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VW Jetta Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 6th generation MK6 2011 to 2016 Volkswagen Jetta with pictures.

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2012 Jetta Front Wheel
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Pull Off Plastic Hub Cab
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Wheel Cover Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 6th generation MK6 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) Volkswagen Jetta in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of other VW Group vehicles with similar front brake hardware such as the Passat, CC, Tiguan, Golf, Touareg, Beetle, GTI, SportWagen, Eos, Rabbit, Bora, Vento, Lavida, Audi A3, A4, S4, A6, S6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, A5, S5, TT and the previous 5th generation MK5 (2005-2010) Jetta may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a flathead screwdriver, a 7mm hex head socket or "Allen Key" wrench, a 15mm wrench or pliers, a "C" clamp, a packet of synthetic brake parts lubricant grease, and a new set of front brake pads.

Some Jetta models are equipped with an electronic wear indicator sensor attached to the inner brake pad on the driver's side. Please verify whether or not your vehicle is equipped with a sensor before purchasing new pads.


A few compatible aftermarket sets of front brake pads for the 2012 Jetta 2.5 SE Sedan with their part numbers are as follows: Bosch BP1107, Bosch BP768A, Centric Parts 104.11070, Callahan EBYP10042B, Bendix D1107, Raybestos PGD1107C, Monroe DX1107A, Dura International BP1107AC, ACDelco 14D768AC, TRW TPC1107ES, Wagner MX1107, Wearever Platinum Ceramic PNAD1107, Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1107, and Bosch # BP768.

Please double check that the new front brake pads you intend to buy are compatible with your Jetta's model year, trim level, and caliper brand (TRW or Bosch) by visiting the manufacturer's application guide website, using the Amazon Part Finder website or by calling an auto parts store.

The part numbers may vary depending on whether your vehicle has the electronic wear sensor, by the model year, and if it is equipped with either rear drum brakes or rear disc brakes.

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5 Lug Nuts Exposed
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Loosen Counter Clockwise
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Raise Front of Vehicle
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.

If your Jetta is equipped with plastic wheel covers or "hub caps", gently pull them off the front wheels and set them aside in a safe place.

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

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 car at a time for extra safety.

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Spin Off Lug Bolts
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5 Lug Bolts Removed
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Pull Off Front Wheel
Spin off the 5 lug bolts in the counter clockwise direction and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull off the front wheel to reveal the front brake caliper, bracket (A.K.A. "carrier"), rotor and suspension.

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Pry Off Metal Spring Clip
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Spring Clip Removed
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Front Brake Caliper
If you have safety glasses, I'd recommend wearing them to protect your eyes during the next step.

Very carefully pry off the metal spring clip from the outer side of the front brake caliper with a flathead screwdriver.

Be careful since the spring clip may fly off and hit you in the face. It would be best to hold it with one hand while prying it off with the screwdriver in your other hand.

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Plastic Caliper Bolt Cover
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Pry Off Plastic End Cap
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7mm Hex Head Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket or "carrier" by two combination bolts and slider pins on the back side of the caliper facing the engine bay.

Pry off the round black plastic covers at the end of the caliper bolt dust boots with the flathead screwdriver.

Once the dust caps have been removed, you'll be able to access the 7mm hex head or "Allen Key" dual purpose caliper bolts and guide pins.

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Pry Off Lower Plastic Cap
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Loosen With 7mm Allen Key
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Loosen Lower 7mm Bolt
Loosen the upper and lower caliper bolts/pins by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with a 7mm hex head socket or an Allen Key wrench.
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Spin Out Lower Bolt
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Lower Caliper Bolt Removed
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Spin Out Upper Caliper Bolt
Continue spinning out the upper and lower caliper bolts/pins until they can be removed.

If the bolts/pins are stuck inside their dust boots, you can gently push them out by their threads with the flathead screwdriver in the space between the caliper and the bracket.

Set the two caliper bolts / slider pins aside in a safe place.

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Pull Out Bolt / Slider Pin
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Lift Off Brake Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
Carefully lift the brake caliper out of the bracket and either rest it on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord or twine.

Try to avoid stressing, kinking or bending the rubber brake fluid line.

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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Pull Pad Out Of Piston
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Attach "C" Clamp To Piston
Pull the old outer brake pad from the bracket.

Pull the old inner brake pad out of the piston in the caliper.

If you are replacing the driver's side pads, you will need to disconnect the wire for the electronic wear indicator sensor.

I recommend buying the Bosch BP1107 front brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon. (But please verify that they will fit your Jetta model.)

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new pads, the piston will need to be pushed back in to the caliper body.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper piston using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure.



 

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Brake Fluid Reservoir
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Compress Caliper Piston
Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and twist off the round black plastic brake fluid reservoir cap in the counter clockwise direction.

The reservoir is located under the right rear corner of the engine cover and to the left of the 12V automotive battery.

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

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress the piston back in to the caliper 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 surface.

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

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boot.

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Twist On Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Outer Pad
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Push New Pad In To Piston
Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible once you are done compressing the caliper piston since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air). Twist on the cap in the clockwise direction.

Apply a thin layer of synthetic 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 outer brake pad in to the caliper bracket.

Snap the metal tabs on the rear of the new inner brake pad in to the caliper piston.

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 Jetta 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 Torx set screw on the front of the rotor and 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. Replace the Torx set screw and tighten the two caliper bracket bolts to about 59 ft-lbs with a torque wrench.

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Lower Caliper In To Bracket
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Lubricate Caliper Slider Pins
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Re-Insert Upper Caliper Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper down over the new brake pads and line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the corresponding holes in the bracket.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly and not have the pads drag on the rotor, the smooth part of the two combination caliper bolts and slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to the smooth sections of each caliper bolt/pin. Do not apply lube to the threads at the ends of the bolts.

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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
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Tighten Counter Clockwise
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Torque To ~26 ft-lbs
Slide the two caliper bolts/pins in to the caliper and spin them in by hand a few turns in the counter clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 7mm hex head socket or Allen Key to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Then tighten the two caliper bolts in the counter clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) to just past hand tight or about 26 ft-lbs of torque.

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

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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
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Replace Plastic Cap
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Push In Plastic Bolt Cover
Push the black plastic caps back in to place over the rubber dust boots surrounding the caliper bolts/pins.
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Line Up Metal Spring Clip
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Re-Install Metal Clip
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Rubber Valve Cap

Line up the metal spring clip over the outer edge of the caliper and attach it in place.

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 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 located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper near the upper caliper bolt.

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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the five lug bolts in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.
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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
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Lower Car From Stands
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Torque To 88 ft-lbs
Slightly tighten the 5 lug bolts in a criss cross or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

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

Continue progressively tightening the lug bolts in a criss cross or star pattern to 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight or about 88 ft-lbs (120 Nm) of torque.

It would be best to use a torque wrench or an electric impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

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Line Up Plastic Hub Cap
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Firmly Tap On Wheel Cover
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Front Brake Pads Replaced!

Line up the plastic wheel cover with the cut out section for the tire air valve in the correct position. Firmly push and tap the hub cap in to place. Double check that the plastic wheel cover is securely attached to the wheel.

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 4 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 VW Jetta DIY Repair Guides.
 

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