Skills and Knowledge
What is a brake pad spreader?
Updated October 2023 by Track Manual Team
For the DIY mechanic or anyone that needs to swap between brake pads for the track, you understand the painful dirty process of removing the pads.
A brake pad spreader makes replacing your brake pads a breeze and is a must have if you are going to be frequently changing your brake pads.
Why do you need a brake pad spreader?
After you remove your used thinned-out pads, there’s typically not enough space to fit your new, unworn pads. The caliper pistons are used to the size of the worn pads, so your new ones can’t just slide in without adjustment.
To make space, you need to push back the pistons in the caliper. This can be quite difficult, if not impossible, to do with your hands, but not so for the proper tool. Enter the brake pad spreader.
How to use a brake pad spreader?
To use a brake pad spreader, simply slide the spreader into the open cavity and turn the tommy bar to push the pistons back until there is enough clearance to fit in your new pads. Sometimes, your old brake pads won’t easily slide out, so you can use the spreader on the pad or pad backing to push them (and also the piston) back so they can slide out.
After adding in your new brake pads, don’t forget to check the brake fluid level and brake pressure. You may need to add more brake fluid or bleed your brakes.
The images below provide an example of how you would use a brake pad spreader. The silver enclosure is the caliper, the black circle is the piston, and the 2 black plates are part of the spreader.
Our recommendation for an affordable yet quality brake pad spreader is the