Vehicle repairs are something that every car owner will endure at some point in their car ownership journey; it’s recommended to get them done as soon as they appear to avoid sometimes catastrophic and expensive consequences.
While Walmart Auto Care Centers only offer basic level car maintenance like oil changes, battery services, and tire rotations, all the parts needed for a brake pad replacement are available for purchase at any Walmart Auto Care center.
Does Walmart Install Brakes?
Walmart does not install brakes, but all the parts needed for a brake pad replacement are available for purchase at any Walmart Auto Care center. They also offer many basic levels of car maintenance services like oil changes, battery services, and tire rotations.
Walmart offers excellent prices for the parts needed to replace brake pads; if a total overhaul needs to be done on the brakes, the safest option is to order a brake pad and rotor kit. These kits come with everything required for a total replacement, the price of the equipment will be based on the make and model of the vehicle.
Generally, these kits will be less than $200. Brake pads themselves will be less than $50, brake rotors are less than $150, and brake calipers can be more expensive, with some running upwards of $250. The auto technicians at any Walmart auto care center would be happy to help anyone pick the right parts for their vehicle and ensure the best prices are met.
How Often Should I Change my Break Pads?
Brake pads are an integral part of vehicle maintenance and should be a high priority for upkeep. Contaminants such as brake fluids, oils, and grease can ruin brake pads, but it’s not always easy to see.
Some pads are equipped with anti-rattle clips, and when the pads are worn, a vibration can be felt when the brake pedal is applied. Without proper working breaks, not only is the driver in danger, but the other drivers on the road are at risk as well.
Brake pads should be replaced if they are contaminated, worn out, or for performance reasons. On average, brake pads should be replaced between 40,000-50,000 km.
It is suggested that the pads be replaced when they are worn down to the base of the tread. In some cases, the old rotors can sometimes be reused. If the pads aren’t worn down, then it’s suggested to replace them every three years.
How Do I Know When to Change my Break Pads?
There will be some early detection signs to alert the driver before the final stretch of the brake pad’s life. Even though some brake pads can make it to 50,000 km, some can only make it to 25,000 km; this is why the car owner must be fully aware of the parts that go into the vehicle and have an idea of maintenance schedules.
The auto technicians at any Walmart Auto Care center are more than happy to go through the process and let customers know what they need to look for when the parts are nearing the end of their life span. The driving conditions the car is put through will also heavily impact how long the brake pads will last.
What Happens When You Wait too Long to Replace Brake Pads
Most drivers don’t have any idea of the repercussions of waiting too long to get service done on their cars, especially when it concerns the brakes. The purpose of brake pads is to protect the rotors; when the brake is applied, the brake pads press against the rotor to generate the friction needed to slow the car down to a complete stop. The pads help to distribute the heat produced by this friction. If brake pads are allowed to be worn down to less than a quarter of an inch, a couple of things will happen to the rotor.
First, the brake pads, which are essentially attached to metal clamps, will begin to grind against the rotor; this can cause the rotor to warp or break. Second, because of the lack of a brake pad, the heat that is caused by the friction won’t be distributed evenly, which could lead to the whole braking system overheating and failing. It could cost double to resurface the rotors compared to what it would have cost if the car were initially taken into the shop at the first indication of a problem.
If things are left to progress further than the above, the brake calipers could be damaged completely. Brake calipers are the metal plates that hold the brake pads and press them against the rotor. When brake pads are damaged to the point where the calipers are rubbing against the rotor, the calipers can be destroyed along with the rotor. Additionally, the pistons that push the calipers into position may be popped out of place.
If You Want to Change Brake Pads Yourself
The auto technicians at any Walmart Auto Care center would be happy to walk any customer through the process of changing their brake pads and making sure they have the correct parts.
Luckily brake pads are designed to show clear signs when they have to be replaced and give the driver ample time to do so before the repair becomes extremely expensive, unsafe, and cumbersome. A vibrating steering wheel when braking may also be a clear indication that the brake pads need to be inspected.
If you chose to do a brake pad change at home, the parts that are needed from a Walmart Auto Care center are:
- brake cleaner and brake fluid,
- brake pads,
- brake rotors,
- tools (especially a torque wrench), and
- a front/rear disc brake pad spreader set.
Here is a short tutorial video followed by step by step proper installation.
- Park the vehicle on a flat, dry surface and install the wheel chocks. Safety is priority number one, so it is vital to have safety goggles and protective gloves. Use secure jack points for the jack stand and jacks to ensure proper lifting.
- Open the hood to check the brake fluid reservoir; if it’s full, some fluid needs to be removed as this will help avoid spillage when the brake caliper piston is compressed.
- Loosen the lug nuts with a breaker bar and socket while the wheel is on the ground and stationary. Raise the vehicle with a jack from the secure points identified earlier on and put the stands under the car to lower the vehicle back onto the stands slowly. Remove the lug nuts and wheel.
- Removing the bolts and caliper should be easy, by simply turning the wheel left, or right should provide easier access to the caliper bolts. Once the caliper is removed, suspend it with a bungee cord. Note: not all vehicles are the same, and some different steps or a different order may be needed; make sure to have that type of discussion with the Auto Care technician before getting started.
- Inspect the old pads for uneven wear patterns; Uneven wear is an indicator of the pads sticking due to inadequate lubrication. The brake pad box will have a reference guide when inspecting for this issue. Once the pads are off, remove the rotor – on many vehicles, the caliper mounting bracket will need to be removed first in order to remove the rotor.
- Clean the hub surface to remove dust and debris; this will ensure the new rotor sits flush on the hub and eliminates any possibility of pedal pulsation.
- Clean the new rotors unless they come with a rust-fighting coating
- Install new rotor
- Replace the new brake hardware, make sure to apply lots of lubricant at the slider contact points to ensure there will be no grinding between the parts.
- The wear-sensor position orientation should be noted to install the pads correctly. Different pads have a varying wear-sensor placement.
- Install new brake pads
- Look at the brake caliper and piston to inspect it for any brake fluid seepage; if it is clean, use the disc brake pad spreader set to seat the caliper piston safely.
- Install the caliper after taking it off of the bungee; it’s important to mention not to overtighten the caliper bolts. This can lead to much bigger problems. Start by tightening the bolts with a socket, then use a torque wrench to tighten them correctly.
- Check the brake fluid reservoir, top off to the max line if needed and remember to replace the cap to avoid any spillage.
- Pump the brakes until they feel firm to ensure the brake fluid is flowing correctly and the system is working.
- Check the reservoir one more time and top up if necessary, install the wheel and lug nuts while the vehicle is raised. Raise the vehicle again with a jack and remove the stands, lower the vehicle until it is firmly on the ground again, tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench and repeat the process on the remaining wheels.
Does Walmart Offer Brake Pads Replacement?
Walmart currently does not offer brake pads replacement services. At one point, Walmart offered a Brake Pad Replacement Service At Home through a third party called Wrench Mobile Mechanic Service. It’s unclear if this service is still available and may depend on the location of the Auto Center.
Based on our research, most Walmart Auto Center already discontinued this service. Hopefully, in the future, Walmart will offer brake replacement services to complement their extensive auto maintenance menu.