2002 Volkswagen Beetle Change the Rear Brake Pads

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The new VW Beetle is a retro-styled car that evokes the rounded appearance of the original VW Bug. But beyond similar appearances, the two models share very little. The new Beetle has a front-mounted engine as opposed to the original Beetle that had a rear-mounted engine. The new version also uses the same platform as the VW Golf, so working on the new Beetle often involves the same maintenance procedures. Performing a brake job, for instance, is the same on a Beetle as it is on a Golf.

Tools Used[edit]

Floor jack
2 jack stands
Socket set and ratchet
Open-ended wrenches
Brake cleaner
Brake fluid
VW caliper tool
New brake pads

Change the Rear Brake Pads[edit]

  • Park the vehicle on a level, flat, well-lit surface. Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts for the VW’s rear wheels. Lift the rear of the Beetle with a floor jack. Lower it onto a pair of jack stands. Do not work under the vehicle if it is only supported by a floor jack.
  • Locate the brake caliper and rotor. The caliper is the larger piece that goes around the rotor. Loosen and remove the caliper bolts with a socket and ratchet. The bolts are located on the top and bottom of the caliper, facing the wheel well. Place the socket on the end of the bolt and an open-ended wrench on the inboard side of the bolt where there is a nut. Turn the socket counterclockwise while holding the open-ended wrench.
  • Slide the caliper off the rotor. Tie the caliper to the chassis or to a suspension piece so that the soft brake line does not become damaged by the weight of the caliper while you work. Remove the old brake pads, one from the caliper and the other from the caliper carrier. Note their orientation so that the new pads are installed correctly.
  • Spray brake cleaner on the brake rotor and the brake caliper so that they are free of oil and residue. Open the lid for the brake fluid reservoir, which is located in the engine bay. Using a syringe, remove a portion of the brake fluid. Place the caliper piston tool on the caliper piston. Turn the tool to turn and retract the piston into the caliper to make room for the new, thicker brake pads.
  • Install the new brake pads in the same orientation in which the old ones were installed. Slide the caliper back over the rotor. Install and tighten the caliper bolts. Repeat the above steps for the opposite side of the car. Fill the brake reservoir with fresh brake fluid and tighten the cap. Reinstall the wheels and lower the vehicle to the ground. Pump the brake pedal until it feels firm.