2003 Pontiac Bonneville Replace Brake Pads

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The 2003 Pontiac Bonneville features front disc brakes with brake pads. It may also feature rear disc brakes with brake pads or rear drum brakes with brake shoes. No matter which set of brake pads you need to replace (front or rear), the procedure to change them is quite similar; the illustrated procedure will work on either axle. Inspecting your brake pads and replacing them before they get too low will help save other components, such as the rotors and calipers.

Tools Used[edit]

Wheel block
Tire iron
Hydraulic or scissors jack
Two jack stands
Large C-clamp
Box wrench set
Stiff wire brush
Brake silicone lubricant
Shop rags
Torque wrench and socket (suitable for lug nuts)
Brake fluid

Replace Brake Pads[edit]

  • Park the Bonneville on a paved, level surface. Apply the parking brake if you're replacing the front brake pads. Release the primary hood release latch from inside the car before exiting it.
  • Open the hood and locate the master cylinder on the driver's side firewall of the engine compartment. Remove the cap and suck out enough brake fluid with a baster so that the master cylinder is only half full. Dispose of the fluid, then replace the cap. Pivot the hood in the down position without actually closing it so the hood light does not drain the battery.
  • Place the wheel block behind a rear tire if replacing front pads or in front of one of the front tires if replacing rear pads.
  • Remove the hubcaps (if applicable), then crack the lug nuts loose with the tire iron 1/4 turn (only) counterclockwise.
  • Lift the axle (one side at a time) with the hydraulic or scissors jack, then support each side onto a jack stand.
  • Remove the lug nuts and wheels.
  • Place a large C-clamp over the caliper body so the top of the clamp is on the inboard side and the drive of the clamp is against the backing plate of the outboard pad. Tighten the clamp slowly to compress the caliper piston into the bore. Once fully seated, remove the clamp.
  • Remove the lower caliper brake pin bolt with a box wrench. Pivot the caliper upward and tie a length of string around the caliper to support it to the coil spring or other chassis component so it's out of the way.
  • Remove the inboard and outboard pads from the caliper bracket. Remove the brake pad clips from the upper and lower bracket seats. Use a screwdriver if necessary to gently pry them out. Some replacement pad sets may feature new clips, but check first because you may need to reuse the old ones. If so, clean off the brake dust, rust and other residue on the clips with a stiff wire brush.
  • Install the new clips (or cleaned ones) back onto the caliper bracket, then apply a coat of brake silicone lubricant (anti-seize compound would also work) to the pad tabs contact points. Be careful not to get any on the rotor, but if you do, spin the rotor away from the bracket and wipe it off with a shop rag.
  • Untie the string and pivot the caliper down over the pads and rotor. If the caliper does not fit, you may need to drive the piston of the caliper in a little deeper with the C-clamp. Use an old pad as an anchor against the piston if this step is necessary.
  • Replace the lower caliper brake pin bolt and tighten. Replace the pads on the opposite side of the same axle applying the same procedure.
  • Replace the wheels and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts firm to the wheel hub and then lower the Bonneville to the ground by reversing the lifting procedure.
  • Tighten the lug nuts in an alternate pattern (not sequential) with a torque wrench set to 100 foot-pounds and a socket. Replace the hubcaps (if applicable).
  • Press the brake pedal down about 2/3 of the way and then release it slowly. Wait 15 seconds and repeat this until the brake pedal feels firm.
  • Lift the hood and check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. If necessary, top it off with new brake fluid (only). Replace the cap, close the hood, remove the wheel block and release the parking brake (if applicable) before test driving for braking performance.