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Mazda Mazda3 Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the rear disc brake pads on a 2nd generation 2010-2013 Mazda Mazda3 with photo illustrated steps.

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Mazda3 Rear Wheel
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Slightly Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Rear of Vehicle

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013) Mazda Mazda3 in changing the rear disc brake pads.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2, Mazda5, Mazda6, MX-5 Miata, Mazdaspeed3, CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, MPV, Tribute, RX-8, Axela, Demio, Verisa, Premacy, and Atenza may also find these rear brake job DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items required to complete this procedure include a floor jack, jack stands, a tire iron, a flathead screwdriver, either a 7mm hex head socket or a 7mm "Allen key" wrench, a "C" clamp and a packet of brake parts lubricant grease.

A few compatible replacement sets of new rear brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Wagner ZD973A, Akebono EUR1095, ACDelco 14D1095CH, Bosch BP1095, Bendix D1095 CQ and Raybestos PGD1095C.

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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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Five Lug Nuts Removed
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Pull Off Rear Wheel
The first two steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface and then chock the front wheels to prevent it from moving.

Slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the rear wheel with the tire iron.

Raise the rear of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with at least 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 5 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

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

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Rear Brake Caliper
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Pry Off Metal Spring Clip
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Spring Clip Removed
Carefully pry off the metal spring clip on the front side of the brake caliper with the flathead screwdriver.

Be careful when removing the metal spring clip since it may fly off and hit you in the face. It would be best to wear safety glasses if you have them available.

Set the clip aside in a safe place.

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Pry Off Caliper Bolt Cover
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Plastic Bolt Cover Removed
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Remove Lower Bolt Cover
Pry off the round plastic caps on the rear side of the caliper that cover the two caliper bolts with the flathead screwdriver.

Set the caps aside in a safe place.

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7mm Hex / Allen Bolt
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Turn Clockwise - Loosen
Loosen the upper caliper bolt with a 7mm hex head socket or Allen key wrench by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Then move to the bottom of the caliper and loosen the lower 7mm hex head caliper bolt.

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Remove Lower Bolt/Pin
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Push Out Upper Caliper Bolt
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Upper Bolt Removed
Pull out the two combination caliper bolts and slider pins.

If you have trouble removing the bolts, use a flathead screwdriver to push them out of the caliper.

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2 Caliper Bolts / Pins
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Pull Off Rear Caliper
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Remove Old Outer Pad
Set the two combo caliper bolts/pins aside in a safe place.

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



 

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Remove Old Inner Pad
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Check Caliper Piston Tool
Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket.

In order for the caliper piston to fit over the thicker new pads, it will need to be turned backwards.

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.

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

Normally for a "screw in" type caliper piston, I would use my Lisle # 28600 disc brake piston tool. But none of the sides seemed to be a good fit for the rear caliper piston on this 2012 Mazda3.

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Turn Back Caliper Piston
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Outer Pad
So instead, I used a pair of needle nose pliers to turn back the caliper piston in the clockwise direction.

Slowly turn back the caliper piston while repeatedly checking the brake fluid level in the reservoir to ensure that it does not overflow. Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since it can easily damage painted surfaces.

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic and 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 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 brake caliper grease to the friction surface of the new pads.

If your vehicle previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the first rear brake job on your Mazda3 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 Inner Pad
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Push Pads Against Rotor
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Lower Caliper On Pads
I recommend buying either the Akebono EUR1095 brake pads or the ACDelco 14D1095CH (for about half the price) since they both have great reviews on Amazon.

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket and push them together flush against the rotor.

Lower the rear brake caliper down over the new pads and in to the bracket.

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

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Lube Caliper Slider Pins
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Insert Lower Caliper Bolt
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Insert Upper Caliper Bolt
Apply a thin layer of high temperature brake parts lubricant or "caliper grease" to the combination caliper bolts / slider pins.

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

Insert the two combination caliper bolts and slider pins in to the caliper.

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Spin In Bolts / Pins
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Tighten Upper 7mm Bolt
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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the 7mm hex head socket or Allen key wrench to just past hand tight or about 20-22 ft lbs of torque.

To tighten the caliper bolts, turn them in the counter clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

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Re-Insert Bolt Cover
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Replace Upper Bolt Cover
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Replace Metal Spring Clip
Double check that both of the caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Pop in the two round black plastic caliper bolt caps in to place.

Re-attach the metal spring clip on to the front side of the rear brake caliper.

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Spring Clip Installed
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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve

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 in the middle of the two caliper bolts.

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Replace Rear Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the 5 lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

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Lower Car From Jack
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Torque Lug Nuts
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Rear Brake Job Done
Lower the rear of the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack until the wheel holds enough weight to keep it from spinning.

Continue 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 75-80 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 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 rear brake 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 verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

For more, check out my other 2010-2013 Mazda Mazda3 Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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