Audi A3 Front Brake Replacement
Article Date: 25/02/2022
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Tools to replace the Front Brakes on the Audi A3
Rather than list individual tools on Amazon, I've found a cheap toolkit for £60.74, which has the tools needed for the job with the exception of a breaker bar. Although cars have wheel wrenches for this.
The toolkit I use is a Halfords 200 piece one. I don't mind spending money on tools because I know these ones are tested by Mechanics (but it's a £300 kit) - This one to be exact (non affiliate link) :o(
ITEMS I PURCHASED FOR THIS JOB
The reason I purchased these items is because I wanted to overhaul as much of the braking system as possible. I was unsure about the current state of the brake pistons because they car was relatively new to me, and didn't want the system unbalanced. Plus it means I can refurbish my old ones with something like a Bigg Red caliper repair kit, and always have some spares. I paid £70 for two calipers, if you buy them from places like Eurocarparts, they're normally about £70 and you have to give your old one in exchange.
How I changed the Front Brake Discs, Pads and Calipers on my Audi A3
- Loosen the wheel nuts. Jack up the car, and place it on and Axle Stand then remove the wheels. The last you want is the vehicle collapsing on you. I also tend to put the wheels under the sills for extra protection
- Pinch off the flexi hose using a brake line clamp. This tool is designed not to damage the Flexi hose. Alternatively use vice grips with insultation tape around the ends. This helps prevent fluid loss
- Loosen the disc locator screw holding the brake disc to the hub. This will either be a T30 Torx or a Phillips Head, depending on if it's OEM or not.
- Using the 7mm hex, loosen the caliper carrier pins. It's best to hit it in with a hammer so you know it's firmly in. Last thing you want to do is round off a bolt or bit because it wasn't in. After you have done this remove the brake caliper. It may be stuck on so use something like a pry bar, or screwdriver to help lever it off.
- Using a 21mm socket, loosen the caliper carrier bolts that hold the brake pads. As a note, I had to use an extension and flexible joint for the passenger side. It was a bit more awkward to get to
- Undo the banjo bolts on the brake calipers (if you're swapping them over like me) with an 11mm Spanner. If you're just doing the brakes you can skip this step
- I decided to replace my Calipers, as I was unsure what the old ones were like. I'm using the Kamoka brand. I purchased them from eBay, they were great replacements for the factory fits. The reason I decided to replace them is because I have an MOT coming up, and I can remove the old factory calipers and recondition them as spares myself. It's less hassle for me to just overhaul the entire system as the calipers are already wound back and just do a straight fitment. No rusted nuts, parts easy to fit, no hassle, etc.
- The brand of brakes I fitted to my car (Ferodo).
Side note : My car is fitted with the 312mm brake upgrade which is commonly done to Audi A3 (basically you change the caliper carrier). Which means I'm no longer using the factory brakes. The factory brakes on my car are 288mm. Check your PR code to see what your brakes are for your car. If you're unsure, or want to double check then get the old tape measure out. The calipers are the same for the 288mm and 312mm discs
- Using a wire brush / metal file, clean off the rust and contact surfaces where the pads sit on the caliper carrier. Those grooves in the last picture are where the pads sit. So get them as smooth as possible
- Fit the disc to the car, and put in the disc locating screw
- Remember to apply grease to the rear of the pads, and the sliders. I'm using ceramic grease in this picture. The spring side of the pads goes into the piston side of the calipers. The one with a connector on is for the ABS wear sensor, this pad goes on the passenger side of the car.
- After this, refit all items reversing what you've just done.
- Admire your new bling. I replaced the Pads, Discs, Brake Caliper, Slider Pins and Pad Springs. The Ferodo discs are coated which means you don't need to use Brake/Clutch cleaner for them as they have no grease on them. If you have swapped over the calipers you will need to bleed the brakes, and drive lightly to bed the pads in. The nipple for the bleeder valve is 10mm. I used my 1 man bleeder kit which uses air from the spare tyre to push brake fluid through the system. It simplifies the process because it puts less stress on the piston and piston seals.
Additional Steps (Not pictured)
How to bleed the brakes
This is required if you expose the system to air (e.g changing the calipers). You don't need to do this method if you have just changed the discs and pads.
Here are both methods. The pressure bleeder method is better as the brake piston doesn't travel as far and it's faster and simpler to do.
1 man brake bleeding method
- Fill up the Gunson Eezibleed with brake fluid (above the minimum line) and screw on the cap onto the brake reservoir
- Grab your spare tyre, deflate it until the air pressure is no more than 20 psi
- Attach the valve from the bottle onto the valve of the spare tyre
- Open the valve on the bleeder bottle, you should see brake fluid being pushed out to the brake reservoir
- Open the bleed nipple on the brake caliper and leave it open until fluid comes out with no bubbles
- Once flushed, close the nipple. The brake has been bled
As a note, when bleeding calipers, you are meant to bleed in order of furthest from brake booster --> closest to brake booster. In a UK right hand drive vehicle, this is normally the following bleed order.
- Rear Left
- Rear Right
- Front Left
- Front Right
2 man brake bleeding method
- KEEP AN EYE ON THE BRAKE FLUID LEVELS IN THE RESERVOIR AS YOU DO THIS! - IF IT GETS TOO LOW, YOU WILL INTRODUCE AIR IN SYSTEM
- Have an assistant pump up the brakes until they're hard first
- When hard, ask the assistant to hold their foot on the brake
- Open the bleed valve, get the assistant to hold their foot on the pedal.
- Close the valve and say "up" to the assistant
- Assistant repeats the first steps, then holds on brake, you open the valve their foot sinks to floor and they hold it
- Repeat this up/down open and closure process until you get solid fluid from the bleed nipple
- When it is solid, close the valve and get the helper to pump the pedal, the brakes should be bled
BEDDING IN THE BRAKES
Until your brakes are bed in, they will feel quite weak when braking your car. To evenly bed them in apply gentle pressure when braking for about the first 50 miles, then gradually apply more and more pressure each time. After around 100 miles, my Ferodo pads started to bite (I've done nearly 400 now, and they're still not fully bed in yet). I'm trying to maximise the bedding in so wearing down the pads gradually. After they're starting to bite harder, then apply more pressure from higher speeds. Until then approach with caution at junctions, and brake earlier than you normally would
Congratulations, you've carried out a brake disc, pad and caliper change on your car