- 3 Min Read
- By: Noah Jenkins
How to Replace Brake Pads & Rotors on an Audi A4 (B6)
Among many things on the to-do list of maintenance for my Audi A4; the rear brakes needed attention. I could tell by the glazing on the rotors as well as the thinness of the pads that they were due for replacement. It’s always a good idea to assess the condition of your brakes at each oil change by simply pulling off a front and rear wheel.
I will be changing both the pads and rotors on my 2004 Audi A4 Avant. The procedure is very straightforward though there are a few quirks about the car, which can make it a bit different than the average brake job.
- 13mm & 15mm Box End Wrenches
- Small Vice Grips
- Good sized Hammer
- Wire brush
- Brake cleaner
- Anti-Seize & Silicone Lube
- Caliper retractor tool (rented from local auto parts store)
- 8mm allen socket on 3/8in ratchet
- Jack & 2 Jack stands
I’ve had great success with Meyle Rotors and Akebono pads. This setup provides great OEM stopping power while being virtually dustless. Specifically I installed:
- Meyle Zinc Coated Rotors
- Akebono Euro Ceramic pads
Begin by jacking up your vehicle and removing the two rear wheels. If you have done work under your B6 before, you know the jack points are limited. You can use the two frame points to jack the car and do one side at a time (space was too limited for me to get both the jack there and place the stand).
I opted to jack the whole rear end from the rear differential mount and placed my stands at the frame points. I then lowered the car down onto the stands while keeping some pressure on the jack itself.
Next, locate the upper and lower caliper slide bolts. This bolt is 13mm and the counter hold requires a 15mm. A socket did not work for me here. My 15mm wrench was too wide, so, I used a pair of small vice grips to hold the 15mm section and broke the bolt loose that way. Once a few threads were out, I could use the 15mm and proceed.
Tip: Break free both of the bolts first, and then remove them.
Next, I hit the caliper a few times with a hammer to help it slide off the pads and rotor. It took only a few taps and then I could “walk” the caliper off by hand. If it is really stubborn, a flat head screwdriver can be used creatively to help it off.
Pull the old pads off of the caliper bracket and inspect them. They should have roughly the same amount of pad (or lack thereof) left. If one has significantly more than the other, this may indicate a problem with the caliper or caliper slides. If this is the case, research further before installing your new parts.
Next, on the backside of the assembly, locate the 8mm allen bolt holding the caliper carrier. The picture is looking directly at the bolt on the top. It’s above the axle. I had a difficult time getting my 8mm socket into the bolt with my tools as the shock made the clearance tight. This may be an Avant-only problem as the B6 sedan shock position may be different. In any case, I managed to get the top bolt broken free and could then back it out using my fingers. There was no way I was going to get the bottom bolt out with the tools I had.
If you play with the rotor a bit while the bracket is on, you will notice that you can pivot it almost enough to side it from around the bracket. With the top bolt out, I gently hit the top of the bracket with a hammer and it could pivot on the lower bolt thus allowing it to clear the rotor.
Note: You DO NOT need to hit bracket hard or pivot it down very far, in the picture you can see how far I moved it. I would also like to say that I would prefer to have not done it this way and if you can get to the lower bolt, do so and remove the bracket.
Clean the hub with a wire brush and brake parts cleaner to remove any excess rust/corrosion. I like to “paint” my hubs with anti-sieze after to ensure that the rotor doesn’t get stuck on the hub. If you own your car long enough to do another brake job – you’ll thank yourself! Grab your slide pins and ensure they move smoothly. You may wish to pull them out and apply new silicone lube.
Next, retract the caliper piston. The B6’s rear brake pistons cannot simply be pushed back in by the usual old pad and c-clamp method because of its self-adjusting parking brake. I opted to rent the special brake piston retraction tool from my local auto parts store. This tool allows you to “screw” the piston back and apply pressure. There are other tools/methods people use though, again, you’ll thank yourself if you rent this!
Note: Open the master cylinder reservoir cap before retracting brake caliper pistons.
Install the new rotor and return the bracket back to its original position. Do not forget to install the 8mm allen bolt which was removed and tighten it accordingly. Use silicone brake lube on the back of the pads and install them. II also place a little lube around the piston boot.
Finally place the caliper over the pads and rotor and tighten the two 13mm bolts using the two-wrench method.
Note: Make sure the springs on the back of the pads are being pushed on the back of the caliper. They should NOT be sticking though the space in the back of the caliper. It may take some finessing.
Pump the brake pedal a few times before going for a drive and then take your car for a spin! Enjoy that solid brake feel!