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Smart Fortwo Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 2nd generation 2008 to 2014 Smart Fortwo including part numbers.

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2013 Fortwo Front Wheel
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Gently Pry Off Hub Cap
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Wheel Cover Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) Smart Fortwo compact city car in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of any Smart Fortwo models or trim levels such as the coupe hatchback, cabriolet or "cabrio", electric, pure, passion, forfour, prime and proxy may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner ThermoQuiet MX1252, Power Stop (16-1252) Z16, DuraGo BP1252MS, Bosch BP1252, TRW TPC1252, Raybestos PGD1252M, Monroe DX1252, Centric Parts 104.12520, Bendix D1252 CQ and ACDelco 17D1252M.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a plastic pry bar tool, a 15mm lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 13 mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratchet, an "F" clamp and a tube of brake parts lubricant grease.

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Floor Jack - Lift Point
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Support With Jack Stands
The first two steps are to park the car on a level surface and turn off the ignition.

Engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Use a plastic pry bar tool or a flathead screwdriver to gently pull off the plastic wheel cover (or "hub cap").

Set the wheel cover aside in a safe place.

Slightly loosen the three lug bolts by turning them counterclockwise with the lug nut wrench or a 15mm socket with a ratchet.

Locate the jack point marked by a triangle on the underside of the car.

Raise 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 to keep three tires on the ground for extra safety.

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Spin Off Lug Bolts
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Remove Plastic Center Cap
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3 Lug Bolts Removed
Spin off the three lug bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Remove the plastic cap in the center of the wheel and set it aside with the wheel cover.

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Set Aside Front Wheel
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Rotor, Bracket, Caliper
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Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Pull off the front wheel to reveal the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper with the bolt heads facing in towards the center of the car.

Loosen the lower caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 13mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Hold Caliper Slider Pin
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Hold Bottom Slider Pin
Loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 13mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

If the caliper slider pins (A.K.A. "guide bolts") spin as you are attempting to loosen the caliper bolts, hold the pins in place with a 17mm wrench.

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Spin Out Top Bolt
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Remove Bottom Bolt
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Pull Off Brake Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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

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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Wear Bar Inner Brake Pad
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Remove Old Outer Pad
Try to avoid stressing, kinking, bending or stressing the rubber brake fluid hose.

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

Pull the two old brake pads out of the caliper bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bar or "squeal" bar is located on the old pads.

On this 2013 Fortwo, the wear indicator bar was situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

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Pull Out Slider Pins
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Lubricate & Replace Pins
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18mm Bracket Bolts
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the upper and lower caliper slider pins (or "guide" bolts) out of their rubber dust boots within the bracket.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of both pins before pushing them back in to place.

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, lug nut studs and the brake caliper assembly with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since inhaling brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (cancer causing) if inhaled.

If your Fortwo previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the front end while braking, you might need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the car's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just change the pads with excellent results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, remove the two 18mm bolts on the rear of the caliper bracket that attach it to the steering knuckle. Remove the bracket and set it aside in a safe place. Then loosen the old rotor with a rubber mallet, pull it off, and slide the new one in its place.

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Two Bracket Bolts
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Front Service Flap (Hood)
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Push In Tab - Open Lever
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, you'll have to compress back the caliper piston.

Before compressing the caliper piston, you should remove the brake fluid reservoir cap.

To access the brake fluid reservoir, you'll need to remove the hood (A.K.A. bonnet or "service flap").

Move to the front of the car and locate the two black plastic levers in the grille.

Push the release tab in towards the center of the car and swing open the lever towards yourself.

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Open Left Side Lever
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Lift Open Front Edge
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Service Flap Removed
Repeat the process to open the lever on the other side of the hood.

Gently lift up the front edge of the service flap.

Pull the service flap towards yourself to remove the two black plastic tabs on the rear edge from their slots.

Either attach the service flap hooks on the rear edge to the front of the car or just gently rest the hood on the ground.



 

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Front Left Side
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Brake Fluid Reservoir
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Twist Off Counterclockwise
The brake fluid reservoir is located on the left (passenger) side of the vehicle.

Twist off the black plastic reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

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

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"F" Clamp
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Attach Clamp To Caliper
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Compress Caliper Piston
Attach the "F" clamp to the caliper and use the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the piston.

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

Repeatedly check the brake fluid level in the reservoir while you are compressing back the piston to prevent it from overflowing.

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

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

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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Line Up Plastic Hood
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Re-Insert Black Plastic Tabs
As soon as you are done compressing the caliper piston, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the air.

If the brake fluid level in the reservoir is low, pour in some fresh DOT 4 brake fluid.

To replace the service flap (hood), line up the two black plastic tabs on the rear edge with their corresponding slots on the cowl.

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Push Closed Front Edge
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Close Plastic Lever
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Secure Right Side Fastener
Slide the rear edge of the service flap back in to place.

Lower the front edge of the service flap down against the grille.

Swing closed the two black plastic levers.

Push on the levers until you hear or feel the retaining clips click in to place.

Double check that the service flap is properly secured.

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Service Flap Secured
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Install New Outer Pad
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Install the two new brake pads in to the bracket.

I've always had great experiences with the Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads and they have excellent reviews on Amazon.

The wear indicator bar should be situated at the top of the new inner pad.

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Push Pads Against Rotor
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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

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

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

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

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Tighten Counterclockwise
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Tighten Lower Bolt
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Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning them counterclockwise (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 13mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight or about 22 lb-ft of torque.

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake fluid might 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 new DOT 4 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 covered by a rubber cap and located just below the top caliper bolt.

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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Brake Pads Replaced
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Replace Front Wheel
Carefully push the front wheel back in to place.
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Spin In Three Lug Bolts
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Tighten Clockwise
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Slightly Tighten Lug Bolts
Spin in the three lug bolts in the clockwise direction a few turns by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug bolts with the 15mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

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Replace Plastic Center Cap
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Lower Car From Stands
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Torque To 81 lb-ft
Push the plastic center cap back in to place between the three lug bolts.

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

Tighten the three lug bolts to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight or about 81 lb-ft of torque.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to properly tighten the lug bolts to the proper 81 lb-ft specification in the owner's manual.

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

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Line Up Tire Valve & Hole
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Firmly Tap On Hub Cap
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Brake Job Complete
Line up the hole in the plastic wheel cover with the tire valve.

Firmly tap on the wheel cover to secure it in place.

Sit in the driver's seat of the car and firmly push down the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure.

To break in your new front 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 fresh brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and also verify that the lug bolts are still tight.

Be sure to record the brake pad change in your car's service records.

For more, check out all of my 2008-2014 Smart Fortwo DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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