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First Time DIY replacing brakes, rotors and calipers-- 2004 honda Accord EX

So the brake pads, rotors and calipers (rear only) need replacing. I’ve been recommended by the diagnostic shop to stick with OEM parts for all of them and avoid after market parts as they have a far shorter lifespan. Does anyone have experience that either supports or counters this recommendation?

As far as the actual repair is concerned, I wanted to know if anyone had any tips of important points to make sure I don’t miss while doing the repair. I plan to research this a bit and watch a couple DIY videos. But as it’s my first go at this and I’m treading unfamiliar territory, I want to cover all bases. I was also thinking of having the brakes looked over after the job is done just to be sure, it’s brakes after all and a critical error on my part could have awful consequences.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this vehicle is mostly used for local driving only. On rare occasions it will take drives for an hour or more, but only rarely. This plays a factor in my parts selection, I don’t need anything for performance. Mostly whatever can get me another 30k on the car at least.

Buy/borrow a Haynes manual for your car. Why replace the calipers?

You’ll need a rear brake caliper tool to rotate piston back into the caliper.

AutoZone will rent this tool.


I second on Buying a Hayes or Chilton manual for your spacific car. I think they are about $30 and will come in handy.

One pointer; When you do compress the caliper pistons, be sure to open the bleeder screws first and allow the fluid to drain into a pan. You should never push the fluid back into the ABS accuator or you could damage it and it will cost a lot more to fix along with a towing bill to the shop to do it right.


This is a BIG bite for a first time DIY project…I would have an experienced hand ride along with you for this one…If the rotors and calipers are sound, I would just replace the brake pads and drive on…
Buying new parts from the dealers parts counter will triple the cost of doing this repair and is not necessary…

Worried about brake squeal because of glazed rotors? Ask for a product called CRC De-Squeak, follow the directions…

As Tester mentioned, the caliper pistons need to be ROTATED back into position, you can’t just push them back with a C-clamp…And yes, open the bleeder, don’t force the old fluid back into the master cylinder…

I also think this is a poor choice for first time effort. If not successful just think of all the things that could happen (minor fender bender at the least or a major accident at the worst )

I agree that this is too risky a job for a beginning wrencher. If you do decide to try it yourself, be sure you get a manual and read through the procedure thoroughly until you feel you understand it completely, and be sure you have all the proper tools. Have an experienced friend join you if possible. Whenever you do anything significant under a car, it’s always a great idea to have someone with you anyway just for safety.

With respect to Yosemite, who’s made some excellent points, I suggest putting a clear plastic tube on the bleeder with other end hung into a clear bottle half full of fresh fluid and hung as close to the caliper as practicable. That way, when you push the pistons into their cylinders, the fluid in them will go onto the bottle, the air in the tube burping out, and drawback will pull only fresh fluid back into the caliper. It prevents getting air in the calipers. There is always some drawback, because the way calipers are designed a “square O-ring” seal that the caliper slides through distends, and then when you let off the brake it returns to it’s static shape and pulls the piston back slightly to release the disc. They’re designed this way intentionally.

This “half-full suspended bottle technique” is a good technique to bleed brakes too.

Thanks for the feed back thus far. I may have mislead with my topic, I have already performed some DIY work on my car, but this is the first crack at the brake system. I found a friend that has done rotors and pads that will be with me for it. Don’t think he has done calipers. I always buy a Haynes for all vehicles, really helpful, but it lacks those little tricks people can do, such as the one suggested by the same mountainbike.

I still have a concern with the part purchase. I was strongly suggested to purchase them via OEM/dealer due to lower quality of the after market brands. Is this true for any or all parts? (calipers, rotors, pads?) I understand I’ll have to pay out more for the dealer parts, but I’m trying to get the best value.

I don’t want to sell you on any particular brand but, I use Akebono ceramic pads and Raybestos rotors. I got mine at The little hearts next to a product can help with your selection. I buy the performance rotors and pads, because they are better quality. Ceramic pads make less dust too. I think your rotors have the screws that hold them on and need to be removed with an impact driver. If your pedal and wheel do not shudder and the rotors meet spec for wear, than you don’t need to replace them. If you need the impact driver, don’t get it from Harbor Freight. The tips just twisted when I banged on it with a hammer. I ended up drilling off the heads and replacing the screws.


“If your pedal and wheel do not shudder and the rotors meet spec for wear, than you don’t need to replace them”

Not necessarily true

When rear rotors or drums are warped or out of round, they don’t really cause the steering wheel and pedal to shudder. They cause the entire vehicle to vibrate. You feel it in the seat of your pants

With all due respect

I agree with you on the rears. I never warped a rear rotor or drum myself. Have warped the fronts though. I’m sure it can happen though.


Regarding those annoying screws on rotors. I once had a Kia that had those and just drilled them out. My understanding is that they are not needed. My current Mazda has them too. When rotating tires the other day, I took a shot at them and sure enough they are stuck. The brakes are fine for now, but I am sure they won’t stay that way.

Does anybody else “replace” these? My plan is to just drill them out.

Get a can of brake cleaner and use it to clean the brakes before disassembly. Also use it to wash down the new rotors before installation. You will need an impact wrench to remove the rotors. I bought a manual wrench at the hardware store for $8. You use the Phillips head bit and the head should rotate left after you hit the tool with a hammer. After the bolts are loose, just take them out by hand. Reverse the direction if rotation on the impact wrench to finish rotor installation. You might also wear a face mask, and do not clean the brakes with pressirized air.


Regarding those rear brakes . . . on cars and small trucks, it’s often hard for the driver to feel when they’re warped or out of round. I’m assuming it has more to do with the size of the brakes than the size of the vehicle. 13" drum on a dually truck versus 9" drum on a smaller vehicle . . .

Several times at work, when doing a rear brake job on a car or small truck (Ranger, S10, Colorado, etc.) I’ll throw the rear drums on the lathe to clean them up. At which point it quickly becomes obvious they are out of round

So, you probably have warped your rear brakes to a degree, just not enough for you to feel it

Just as all engines misfire, to a degree. And when a certain threshold is surpassed, the driver can feel it, and when another threshold is passed, a code is generated and the check engine light comes on

Aftermarket parts can be fine, if they’re not the cheap ones. Nothing in ‘white box’.

Again, OP, why do you want to replace the calipers? They seldom fail (at least, much less often than the brake pads need replacing.

some times you can just replace the caliper bolts, they can stretch causing the caliper to drag

Get yourself a Haynes manual (stay away from Chilton - not detailed enough). Read the instructions and make sure you have the tools needed before you start. Then go for it…

My son and I have replaced several rotor, pads and calipers without ever having problems. Biggest headache has always been getting the tiny screws that hold the rotor in place out. A good resource is to view how other did it.

Speaking of Chilton and Haynes . . . I believe they’re both owned by the same company

NAPA brake parts are of decent quality and more than likely less expensive than OEM parts from the dealer…

Use one of those hammer screw drivers to remove the phillips screw for the rotor, then replace it again. If you’re going to drive hondas, you’ll use it again sometime or borrow it.