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Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the rear disc brake pads on a 4th generation 2016 to 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata with the part numbers.

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2018 Miata Rear Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Rear of Vehicle

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation ND (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021) Mazda MX-5 Miata in changing the rear disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2 (Demio), Mazda3 (Axela), Mazda5, Mazda6 (Atenza), CX-3, CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, RX-8 and MPV may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench (or a 21mm or 13/16" socket), a floor jack, two jack stands, a 12mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet, a 17mm wrench, a Lisle 28600 disc brake piston tool and a tube of brake caliper grease.

A few compatible replacement sets of new rear brake pads with their part numbers include the following: EBC DP41775R, Centric 105.118, Bosch BP1180, Power Stop Z23-1180, StopTech 309.11800 and Wagner QuickStop ZD1180.

The first few steps are to park the car on a level surface, shift the transmission into park and turn off the ignition.


Spin Off Lug Nuts
Four Lug Nuts Removed
Pull Off Rear Wheel
Make sure that the emergency / parking brake is NOT engaged.

If the parking brake is engaged, you will not be able to pull the rear caliper off the old brake pads and out of the bracket.

Place wheel chocks on both sides of the front tires to prevent the car from moving.

Slightly loosen the four lug nuts on the rear wheel by turning them about 1/2 turn in the counterclockwise direction with the tire iron. You can also use a 21mm socket or a 13/16" socket with a 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar.

Carefully raise the rear of the vehicle with the floor jack until the tire is about an inch or two off the ground.

I prefer to only work on one side of the car at a time in order to keep three tires on the ground for extra safety.

Securely support the vehicle with at least two jack stands.

Do not solely rely on the floor jack to support the vehicle.

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

Carefully remove the rear wheel and set it aside. Some people like to place the wheel under the frame rail of the car for extra safety just in case the floor jack and jack stands fail.

Rear Brake Caliper
Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Hold Pin With Wrench
Once the rear wheel is out of the way, you'll be able to see the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

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

Loosen the lower caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 12mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

If the caliper slider pin turns as you are attempting to loosen the caliper bolt, hold the pin in place with a 17mm wrench.

Loosen Top Caliper Bolt
Spin Out Upper Bolt
Spin Out Bottom Bolt
Then loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (when viewed from the outside of the car) with the 12mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

If the caliper slider pin moves when you are trying to loosen the bolt, hold it with the 17mm wrench.

Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

2 Caliper Bolts Removed
Lift Caliper Off Pads
Rest Caliper On Bracket
Carefully pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old brake pads.

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

Rest the caliper on top of the bracket or suspend it from the suspension spring with a bungee cord or some twine / rope.

The rear brake calipers are equipped with "screw-in" type pistons that need to rotated back in order to retract them.

Remove Old Inner Pad
Remove Old Outer Pad
Pad Abutment Clips
Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket.

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

On this 2018 Miata, the wear indicator bar was located at the top of the old inner pad.

If your new set of rear pads includes a bag of replacement hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Thoroughly clean off the rotor, bracket, caliper and lug studs with some CRC Brake Parts Cleaner spray.

Try to avoid breathing in the brake dust or the cleaning spray.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to the new pad abutment clips where they will come in contact with the bracket or the ends ("ears") of the new pads.

Push the new pad abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket.

Replace Abutment Clips
Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace Pins
Make sure that the new pad abutment clips are fully seated in the top and bottom of the bracket.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide bolts" need to be well lubricated.

Pull the slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the bracket.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of the two pins before pushing them back into the bracket.

Make sure the rubber dust boot "snaps" or "pops" over the metal lip on the pins.

Rotate the pins a few times to help spread the grease.

Disc Brake Piston Tool
Rotate Back Caliper Piston
Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston will need to be retracted back into place.

Test fit the various sides of the Lisle 28600 disc brake piston tool to see which side has the best grip on the caliper piston.

I found that the side with the four "A" shaped nubs or pegs seemed to have the best fit.

Attach the piston tool to a short 3/8" drive ratchet and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

If you don't have a piston tool, you may be able to use a pair of needle nose pliers to turn back the piston.

Slowly turn the piston in the clockwise direction to retract it back. Continue rotating the piston until it is just about flush with the rubber dust boot that surrounds it.

If you feel a lot of resistance while turning the piston, remove the brake fluid reservoir cap in the right rear area of the engine bay and check the fluid level.

If you've been feeling vibrations or shuddering in the back of the car when you step on the brake pedal, the original OEM rotors might be warped and they should be replaced with new rotors.

To replace the rotors, remove the two 14mm bolts on the back side of the bracket, pull the bracket off the rotor, slide the old rotor off and slide the new rotor into place. Replace the bracket and the two 14mm bolts. Tighten the bracket bolts to the shop manual specification of 38 to 48 lb-ft of torque (or 51-66 Nm).

Install the new inner and outer brake pads into the bracket.

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


Install New Outer Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Lower Caliper Over Pads
Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and into the bracket.

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

Spin In Bottom Bolt
Spin In Top Bolt
Hold Pin With Wrench
Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding bolt holes in the 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.

Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with the 12mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the caliper bolts to the service manual specification of 15 to 18 lb-ft of torque (or 20 to 20 Nm).

If the caliper bolts spin as you are attempting to tighten them, hold them in place with the 17mm wrench.

Tighten Top Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
Bleeder Valve
Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake lines might contain a few air bubbles or some water. It would be best to bleed the brake lines and replace the fluid with fresh brake fluid.

I prefer using the Allstar ALL11017 one person bleeder bottle that has a one-way check valve and a magnet to hold the bottle in place to the rotor. It makes bleeding brakes an easy one person job.

Check out my Acura MDX Brake Line Bleeding Guide for more info on the procedure of using the bleeder bottle.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located on the back side of the caliper just below the top bolt. It is protected by a black rubber cap.

Push On Rear Wheel
Spin On 4 Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Push the rear wheel back into place.

Spin on the four lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction with the lug nut wrench or a 21mm or 13/16" socket with a 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar.

Lower Car From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Rear Brake Pads Replaced
Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the four lug nuts in a "criss-cross" or star pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight with the tire iron or a 21mm or 13/16" socket and a 1/2" drive breaker bar or ratchet.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the owner's manual specification of 80 to 108 lb-ft of torque (or 108-147 Nm).

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

Check the level in the brake fluid reservoir. If the level is low, pour in some fresh DOT 3 brake fluid until it reaches the "MAX" line.

It would be a good idea to check your driveway, parking spot or garage floor for drops of fresh brake fluid over the next few days since it could indicate a leak from the caliper or bleeder valve.

I'd also recommend checking that the lug nuts are still tight after your next few trips.

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

For more, check out all of my 2016-2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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