Caliper Bracket - Difficult To Get Leverage/Space With Breaker Bar

I’ve been spending days trying to take out the caliper bracket off my VW Passat. I’m trying to replace pads and rotors for the rear. The bracket bolts are in a difficult spot for me to insert a breaker bar and get leverage. I can barely fit my socket wrench in the area, but there is no way the bolts will loosen. Has anyone ever experienced this? It seems that the only way to get the leverage needed is to raise up the car but I don’t have that kind of technology. The socket size for the bolts is M14.

Thanks in advance.

I’d try a combination wrench… the closed end… with a pipe on the end and sometimes a hammer. The hammer is on the shank of the wrench to shock the bolt loose while applying torque. Works best with tools warrantied for life… the life of an abused tool, that is.

Or you can loop another combo wrench closed end over the open and and use that as a lever extension.

I find that a choice string of the vilest obscenities helps, too. I can’t post any suggestions on a family site so allow your own mind to be creative… :scream_cat:


almost as well as PB Blaster


My neighbor asked me to come over and help him get the calipers/brackets off his car.

When I got there, he just had the vehicle raised up as far as the scissor jack that came with the car would raise it. No jack stands. :roll_eyes:

No room for leverage.

I ran back to the shop and got my floor jack and a couple of jack stands so he could raise the vehicle higher.

A couple of hours latter he returned the stuff, and said it made it a hell of a lot easier.

So, if you want to do this type of work, you have to raise the vehicle.


Air compressor and impact wrench.

Have you removed the caliper from the bracket?

Generally no room for an impact gun on caliper bracket bolts. You can try a box wrench and hammer. Or a box wrench over your ratchet handle to give you 90 degree leverage.

Bosx wrenches are not used much any more , but when I first started working on cars,hardly anyone but pro mechanics had ratchet sets. A complete shade tree wrench set included, deep off set box wrenches, open end and combo wrenches and of course, no metrics,

I had to dig out one of my old Craftsman 90 degree off set box wrenches. I was removing a lawn mower engine from a rotted deck and the bolt heads were shallow and incredibly tight, every socket I had had too much champ-her to grab the head securely and I did not want ,to grind off a good socket. Th old box wrench and a hammer did it.

I have about a 10" piece of square tubing that fits over the ratchet. So it can slide up or down depending on how much room I have or what leverage I need. On caliper bolts though, I just give the pipe a hard rap with a hammer to dislodge it. The nice thing about a ratchet is you make sure you are turning it the right direction. I don’t know anything about the VW layout though but can’t be that much different.

Edit: Yeah I missed the part about not having the technology to raise the car. You do need to take the wheel off, and then you do need to put a jack stand under it for safety. Just bite the bullet and spend $20-30 for a “lifetime” of use. I’m sure mine are 40 year old and still fine. Yeah I did take them over to the neighbor that had his kid’s car jacked up and working underneath. Cheap life insurance.

If you are saying that you are trying to redo the brakes with no floor jack and jack stands you really need to rethink this entire repair. That can turn out to be a lethal thing to do and when a car falls it will happen in a nano-second.
With the car down low you are not going to get any leverage anyway.

As I mentioned recently on another thread; 3 people in my area have died when cars fell on them. One was a long time friend and the saddest one of all was a 21 year old guy changing his motor oil with only a scissor jack. He left behind a young wife and 2 kids; ages 2 and 3.

To clarify: I am using a jack. I wouldn’t be able to take the wheel off without a jack. However the jack I am using is the one that came with the spare tire. I own a floor jack though so maybe that will lift the car higher. I own jack stands but I didn’t use them because my VW has those four jack points. I can’t fit both a jack and jack stand under them at the same time. For extra protection, I place the wheel I took off underneath the car.

That’s nuts. If you don’t have the proper equipment to do the job SAFELY then take it someplace or buy the right equipment.

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Putting the removed wheel under the car is a smart move.

You need to find a different place to jack from, so that you can put the jack stands at the corner lift points. They can be found. But if you’re uncomfortable in selecting a different spot then don’t do it. The wrong place could damage something or get the jack stuck.

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Those are for emergencies only, use your floor jack

Then stop doing what you’re doing. Don’t rely on a jack alone. The tire is a good backup to the jack stands, but it shouldn’t be your primary backup. I put the jack stands under the frame when I’m using mine.


And this is especially dangerous when you’re trying to loosen a stuck nut/bolt, you can push the car enough for the small car jack to fall over. You MUST use jack stands.


Placing the wheel that was removed under the car adjacent to the wheel well can offer some protection but a jack stand on a level concrete surface is highly recommended.

I am beginning to conclude that this is a job you should not proceed with. There is just a general lack of understanding. You don’t need to jack the car up higher than to get the wheel off. You don’t need to put the jack stands under the four jacking points. You used the emergency jack but have a floor jack and jack stands, but don’t have the technology to deal with safely raising the car?

Sorry but I’m done here. Just take it to a dealer before someone gets hurt.


I am trying to learn. I was successful in changing my front brakes and rotors. I was able to do my own oil change. The rear rotors/pads are a different story. That is why I am here.

Some rear rotor caliper brackets rotate when you remove 1 bolt. You don’t have to remove bracket to service brakes. Does the manual say remove bracket?

Rotors were being replaced requiring the caliper and bracket to be removed as I understand it anyway.

On cars with a closed caliper design, you have to remove the bracket to get the rotor off. On an open caliper design yo don’t need to remove the bracket.