Brakes and Brake pads


New Member
Oct 29, 2001
Springfield, Va
I recently took my car (01 Cobra) in for 45K service at one of the local Ford dealerships. After they finished the maint the guy told me that I needed to have my brakes done as well as my rotors turned. I've had NO problems with any pulling or drifting on this car at all.

I know that the pads are eventually going to wear out and need to be replaced this is a given, but some of the things the tech told me got me thinking.

How often should you replace your pads??

How often should I turn my rotars if needed??

If I replace my brake pads, do I need to by special brake pads for my car (tech told me Ford has special pads for the Cobra to keep brake dust to a minimum) IF this is true, can I buy them at the local store??

Can this job be done with realitve easy??

And, do I need to do anything special to my rotars if they don't need to be turned?? Wouldn't you only need to turn your rotars if they were warped or causing problems. Since I'm not having any is there a need for it??

(one friend told me to lightly sandpaper the rotars when new pads are placed on them, and to take it easy on the braking for the first 100 or so miles. This allows the breaks to form to the rotars and keeps them from warping.)
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May 11, 2003
Dryfork, WV
Replacing pads is one of the easier jobs. However, if you have not done this before or are unsure, then leave it to someone else. That being said, removing the calipers and replacing pads is fairly straight forward if you have adequate hand tools. If your rotors are warped, you would know it as you would feel pulsation through the brake pedal when you braked. Lightly sanding the rotors is what I do everytime I replace pads - 220 grit is fine. However, you need to "bed" the new pads by braking from 45-50 mph to dead stop - in a safe place of course - several times. You will need a caliper spreader to push the pistons back so the new pads can fit.

The rear brakes need a special tool to "screw" the piston back into its bore. Napa has the proper Ford/GM tool that uses a 3/8" drive ratchet and extension. Without this tool, it's very tough to turn the piston and screw it back into its bore.

Replacing rotors is pretty simple, too. You have to take the caliper and bracket off. The rotor should slide right off - it might have factory clips on the lug nuts to hold them on - just snip 'em off as you don't really need them.

If this sounds Greek to you, then I think I would recommend you have someone do this for you. If you do decide to replace your own pads - and there are less expensive ones than the Ford pads like Hawk - do only one side at a time so you have the other side for reference if you forget where things go.

Hope this helps. Remember, brakes are pretty important and should not be the first do-it-yourself job you attempt.


New Member
Jul 25, 2004
I have a 99 cobra, same pads as you. I upgraded to brembo slotted rotors, vgx pads, and russel stainless brake lines. Top it off ith some 600 degree wilwood fluid you will have a car that will stop on a dime. For about $500 in parts. If you get these heavy duty parts and only street drive it you will have better performance and far longer part life than stock. How much do you love your babay :)