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Mazda CX-5 Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 1st generation 2012-2016 Mazda CX-5 with pictures and part numbers.

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2013 CX-5 Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Front of Vehicle
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & the refreshed 2016 model year) Mazda CX-5 SUV in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda 2, Mazda 3, Mazda 5, Mazda 6, CX-7, CX-9, and the MX-5 Miata may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet or a 14mm wrench, a "C" or "F" clamp and a tube of synthetic brake parts lubricant grease.

A few replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1623, Carquest Wearever Ceramic PXD1623H, Power Stop 16-1623, Raybestos PGD1623C, TRW Automotive TPC1623, Bendix D1623, EBC Brakes # UD1623, Centric 105.16230 and Monroe GX1623.

Spin Off Lug Nuts
5 Lug Nuts Removed
Rotor, Bracket, Caliper
The first two steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface and then turn off the engine.

Then engage the emergency parking brake and chock both sides of the rear wheels to prevent the SUV from moving.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

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

Spin off the 5 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull off the front wheel to reveal the caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

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

Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Then loosen the lower 14mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Spin Out Bottom Bolt
Spin Out Top Bolt
Two Caliper Bolts Removed
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.
Lift Off Brake Caliper
Rest Caliper On Suspension
Remove Old Outer Pad
Carefully lift the brake caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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

Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Pull Out Caliper Slider Pin
Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bar or "squeal" bar was situated on the old pads.

On this 2013 CX-5 Sport, the wear bar was situated at the top of the inner pad.

I recommend buying the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1623 brake pads. I really like how they don't require any backing plates, shims or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators.

If your new set of front brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket before pushing the new ones in to place.

In order for the brake caliper to work smoothly, the two caliper slider or "guide" pins in the bracket need to be well lubricated.

Pull the upper and lower caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to each before pushing them back in.

Lubricate & Replace Pins
Attach "F" Clamp To Caliper
Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston needs to be compressed backwards.

Attach the "C" or "F" 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 and twist off the black plastic brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

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

Compress Caliper Piston
Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Install New Outer Pad

Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the piston until it is flush with its rubber dust boot.

Check the level in the reservoir while you are compressing the piston to make sure it doesn't over flow.

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

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

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


Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Lower Caliper In To Bracket
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.

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 CX-5 previously exhibited shuddering, pulsations, or vibrations in the front end during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the first front brake job on your SUV 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, 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.

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear indicator or "squeal" bar situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

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

Spin In Upper Caliper Bolt
Replace Lower Caliper Bolt
Tighten 14mm Caliper Bolt
Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

Spin in the two caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Torque To 20-25 lb-ft
Rubber Valve Cap
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20 to 25 lb-ft of torque.

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

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 just below the top caliper bolt.

Push On Front Wheel
Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Replace the front wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts in the clockwise direction.

If you have a 13/16" socket with an extension bar, you can use that to quickly spin on the lug nuts.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in a "star" or "criss cross" pattern with the tire iron by turning them in the clockwise direction.

Lower From Jack Stands
Torque To 80-108 lb-ft
Front Brake Pads Replaced
Carefully lower the SUV from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue tightening the lug nuts in the clockwise direction to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to make sure that the lug nuts are properly tightened. The CX-5 owner's manual specifies that the lug nuts should be tightened to between 80 to 108 lb-ft of torque.

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 front 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 or garage 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 all of my Mazda CX-5 DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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