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

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2013 Optima Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Front 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 front 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 ratcheting wrench, a packet of brake parts lubricant grease and a new set of front brake pads.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Wagner # ZD1444 or QC1444, Raybestos PGD1444C, ACDelco 17D1444CH, Bendix D1413, Bosch BC1444, ACDelco 14D1444CH and Perfect Stop PS1444C.

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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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5 Lug Nuts Removed
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Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
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.

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

Then raise the front 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 front wheel to reveal the brake caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts located on the back side of the caliper.

Loosen the two caliper bolts by turning them clockwise, as seen from the outside of the vehicle, with the 14mm socket and 3/8" ratcheting wrench.

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Remove Lower Caliper Bolt
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Spin Out Upper Caliper Bolt
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Lift Off Front Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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

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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Wear Bar - Bottom Inner Pad
Pull the old inner and outer pads out of the caliper bracket.

Make a mental note of how the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is located on the old brake pads. On this 2013 Optima EX, the wear bar was located at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

I recommend buying the Raybestos PGD1444C brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon.



 

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Replace Pad Abutment Clips
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
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Lubricate & Replace Pins
If your new set of front brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull out 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 inside the bracket need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots, apply a thin layer of brake parts grease to each before re-inserting them in to their dust boots.

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

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, closest to the driver's seat, and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counter clockwise direction.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp's handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the piston while repeatedly checking the level in the brake fluid reservoir to make sure it doesn't overflow.

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

Compress back the caliper piston until it is flush with its rubber dust boot. Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the piston's rubber dust boot.

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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Brake Pads
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Push Pads Against Rotor
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 front 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 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. 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 caliper bracket with the wear indicator bar situated at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

Push the two pads flush against the rotor.

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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Re-Insert Upper Caliper Bolt
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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper down over the new brake pads and in to the bracket.

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

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

Re-insert the two caliper bolts and spin them in a few turns by hand in the counter clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Counter Clockwise
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Tighten Lower 14mm Bolt
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Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts by turning them counter clockwise with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft-lbs of torque.

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

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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts Clockwise

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 near the upper caliper bolt.

Replace the front wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
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Lower Vehicle From Stands
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Torque To 65.1-79.5 ft-lbs
Slightly tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern with the tire iron.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack.

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 press 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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