The Chevy Silverado is one of the most popular and versatile work trucks available on the consumer market.
With 460 lb.-ft of torque and the ability to tow upwards of 9,500 pounds, there is almost no limit to the work that it can do.
Because of this, it is imperative that you have a high quality braking system that is in good condition and working at its highest capacity.
This will ensure that you are never left wishing that you had better braking on a job site or doing a towing heavy cargo.
Knowing how to change the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado will keep your braking system in good condition and working efficiently.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado do
- How brake pads use rotors to slow down your truck
- How to change the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado, step by step
- And more!
What Are Brake Pads?
Brake pads are the mechanism in your truck that grab onto the wheel and slow them down. They are responsible for doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to stopping a vehicle.
Brake pads use friction areas made of metal, rubber or ceramic to grab onto the rotors in the wheel and bring them to a stop. These friction areas are highly pressurized and built to withstand the large amounts of force that are needed in order to slow down a car or truck.
What Are Rotors?
The rotors are large metal discs that are attached to the axle area of your wheels. They are usually made out of cast iron or layered steel and are designed to disperse large amounts of heat over their surface area.
When the brakes are applied, the brake pads press down onto the rotors. In turn, this takes the moving energy in the wheels and converts it into heat. This is then spread out and dispersed through slotting in the brake pads and in the rotors themselves.
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What are the Benefits of Changing the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado?
Brake pads and rotors are not permanent fixtures on your Chevy Silverado.
These parts are designed to be expendable and wear down as they get used. Because of this, they must be changed fairly regularly.
The friction areas on brake pads will wear down as they get used. If they are not replaced, they will become less effective and eventually stop working at all. This is not a situation that you want to be in.
While they don’t have to be replaced as often as pads, brake rotors should also be changed every so often. They will eventually wear down just like the pads do and will become thinner and less effective.
Changing these parts of your braking system regularly will result in better brake efficiency and a longer life of the braking system. It will also reduce your stopping distance and give you confidence that your brakes will be responsive to the touch of your foot on the pedal.
When Should You Check the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado?
It is recommended that brake pads be changed every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. However, depending on the kind of driving you do, this number may be more or less.
For example, if you are regularly towing heavy loads or doing larger hauling jobs, you may want to replace your brake pads more often. This can put more strain on the friction areas and cause them to wear down much quicker.
For brake rotors, a good rule of thumb is to replace them every other time you change the brake pads.
This comes out to replacing them about every 70,000 miles. However, you should always check your rotors each time you replace pads to be sure they are not thinning or warped.
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Why Should You Change the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado?
Regularly changing the brake pads on rotors on your Chevy Silverado is a great way to maintain your truck’s entire braking system.
When brake pads start to wear down, they get less efficient at converting the kinetic energy of the moving wheel into heat, which is the main process that happens when you apply the brake pedal.
Because of this, they will generate much more heat when you press down on the pedal.
This heat could have an incredibly detrimental effect on the rest of your Silverado’s braking system. This is especially true if you are using your truck for towing or hauling like so many people do.
If you are using worn down pads and rotors on your Chevy Silverado, you could be damaging the brake lines and the other hardware in the braking system due to the excess heat. This could not only have detrimental effect on the efficiency of the braking, but also result in costly repairs further down the line.
So How Do Brake Pads and Rotors Work?
Brake pads and rotors work in tandem to stop the wheels of your truck from spinning when you press on the brake pedal.
Pressing on the pedal activates the pads, which are located on either side of the rotor, much like a bicycle braking system.
They exert a large amount of pressure onto the rotor and bring it to a stop using the pneumatic power braking system.
In order for this process to work efficiently, your pads and rotors must be in good working order and not be warped from heat or other elements that they will be subjected to with extended use.
Curious about the process of the pneumatic braking system in your Chevy Silverado? This video explains how it works and why maintenance is important:
What Do You Need To Know About Changing the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado?
It is important to note that changing the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado must be done correctly.
While this is a fairly simple job, it should not be attempted if you are unsure about the process or do not possess the tools or space to do it properly. If this is you, it might be best to take your Silverado into a brake shop and have it done by professionals.
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What Supplies Do You Need To Change the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado?
Changing the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado doesn’t take much. With some basic tools, it can be done in a few hours. To do the job correctly, you will need:
- A car jack and jack stands
- A tire iron
- An adjustable wrench and pliers
- A C-Clamp
- A wire brush for removing dust and grime
- A new set of brake pads for a Chevy Silverado
How To Change the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado? (5 Steps)
Step 1: Remove the wheels
In order for you to change to brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado, you will have to first remove the wheels.
To do this, get the truck up on jack stands that are rated for the weight of the truck and safe to use. This can be done by first raising the truck with a car jack, then putting the stands underneath the axles that the wheels are attached to.
Once you have the truck up on stands, loosen the lug nuts using a tire iron that either came with your truck or is the right size for the nuts.
Depending on your wheels, you may also have to remove lug nut covers or a hubcap in order to get to them.
Step 2: Remove the caliper
Once the wheels and tires are removed, you will have to remove the caliper that holds the pads.
In order to do this, you must remove the caliper bolts that are holding them in place on the bracket.
On a Chevy Silverado, this bolt will require a 19mm socket and socket wrench. However, if you have an adjustable wrench, you can simply make it the size it needs to be.
Once you have removed the caliper from the mounting bracket, you can either set it carefully on the ground or simply let it hang from the brake lines as long as they are in good shape and not liable to bend.
Step 3: Remove the old pads and rotors
On the caliper, you will see metal clips that are holding the brake pads in place.
Pop these out with the wrench or pliers, and this will allow you to slide the pads out of the caliper.
You can now remove the brake caliper mounting bracket with the adjustable wrench or 19mm socket.
Once this is removed, you can simply slide the old rotor off the lug bolts and discard it along with the old pads.
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Step 4: Attach the new pads and rotors
After you have removed the entire rotor and caliper system, be sure to clean the new rotors with soap and water. This will ensure that any metal flakes or particles don’t embed in the new pads.
Put the new caliper on the wheel hub and reinstall the caliper bracket in the same way you removed it.
Once you have put the new rotor on and reinstalled the caliper bracket, compress the caliper bracket using the C-clamp. This will push it back in place and get it ready for the new pads.
Your new brake pads should come with new brake clips as well. Install these onto the caliper bracket.
After this, you can install the new pads. They should fit snuggly into the clips and have no room to wiggle or move whatsoever.
Read More >> How to Release Brake Caliper Pressure?
Step 5: Tighten the caliper and reinstall the wheels
Put the caliper back on the mounting bracket using the adjustable wrench.
Tighten the caliper bolts to at least 74 foot pounds. If you do not have a way to measure this, just be sure that it is as tight as you can get it with the length of adjustable wrench that you have.
Once you have done this, you can put the wheels back on and lower the truck off the jack stands.
Take your Chevy Silverado out for a drive somewhere you can test out the brakes safely. Listen for any vibrations or squeaks as you apply the brakes and make sure that they feel responsive to your foot on the brake pedal.
Our Final Thoughts on How To Change the Brake Pads and Rotors on a Chevy Silverado
Understanding how to change the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado will go a long way towards ensuring trouble-free braking down the road.
Being able to do this important piece of maintenance yourself is a great way to know about your vehicle and save yourself some money at the brake shop.
By learning how to change the brake pads and rotors on a Chevy Silverado, you can know what to look for should any problems arise with your truck’s braking system in the future.
You can also feel confident hauling and towing any big jobs, knowing that your brakes are just as up to the challenge as your Chevy Silverado is!