How to replace the brake pads on your model 3

Brake Caliper Bolt Torque Specs

Front brake caliper mounting bolt torque is 94nm, and 42nm for the brake line banjo bolt.

Torque required for the rear caliper mounting bolts is 83 nm.

DIY Rear Brake Pad Replacement

Mountain Pass Performance provided an very thorough write-up on how to disassemble the Model 3 parking brake and then replace the rear brake pads. src

Time Required

Replacing the rear brake pads on a Tesla Model 3 takes about 30-45 minutes

Tools Required

  • a helper
  • 5mm Allen key/hex bit
  • 6mm Allen key/hex bit
  • Torque wrench
  • 21mm 1/2″ drive socket
  • 14mm wrench or socket
  • 1/2″ or 3/8″ drive ratchet depending on sockets
  • Floor Jack
  • Jack Stands

Step 1 – Loosen lug nuts

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheel a few turns each but don’t remove them yet.

Step 2 – Jack up vehicle

Jack up the right rear corner of the Model 3 from the lift point. For safety, place a jackstand under your car. It’s also a good idea to put a wheel chock or block of wood etc in front and behind some of the wheels that are still on the ground to prevent the Model 3 from rolling since you will be disengaging the parking brake later on.

Step 3 – Remove the wheel

Remove the lug nuts fully and remove the wheel

Step 4 – Partially disconnect parking brake harness

Prepare to unplug electronic parking brake – push the red clip away from you to unlock the connector. It will look like this:

Step 5 – Have helper get in the Model 3 driver seat

Have your helper get in the car. They must hold down the brake pedal, and place the car in N (hold the selector there for a few seconds). It is important to never touch the throttle during this process. When the car is placed in N, the parking brake motors will retract. Now you can unplug the parking brake motor. Once unplugged, place the car back in P, and safely exit the vehicle.

Note: You could also put the Tesla Model 3 into Tow mode rather than neutral, and that will automatically retract the park brake as well. However, after about 20 minutes, the Model 3 will re-activate the park brake so you still need to disconnect the cable from the park brake motor

Step 6 – Disassemble the brakes

Use a 14mm wrench and undo the two caliper slider bolts

Step 7 – Remove the caliper

Remove the caliper, it will still be connected to the car via the brake hose. Be careful not to strain it.

Step 8 – Remove the parking brake motor

Remove the electronic parking brake motor. You will need a 5mm allen key or hex bit. Be gentle with the motor, and be sure not to introduce any dirt or debris.

Step 9 – Retract the piston

Insert your 6mm Allen key or hex bit into the exposed adjuster.

We need to apply gentle pressure to the piston as we turn the adjuster, I tried with my hands first, but I wasn’t strong enough! We don’t recommend using a piston compressing tool, it really doesn’t need much pressure. We used channel locks, once again, very low pressure required, be careful not to mar any surfaces.

Rotate the adjuster clockwise, while applied steady pressure to the piston, it will retract smoothly and easily. Turn the adjuster until it stops. Don’t force it!

Step 10 – Replace the pads

Now we are ready to replace our pads. Remove them from the carrier, and replace them. They are labelled inside and outside, so there is no confusion. You may choose to use brake pad lubricant, we decided to forgoe that, since it will burn off at the track.

We compared the measurements of our old and new pads. The new pads were 8.5mm thick, the old ones were 4mm. We are going to the track in a few days, so we needed to make sure we have enough pad. 8.5mm isn’t very much for a new pad, but with our powerful regen, it should last a very long time under normal operating conditions.

Step 11 – Reinstall parking brake motor

The parking brake motor has splines that go into the adjuster we used our allen key in. You may have to turn the adjuster a little so the parking brake motor lines up. The motor will be able to adjust for this later, so as long as you can install the motor, it will be fine. Clean off any dirt, then install the motor on the caliper, and tighten the 5mm bolts.

Step 12 – Install caliper mounting bolts

Install and tighten the 14mm caliper slider bolts

Step 13 – Reconnect parking brake wiring harness

Now that everything is assembled, reconnect the parking brake connector, and engage the red locking tab.

The parking brake motor will do a full sweep to it’s limits, adjusting to the new pads. Don’t be alarmed by the noises!

Step 14 – Install wheel

Install and torque your wheel. You finished one side! Now all you have to do is repeat these steps on the other side!

Step 15 – Pump brake pedal

After completing both sides:
Always pump your brake pedal at least 5 times after any work on your brakes, this will ensure the caliper pistons are no longer retracted, and the pads are contacting the rotors.

The Model 3 will automatically clear the error messages that popped up during this process.

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