How to Install Brake Pad Retaining Clip? Step by Step Process

Brake pads on some vehicles are held in place by a “retaining clip” that holds them against the caliper piston. These clips can break off, become dislodged or fall out entirely, which means the brake pads may not be retained securely. When this happens, it is necessary to replace the clips immediately.

 This post will show you how to install brake pad retaining clip correctly. Let’s get started!

install brake pad retaining clip

What Is Brake Pad Retaining Clip?

The brake pad retaining clip is a small metal clip that holds the brake pad in place. It is usually made of steel or aluminum and has two prongs. These prongs fit into the slots on the brake pad. The retaining clip helps keep the brake pad in place. So, it doesn’t move around.

How to install brake pad retaining clip – Steps

Installation of brake pads is crucial. Follow the steps, and they will work better. Here are the basic steps and clear your idea regarding how to install brake pad clips:

Step 1: Jack Up Your Car

Use a jack to lift the car. You want to raise the car’s tire off the ground so you can work safely underneath it. A jack stand is used for additional support but only use it as secondary support, even if you have a hydraulic floor jack. Leave enough room below your tire for you to crawl under the car. Place the jack stand on something solid and never put it under the car’s frame.

Step 2: Remove Wheels

Remove the lug nuts from the wheels with a lug wrench. You can also use a socket wrench if you have one. Set aside the wheels.

Step 3: Locate Brake Pad Retaining Clips

Locate the brake pad retaining clips on the back of the brake pad. There will be one on each side. Make sure you locate the correct brake pad clip as they are different sizes.

Step 4: Unsnap Brake Caliper Clips

Use a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers to unsnap the brake pad clip from the brake caliper. If you have a plastic screwdriver, it’s okay to use it for this purpose. Plastic is softer and won’t damage metal parts as easily as a metal screwdriver.

Gently pull the brake pad clips out of their position. You may need someone to hold onto one end while you work on removing the other end with your tools.

Step 5: Install New Retaining Clips

Place the new retaining clips into position and push them back until they snap into place again. Make sure that you hear a click sound when pushing it back in place. Check it carefully after installing brake pad clips.

Step 6: Reinstall Wheels and Lug Nuts

Reattach the lug nuts and wheels onto your car with a lug wrench and tighten it securely with the socket wrench or by hand.

Step 7: Lower Car to Ground Level

Lower your car slowly with the jack by moving it out of the way. Bring your car down gradually. So, you don’t cause damage to any components underneath or on top of your engine. You can also use a hydraulic floor jack for this part. But follow the same steps above when working underneath.

If you have an automatic transmission, wait for the fluid to settle before driving it again after using a jack. This will prevent damage from the lack of lubrication in the gears and axles.

Step 8: Test Brakes

Now put the car in gear and make sure it stops. Then, shift to the park. If there are any problems, you can test drive around your neighborhood or on a test track to see if everything is working correctly. If not, check that your brake pads are securely in place. There should be no movement when you brake.

What Happens If I don’t Install Brake Pad Clips?

If you don’t install brake pad clips, there are some potential risks. Like,

  1. If the brake pad slips out of the clip, it will move around more and make less contact with the rotor. This will cause your brakes to work improperly and could potentially be dangerous.
  2. If you don’t install the brake pad retaining clips, it could cause your brakes to wear out faster than they should. As it will not stop your car securely because of movement.

Tips on Installing Brake Pad Retaining Clips

These are a few tips that might help when installing the brake pad retaining clips:

  1. If you’re having trouble removing the brake pad retaining clips, spray them with WD-40 or penetrating oil. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then try to remove it again.
  2. If your brake pads are worn out, reach at minimum pad thickness level, replace them at the same time that you install new retaining clips.
  3. Avoid wearing slippers or loose clothing when crawling underneath your vehicle while lifted in the air.
  4. Always use the right kind of screwdriver or pliers for removing brake parts. A metal screwdriver can cause damage if used on plastic clips and vice versa.


1. Where Do the Clips Go on Brake Pads?

The retaining clip goes on the side connected to a caliper. It holds the brake pad in place against the rotor so that your car can stop when you press down on the brakes.

2. Are Brake Pad Retaining Clips Necessary?

Yes, brake pad retaining clips are necessary. They keep your brakes securely in place so that you can stop when you need to. Without this clip, the brake pad might become damaged and wear out faster than it should.

3. Can You Drive Without Caliper Clips?

It is not advisable to drive without the caliper clips. Because you’ll be driving with the risk of your brakes not functioning correctly, and this could potentially be dangerous.

4. What Is Brake Installation Hardware?

Brake installation hardware refers to the clips and fasteners that secure the brake pads to a vehicle’s calipers. These clips are made of plastic, metal, or a combination of both and can vary in size and shape. They’re also referred to as brake clips, caliper bolts, or caliper pins.


That’s all about how to install brake pad retaining clip. It’s an easy process as long as you have the right tools and know-how to use them. It takes little time and effort to complete this process. Make sure your car is safe before starting and follow these steps to complete the job. Also, you can take help from a mechanic to make it easier. You’ll be back on the road in no time!


Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer. He has both on hand and managerial job experience of 15 years in automobile maintenance field. He served as Captain in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corp of Army, Technical Head in Taxi Cab business, Head of Plant in Car assembly plant. He is writing automotive contents to share his expertise knowledge to car lovers for solving their vehicle issues.

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