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Ford Focus Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads of a 3rd generation MK III 2011 to 2014 Ford Focus with photo illustrated steps.

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2012 Focus Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle

This automotive tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation MK3 (2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014) Ford Focus in replacing the front brake pads.

Owners of other similar Ford sedan or hatchback vehicles such as the Fusion, Fiesta, Taurus, C-Max, and Taurus may also find these DIY front brake job instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a flathead screwdriver, a 7mm hex head socket or Allen key wrench, a "C" clamp, and a packet of brake parts lubricant grease.

A few compatible replacement front brake pad sets with their part numbers include the following: Wagner QC1564, Bosch BC1044, Bendix D1044, Raybestos PGD1044C, ACDelco 17D1044C, Power Stop # 16-1044, Motorcraft BR1339, Prime Choice SMK1044, Dura International BP1044 C, Wearever GNAD 1044, Monroe CX1044 and KFE KFE1044-104.

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Loosen Lug Nuts
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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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Lug Nuts Removed
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 it from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the front wheel with the tire iron by turning them counter clockwise. I prefer to work on one side of the car at at time for extra safety.

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

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

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Rotor, Caliper, Bracket
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Front Brake Caliper
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Pry Off Metal Spring Clip
Pull off the front wheel to reveal the brake caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

If you have safety glasses, wear them for the next step to protect your eyes and face.

Use a flathead screwdriver to carefully pry off the metal spring clip attached to the outside edge of the caliper.

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Spring Clip Removed
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Caliper Bolts Cover
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Pry Off Black Plastic Cover
Set the spring clip aside in a safe place.

Look on the rear of the caliper and pry out the two black plastic dust caps that protect the caliper bolts.

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Caliper Bolt Cover
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Remove Lower Bolt Cap
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Hex Head / Allen Key Bolt
The caliper is held in place by two combination bolts and caliper slider pins.

To remove them, you'll need either a 7mm hex head socket or an Allen key wrench.

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Loosen With 7mm Wrench
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Spin Out Upper Bolt
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Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Loosen the two caliper bolts by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).
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Spin Out Lower Bolt
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Lower Bolt / Slider Pin
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Remove Upper Bolt / Pin
Spin out the two caliper bolts / slider pins and set them aside in a safe place.
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Brake Parts Grease
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Lift Off Front Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
Carefully lift the caliper out of the bracket and rest it on the suspension or hang it from the spring with a bungee cord or some rope.
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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Pull Out Old Inner Pad
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Attach "C" Clamp To Piston
Pull the old outer pad out of the bracket and remove the old inner pad from the caliper piston.

I always buy the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1564 ceramic brake pads since they don't require any backing plates, shims or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators. The Bosch BC1044 "QuietCast" pads are also a good choice.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new pads, you'll need to compress the caliper piston backwards.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper using an old brake pad to evenly distribute the force across the caliper piston.



 

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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Slowly Compress Piston
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Move to the right rear area of the engine bay (closest to the driver's seat) and twist off the brake fluid cap in the counter clockwise direction.

Removing the brake fluid reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the system when you compress the caliper piston.

Very slowly compress the caliper piston backwards with the "C" clamp until it is flush with the rubber dust boot while repeatedly checking the brake fluid level in the reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

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

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

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) 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 vehicle previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations while braking, you may need to have the rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with new rotors. If this is the first front brake job on your Focus 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, just 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.

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Install New Outer Pad
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New Inner Pad - Caliper Piston
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Replace Caliper In Bracket
Insert the new outer pad in to the caliper bracket.

Push the new inner pad in to the caliper piston.

Carefully lower the caliper down in to the caliper bracket and over the new outer pad.

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Insert Upper Bolt / Pin
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Insert Lower Caliper Bolt
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Spin In Lower Bolt
In order for the caliper to work properly and brake smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Apply a thin layer of high temperature brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of the two combination caliper bolts and slider pins. Do not apply grease to the threads at the upper part of the bolts/pins.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the corresponding holes in the bracket.

Insert the two caliper bolts / pins and spin them in by hand a few turns to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Bolt
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Spin In Upper Bolt/Pin
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Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts to just past hand tight or about 21 ft lbs of torque by turning them counter clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 7mm hex head socket or Allen key wrench.

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

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Pop In Plastic Bolt Caps
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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve

Push in the two black plastic caps over the caliper bolts.

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or "spongy", the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain 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 near the upper caliper bolt.

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Replace Metal Spring Clip
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Replace Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Re-attach the metal spring clip to the outer face of the caliper.

Replace the front wheel and spin on the five lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
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Lower Front of Vehicle
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Torque Lug Nuts
Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron in a criss-cross or "star" pattern.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands and floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the 5 lug nuts in a criss-cross or star 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 and pump the brake pedal a few times to restore brake line pressure.

Check that the brake fluid level in the reservoir is correct. If it is low, add some new DOT 3 fluid.

Take the car for a short and cautious test drive with the windows down so you can hear any abnormal noises while braking.

To break in your new pads, just drive normally for the first several 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 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 Ford Focus Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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