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Nissan Altima Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads & lubricate the caliper slider pins on a 5th generation 2013, 2014 & 2015 Nissan Altima.

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2014 Altima Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Vehicle - Spin Off Nuts

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2013, 2014, 2015 and possibly also the refreshed 2016 model year) Nissan Altima sedan in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles such as the Versa, Maxima, Juke, Rogue, Murano, Xterra, Pathfinder, Sentra, Cube, Armada, Leaf, Quest, Frontier, 370Z, Titan, G25, G37, M35 and M37 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 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp and a tube of synthetic brake caliper grease.

Please verify the correct replacement front brake pads for your Altima with a Nissan dealership parts counter, an automotive parts store or by using the Amazon Part Finder website. The correct replacement parts may vary depending on your model year, trim level, & whether it is a 4 door sedan or 2 door coupe.


A few sets of new front brake pads that may be compatible, with their part numbers, are as follows: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1650, ACDelco 17D815C, ACDelco 17D1650CH, Raybestos PGD815C, Wagner ZD815, TRW TPC1650, Centric 105.08152, Monroe CX815, Power Stop Z26-815, Callahan CP10242B and Magneti Marelli by Mopar 1AMV300815.
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5 Lug Nuts Removed
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Rotor, Bracket, Suspension
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Front Brake Caliper
The first few steps are to park the car on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels.

Then slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

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

Raise the front of the car with the floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands.

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

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

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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
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Spin Out Top Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper facing in towards the engine bay.

Loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Then loosen the bottom caliper 14mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the car).

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Remove Lower Bolt
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Two 14mm Bolts Removed
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Lift Off Brake Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull the front brake caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Wear Bars - Top Both Pads
Rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord.

Pull the two old pads out of the bracket and make a mental note of where the wear indicator bars or "squeal" bars are located.

On this 2014 Altima, the wear bars were situated 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 brake caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Carefully pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of synthetic brake parts lubricant grease to each before pushing them back in to their rubber dust boots.

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

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper and use 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 brake fluid reservoir cap will allow the fluid to more easily travel back through the system when you compress back the piston.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to push the piston back in to the caliper body.

Repeatedly check the level in the brake fluid reservoir while you compress back the piston to make sure that it doesn't over flow.



 

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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Outer Pad
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Wear Bars - Top Both Pads
Replace the brake fluid cap as soon as possible by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air) so try to avoid having the cap removed for any longer than necessary.

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.

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

If your Altima previously exhibited shuddering, pulsations, 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 first front brake job on your car 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, 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.

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 together until they are 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.

Spin in the two caliper bolts by hand a few turns in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
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Torque To 20 lb-ft
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts with the 14mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) to just past hand tight or about 20 lb-ft of torque.

Double check that both 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 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.

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

Push on the front wheel.

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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
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Torque To 83 ft-lbs
Spin on the 5 lug nuts in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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

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

Continue tightening the lug nuts in the clockwise direction to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to make sure that the lug nuts are properly tightened. The Altima owner's manual specifies that the lug nuts should be tightened to about 83 lb-ft of torque.

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 or garage 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 2013-2015 Nissan Altima DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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