten Lower Bolt
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and the 3/8" drive ratchet.

If the caliper slider pins turn as you are attempting to tighten the bolts, hold the pins in place with a 17mm wrench.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the caliper bolts to the service manual specification value of 23 to 28 lb-ft of torque.

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

If you do any autocross or drag racing with your Miata, I recommend applying a small amount of Loctite Blue medium strength threadlocker to the caliper bolts. Or you can safety wire the bolts.

Rear of Caliper
Rubber Valve Cap
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake lines may contain a few air bubbles or some moisture. It would be best to bleed the brake lines and replace the fluid with fresh brake fluid.

I prefer using the Allstar ALL11017 one person bleeder bottle that has a one-way check valve and a magnet to hold the bottle in place to the rotor. It makes bleeding brakes an easy one person job.

Check out my Acura MDX Brake Line Bleeding Guide for more info on the procedure.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located on the back side of the caliper just below the upper caliper bolt.

Pull off the rubber cap to access the valve.

Push On Front Wheel
Spin On Four Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the four 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 a criss-cross or star pattern with the lug nut wrench.

Lower Car From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Brake Pads Replaced
Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the four lug nuts in a criss-cross or star pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight with the tire iron or a 21mm or 13/16" socket and a 1/2" drive breaker bar or ratchet.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the owner's manual specification of 80 to 108 lb-ft of torque (or 108-147 Nm).

Sit in the driver's seat and firmly push on the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure.

Check the level in the brake fluid reservoir. If the level is low, pour in some fresh DOT 3 brake fluid until it reaches the "MAX" line.

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

I'd also recommend checking that the lug nuts are still tight after your next trip.

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

For more, check out all of my 2016-2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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