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Nissan Sentra Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 6th generation "B16" 2007 to 2012 Nissan Sentra with part numbers.

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2012 Sentra 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 sixth generation "B16" (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) Nissan Sentra sedan in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of other Nissan vehicles with similar front brake hardware such as the Versa, Cube, Altima, Maxima, Leaf, Pathfinder, 370Z, Juke, Rogue, Xterra, Murano and Quest 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 ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp, a packet of brake parts lubricant grease and a new set of front brake pads.

A few compatible sets of brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Bosch BC815, Raybestos ATD815AC, ACDelco 14D815C, Akebono ACT815, Dura International BP815C.

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Spin Off Counterclockwise
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4 Lug Nuts Removed
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Pull Off Plastic Wheel Cover
The first few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the car from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 4 lug nuts on the front wheels by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

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 to keep three wheels on the ground for extra safety.)

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

Pull off the plastic wheel cover or "hub cap" and set it aside.

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Steel Front Wheel
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Pull Off Front Wheel
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Remove the front wheel to reveal the brake caliper, bracket, rotor and the suspension.

The caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the rear of the caliper that face towards the center of the vehicle.

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Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
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Spin Out Clockwise
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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Then loosen the lower 14mm caliper bolt in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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Two Caliper Bolts Removed
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Pull Off Front Brake Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
Carefully pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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

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

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Pull Old Pads Out of Bracket
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Wear Bar - Top Outer Pad
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

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

On this 2012 Sentra S, the wear bars are located at the top of both the inner and outer brake pads.

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Replace Pad Abutment Clips
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pin
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Lubricate & Replace Pins
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 before installing the new ones in their place.

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

Pull the upper and lower pins out of their rubber dust boots in the bracket.

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

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Attach "C" Clamp To Piston
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Remove Brake Fluid Cap
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Slowly Compress Piston
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the piston needs to be compressed back.

Attach the "C" 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 and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

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

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the piston while repeatedly checking the level in the brake fluid reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

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

Continue compressing the piston until it is flush with the rubber dust boot surrounding it.

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



 

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Twist On Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Outer Pad
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Wear Bars - Top Both Pads
Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily 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 may be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

If your Sentra previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the front end during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (A.K.A. resurfaced) or it may be easier and cheaper to just replace them with new rotors. If this is the car's first front 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 and the back of the new pads. Do not apply brake parts lubricant to the friction surface of the new pads or to the face of the rotor.

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear bars situated at the top of both the inner and outer brake pads.

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Push Pads Against Rotor
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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Spin In Upper Caliper Bolt
Push the two pads flush against the rotor.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

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

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Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
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Tighten Counterclockwise
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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
Spin in the two caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) by hand a few turns to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts by turning them counterclockwise (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 25 ft-lbs of torque.

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

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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front Wheel

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

It would be best to bleed the brake lines in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with new 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.

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Push On Plastic Hub Cap
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Spin On 4 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Replace the front wheel.

Line up the plastic wheel cover so that the cut out section for the tire valve is in the correct position and push it in place.

Spin on the 4 lug nuts in the clockwise direction by hand a few turns to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross or "star" pattern with the tire iron.

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Lower Vehicle From Stands
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Torque To 80 ft-lbs
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Front Brake Pads Replaced
Lower the car from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the lug nuts in a crisscross or star pattern to 1/4 turn past hand tight or about 80 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 press 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 verify that the lug nuts are still tight after a short test drive.

For more, check out my other 2007-2012 Nissan Sentra Maintenance & Repair Guides.
 

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