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Replacing Your BMW Brake Pads
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your BMW Brake Pads

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

6mm Allen bit, flathead screwdriver, brake piston compressor, set of sockets

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)

Parts Required:

Front or rear brake pads, brake pad wear sensors, brake fluid, brake cleaner

Hot Tip:

Stay clear of brake dust

Performance Gain:

Proper brake function

Complementary Modification:

Flush brake fluid. Replace brake rotors

You should check your brake pads every time you service your BMW E90. Replace your brake pads if thickness is 2.4 mm (0.09 in.) or below. There are brake pad wear sensors that trigger a warning light when pads reach the minimum, however the sensor is only located on one brake per axle. This leaves 3 brake pads on each axle that is not monitored by the warning system. This is why periodic inspections are required. When replacing your brake pads, you can replace pads on one axle at a time; have a new brake pad wear sensor handy. Even though the sensor may be reused, they become brittle and do not always fit tightly into new pads when reused. On late model BMW models, including E90, the brake pad wear sensor has been updated. It is now more dedicated and prone to breaking when removed. The sensor is no longer a simple wire circuit that is broken when pad wear hits minimum, it is now a two-stage wear sensor. This provides the vehicle with more accurate brake pad monitoring. So if the sensor shows the slightest bit of wear, replace it.

In this article, I will show you how to replace brake pads on the front axle of your vehicle. Replacing the rear brake pads is similar.

Lift and support axle of vehicle you are replacing brake pads on. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove wheels on axle you are replacing brake pads on.

Using a flathead screwdriver, remove brake caliper anti-rattle spring (green arrow) by prying out while securing with hand.
Figure 1

Using a flathead screwdriver, remove brake caliper anti-rattle spring (green arrow) by prying out while securing with hand. The spring can pop off and go flying, be sure to hold it steady.

Pull brake pad wear sensor (green arrow) out of brake pad out of driver side brake pad.
Figure 2

Pull brake pad wear sensor (green arrow) out of brake pad out of driver side brake pad. Be very careful as sensor tends to break when removed. I like to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull sensor out.

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in.
Figure 3

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in. This allows brake caliper to be pulled off brake rotor easily. I like to pry between the outer brake pad and brake rotor. This way there is less chance of damaging the caliper piston.

Remove rubber plugs from brake caliper mounting fasteners.
Figure 4

Remove rubber plugs from brake caliper mounting fasteners. (green arrows)

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove brake caliper mounting fasteners.
Figure 5

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove brake caliper mounting fasteners. (green arrows)

Working behind front strut (yellow arrow), open plastic door (green arrow) for brake pad wear sensor electrical connector.
Figure 6

Working behind front strut (yellow arrow), open plastic door (green arrow) for brake pad wear sensor electrical connector.

Disconnect brake pad wear sensor electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling apart.
Figure 7

Disconnect brake pad wear sensor electrical connector by pressing release tab and pulling apart. Remove brake caliper from mounting bracket. Do not allow brake caliper to hang from brake hose. Secure to vehicle using a piece of a metal coat hanger.

Remove brake pads from brake caliper.
Figure 8

Remove brake pads from brake caliper. Then press piston back into caliper using a brake caliper piston tool. Install new brake pads into caliper and caliper mounting bracket. Install caliper to mounting bracket and tighten fasteners. Then install rubber plugs. Connect pad wear sensor electrical connector and route wiring harness as before. Install brake pad wear sensor into brake pad. Install brake pad anti-rattle clip by pressing into caliper and pushing down to confirm it is properly seated. Once calipers are installed and fasteners are tight, press brake pedal to pump brakes up. Once brake pedal is hard to push, install wheels and check brake operation.

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Comments and Suggestions:
chriss Comments: when re-installing the brake caliper guide bolts, should they be greased? Bentley manual says no grease, but several videos on youtube from reputable BMW shops show them being greased.

also, mine have some small scratches on them, should I replace them with new ones?
December 3, 2016
GRANDM Comments: It turns out, I had to have both sensors front and rear shorted out to be able to reset the warning and miles, where as I first shorted the front then the rear and it did not work. so for anyone else who has this problem and tried all other options ensure both sensors are replaced or shorted at the same time and then reset.
September 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is true, if one axle has a bad sensor it will not reset. Thanks for the follow up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
GRANDM Comments: Hello I have a BMW 335d 2006 my pads and disks are fine I tried to reset my service light but I also reset my brake pad sensors by accident, as soon as i did this the fault come on the dash that they need replacing now and the milage was showing ---. it now tells me to go to bmw to change pads. I tried to short the sensors but this doesn't work it just shows ---- when i try to reset either the front or rear. Will new sensors remedy this problem ? how does the computer know they arent new sensors when I un plug and replug the old sensors ...Thanks
September 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the sensors are in good shape, the light should go off when you reset it. It is a simple circuit the DME doesn't know old or new, only circuit integrity. The sensor operates similarly to this: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/MINI_R56/09-BRAKES-Brake_Pad_Sensor_Testing/09-BRAKES-Brake_Pad_Sensor_Testing.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JoeJr Comments: '09 E90 335i - Is there a way to code out the brake sensor error/warning completely??? It is idiotic to have a sensor tell you when to change the brakes. It only adds needless complexity and expense. They get inspected yearly at minimum where I am any way. How about just tucking them up out of the way where it never gets used/worn out??
August 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not that I am aware of. You can install a sensor, then tie it up near the connector housing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vino Comments: how can I adjust the handbrake. it's seems a bit low on tension
May 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See this article:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Adjusting/BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Adjusting.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
vino Comments: Hi I changed the pads and skimmed discs but know there is a whirring noise comming from the left back wheel. Checked the back plate and it is not touching anywhere.
May 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume the parking brake shoes are rubbing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jlipt Comments: It's called brake pad paste. BMW part # 83122296187. Does it just go on the back of the brake pads?
January 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe that paste is used for the back side of the pad, where the caliper makes contact, to remedy noise complaints. However, is rarely helps with noise, most noise is caused by pad compound, not movement. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jlipt Comments: BMW makes a brake paste that they recommend. Does this go on the back of the pads, on the slide rails, other? Thanks.
January 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would need the part # to be sure, but most times the paste would go in the slides for lubrication. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
anonymous Comments: Do I need any grease or apart from brake pads & tools?
November 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
doughboy Comments: I am doing the rear pads this weekend. Can you please tell me the torque specs for the caliber mounting bolts
November 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ziz007 Comments: it is 328i 2011
August 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks, got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ziz007 Comments: having trouble clipping in the sensor in the brake pad is there a trick
August 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, it should push in. Maybe you have the wrong sensor? New pads new sensor?

Old pads, check if the metal spring from the old sensor is stuck in the pad.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Oregon Eric Comments: I replaced rear pads, rotors, and ware sensor on my 2006 325 xi sports wagon. the sensor wire disappears up and behind a splash guard under the rear end of the car. I cant see the little box where the wear sensor connects. where is the connector box?
July 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Behind the splash shield. Look in front of the wheel. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nate Comments: I am replacing the rear pads. Is there only one sensor for the entire axle or one per wheel?
January 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Note from article:

There are brake pad wear sensors that trigger a warning light when pads reach the minimum, however the sensor is only located on one brake per axle. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bryn Comments: It's worth noting that the brake caliper mounting fasteners Figure 5 are different lengths. I removed them fully to lubricate and did not notice, but was able to find elsewhere that the longer one should be installed in the lower position closer to the ground.
October 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have the wrong parts on your vehicle. On E90 models, they are all the same length. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
335iBMW Comments: Anyone can recommend a good BMW scan tool?
September 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Basic code reader:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/Porsche/catalog/shopcart/TOOL/POR_TOOL_MERCED_pg228.htm

A bit more advanced:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/Porsche/catalog/shopcart/TOOL/POR_TOOL_MERCED_pg228.htm
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
335iBMW Comments: @ mohd is that 110,000 or 11000 ?
September 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume 11,000 miles. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: I mean for the front brakes, do you need a special too to press the piston back into the caliper? Or can I use the c-clamp and a small wood block or the old brake pad to pusht the piston back in?
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I got it. I answered you in the earlier question:

I prefer to use a specific tool. Use of a c-clamp puts pressure on the backside of the caliper, when the tool applies pressure inside the brake pad jaws. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Joe Comments: DO you need a special tool to press the piston back into the caliper or can i use a small wood block and a c clamp like I used to use on my other cars?
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I prefer to use a specific tool. Use of a c-clamp puts pressure on the backside of the caliper, when the tool applies pressure inside the brake pad jaws. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mod Comments: I meant i did reset manualy from dashbord and the reading is 11000
But i should more than 47000 mile
So my question why after reset the reading is like that

Can reset again from scan tool or its one time

And if the reading is right what is the expected reason for low reading
Is it from bad brake disc
March 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it is wrong now, it can be changed using a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mohd Comments: Can i reset the sensor for the second time?

Or i should buy new sensor
March 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the sensor is intact, it can be reused. I wouldn't see how the new one wad damaged. The reset is software based. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mohd Comments: Hi
Bmw 335i 2009
I replaced rear pad and sensor
After reset it gives me rear pad lifetime is 110000 miles
brans is textar
March 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to reset the condition based service (CBS) data using a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:22:05 AM