Jeep JK Wrangler Rear Brake Pad Replacement

I have been able to get as much as 36,000 miles out of my Jeep JK Wrangler’s rear brake pads but it’s not uncommon to burn through them in as little as 15,000 miles. While I’m sure some of this can be attributed to driving style, a lot of it is also the result of an over active ESP/BAS system. Whatever the case might be, itโ€™s a good idea to give them a look every other tire rotation and have them serviced as needed. Fortunately, this is a job that can be done with a minimal amount of tools or mechanical know how and this write-up will show you what you need to do.

Jeep JK Wrangler Rear Brake Pad Replacement


  1. Nice write-up. I would like to add a few small details.
    Wear safety glasses when using any tool.
    A small chisle makes quick work of those retaining clips.
    If your rotors are at all questionable replace them. Don’t ever get them them turned. It’s not worth it. 50% of the time they are going to warp after a short time and cause the brakes to pulse. The severe heat generated by braking work hardens the iron causing hard spots. Most machinists at auto parts stores wont catch it. New rotors will only cost about twice the cost of turning. I usually do nothing to the rotors the first pad change and then replace the rotors the next change.

  2. Thanks for another great writeup! Are Front brakes the same basic idea? Do you have a writeup planned for the fronts as well?

  3. 50k and still looking good? that’s amazing but more of what i would have expected. i suppose my 37’s aren’t helping anything ๐Ÿ™‚

    saginawmike, thanks for the additions as they are good ones.

    phishjeep, yes, the fronts are more or less the same and i will do a write-up for them as soon as the need arises.

  4. I have a 2001 Grand Cherokee with close to 70K on the rear brakes. I’ve been doing disc brakes since about 1972 and this is the first time that I’ve run into a locktite type compound on the bolts holding the calipers. A half inch electric torque wrench would not brake it loose. I had to find my pneumatic.

  5. Be sure not to loose the origial retaining clips. My new pads didn’t come with them. Also I had to grind just a small bevel on one outer pad’s mounting tab in order for it to fit in place. Some manufacturers just seen to be a little out of tolerance at times.

  6. Thanks for the great write-ups. Will this process apply to the front brakes as well? I dont see a seperate write-up but assume its pretty much the same.

  7. Thanks for the great write up. I would however like to point out something that I think makes it alot easier for those that are simply replacing the pads (as I just did).

    It is not necessary to remove the big 18mm bolts that hold the Caliper bracket to the axel to change the pads. You can simply remove the smaller bolts one on the top and one on the bottom (outermost I believe I used a 13mm or a 12mm socket).

    Once you remove those two bolts you can simply slide the caliper off the rotor (leaving the bracket in place). Then you just slide the pads right out, replace the retaining clips (if they were supplied in my case they weren’t).

    With pads removed compress the caliper using the same method described above (using the old pad and a c-clamp) however it appeared as if you had a tight fit to get that clamp in there, this way any old clamp will do as long as it’s big enough…in fact I couldn’t find the right clamp so I used one of those plastic squeeze clamps that are typically used for woodworking)

    Slide your new pads into the bracket (still attacked to the axel) slide them all the way so they are touching the rotor.

    Place the caliper back into the bracket over the pads. At first you will not be able to just slide it on because the bolt holes on the bracket (the mounting points for the caliper to the bracket top and bottom) are spring loaded and now extended all the way out. Simply push them in one at a time and line the caliper up to the mounting points.

    The reason why I suggest this method for those whom are simply replacing pads is that it is often seen and is typical that from the factory the bracket bolts can be overtightend (18mm bolts removed in this DIY) and can be difficult to remove and also you are working with big short bolts and a now much heavier part to hold in place while trying to re-install thus increasing the likelyhood of cross threading.

    Also the 13mm caliper bolts that I am suggesting to remove to replace the pads are lubricated slightly, and past the threads and where the spring is, there is a rubber sleeve around it which serves obviously as a protective covering for the spring while allowing flex but also to keep moisture in that sleeve which will allow for easy heat dissipation (hence easy bolt removal).

    Just figured I’d pass the info on. By the way the pads I used were from Pep Boys (pro stop or something I think its there brand) just the standard Semi Mettallic Pads they were @$28 but they are lifetme warranty which is nice to know for next summer lol. They carry a ceramic pad as well for $55 but it was not in stop and I didn’t think they were necessary for this application.
    I got 23,500 outa my factory pads.

  8. Great tips but…….My rotors need to be turned And when I took them off a small u shaped clip fell out with some kind of small connecting rod?does anyone know what this is I need it?
    my jeep is torn apart waiting for answer…thanks

  9. Great write up. This will be my first break job, but its seems easy enough. If my rotors are scored/shot, how hard is it to replace them. The pads seem pretty easy, but not sure on the rotors.

    Anyone have any comments on how to replace the rotors? Is it as easy as it looks?



  10. FYI…Some have stated that on the first pad replacement having the rotors resurfaced is not necessary….I was also a believer in this. So I changed my rear pads on like July at 25k then front at 28k a month later. Needless to say here I am with 33,500 5500 miles on new front pads and they are shot. Do yourself a favor and have the rotors resurfaced regardless.

    BTW had the same exact issue on my Grand Cherokee.

  11. Very good write up. Did it today and adjusted parking brake in just over an hour.. piece of cake.

    Thanks for the write up guys……

  12. I just replaced by pads/rotors and it was easy as pie! Honestly, the only hard part was loosing the caliper bolts. Outside of that, it was a hour job and this was the first time I ever worked on my brakes.

    $155 pad/rotors total from Autozone, with a rebate.


  13. I’m was into replacing pads and rotors last light and found the two little bolts on the caliper don’t come out to were you can remove just the caliper so I had to remove the 18mm bolts which was far easier.

    Pulling the rotors off was a bundle of fun. after the star wheel was adjusted back all the way I still could not remove the rotor because of heavy scale build up inside the rotor. Resorted to breaking off the scale by nefarious means and then they finally came off.

    If someone can describe how the retaining clips go back in just in case (ahem) someone didn’t notice how they came out.

  14. this post was a great help everything worked as you said. I was done in about hour and 1/2. I got 46,000 miles on the original pads, the rotors looked good as new so i did not have them turned. thank you for the info.

  15. great post. Doing front and rear pads today. Rotors look good. BTW…53000 on the originals on my 2007

  16. Any body has a brand suggestion for the rotors and pads? Need to change brakes on 4 wheels. *** IMPORTANT *** I need to be able to order online and ship to 12901 (NY).

  17. 2007, 64000 miles, replaced the rears today. Great write up, it was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. Thanks.

  18. 55000KM,the rear brake starts to make sound,got rear changed yesterday.But why the front brake pad last longer than rear one?
    Or do you guys change both front and rear at the same time?

  19. Does it matter what type or brand of brakes you use? Does anyone have any good/bad stories about replacement pads?

  20. Best brake pads I have found are the Duralast Golds, I know Autozone will do a lifetime warranty on them. Full set (front & rear) about $100. I run them on my truck and I get about 25K every time, and thats with me driving it like I stole it

  21. I got 55k out of mine! (90% interstate driving)
    Replacing with Wearever Gold from Advanced.

    As always Project-JK was a great help.
    Thanks Eddie.

  22. I’m having an issue with pulling the rear rotors on my 07 Wrangler. I have freedom of movment between rotors and hub/rotors and wheel studs. My rotor seems to be catching on the parking brake shoes. I don’t see a spot for manual adjustment. Is it auto adjust?…if so, how do I back off the shoes in order to remove the rotors?

  23. Dale I hope by now you’ve managed to remove your rear rotors since I’m about three weeks late on ya. But just in case and for those reading up on the subject before trying to tackle it I figure someone should chime in.

    I did mine today rear rotors and pads. The rotors are Pronto Brand cost me $38 bucks each and the pads are made by a company called Centric Parts Posi-Quiet. They are a semi metallic pad come with shims installed, and are apparently “scorched” so that they are ready to function properly out of the box, now break in/bedding required. The pads were $41.25 So all in all the job cost me under $120. Not bad.

    The first rotor I just beat the hell out of with a mini sledge to remove (I don’t recommend this method) the second after beating it for a couple hours was just stubborn, so I had to figure out how to adjust the emergency drums inside the rotor. If you look on the back of the rotor you will see like an eye bolt attached to a spring on one side and on the other there is a rubber dust cover with a groove engraved in it. Using a break spoon (I bought mine for like 3bucks at harbor freight.) remove the dust cover, stick your spoon in and feel for a sprocket type thing you need to rotate it counter clockwise to bring those emergency pads back in. Once your in enough the rotor should come off with a couple of wiggles or perhaps a couple of shots from a dead blow (rubber mallet) to free it up. Install your rotors and make sure to adjust those emergency pads again when your down this time clockwise on the sprocket to bring em back out.

    FYI I don’t know what stores are available where everyone lives but I will say that Parts Authority was significantly cheaper in price for the rotors then pep boys and auto zone who each wanted like 75-99 per rotor and its the same junk.

    As far as pads go, my bad experience in the past says don’t buy the cheapo semi metallic prostops from pepboys or auto zone, for the front, I would recommend you spring for the ceramics, I installed Wagner Quiet Stops (or something like that) they cost me like 50 bucks for the fronts. The cheapos I had used in the passed wore out in like no time, and kicked off the craziest amount of brake dust. My wheels would get black in like a week, also when they get hot there is a significant decrease in stopping power.
    Good luck

  24. Great write up. I plan on changing my pads tomorrow and this was a very useful thread. I have a little over 54,000 miles on my original pads. I plan on going right down to the local stealership and getting factory replacements. I don’t know about you guys but I have seen lots of posts that say they are getting 50,000 plus miles on original brakes. Why would anyone want less than that.

  25. Thank you for all your write-ups. Im new to the Jeep ownership and all your write-ups are a great help. Really the whole site is. Thank you amd please keep them coming.

  26. 24000 miles on my 2011 jeep and they are trying to tell me I need rears pads and rotors need turned to pass inspection. $360 and change for oil change, brake pads and turning my rotors. I told them I’ll pick it up and do my own brakes. Haven’t look at the rotors yet but at 24000 miles its hard for me to believe they need turned. Any input?

  27. You stated that on order to remove the right rear brake rotor on a 2009 jeep wrangler that you turn the star wheel adjuster counter clockwise. The star wheel adjuster is mounted in a vertical position. So do I rotate the star wheel adjuster “DOWN” or UP to release the rotor ? Thanks for the input.

  28. I had to have my rear pads and rotors replaced after only 5k miles. I’m still having some trouble and was told my a (mechanic) friend that it sounds like the emergency brake is ‘hanging up’ or that the calipers are sticking. I’m hoping to get the problme resolved soon. As far as everything else, I love my Jeep!

  29. Id like to add that you should check your caliper pins(make sure they still move smoothly and relube em) when you do your brakes. Just recently did my rear brakes and found a pin was fully seized in the hole. Snapped the head off trying to get it loose and ended up burning 2 drill bits drilling the pin that was still left.

  30. just did back brakes 09 jk nightmare leaky axel seal too caliper bolts seized in bracket make sure to lube them or they break off in the bracket

  31. For those of you burning out your brake pads quickly, I have to wonder if you are using your transmission to assist on downhill runs. I live in Colorado where we have steep downgrades 5-10 miles long, and I downshift to 3rd (5-speed) to keep the jeep from accelerating. I got 80,000 miles on my rear pads, and just pulled my front pads at 85,000 miles – they had over 50% left.

  32. I have 53k on my Jeep… Had my brakes checked roughly 10k miles ago and the mechanic said my brakes were not even at 50% yet.

    I use my Manual Trans to assist in braking though.

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