How to Replace Front Brake Pads on a 1998 Olds Achieva Sl

by Tim Petruccio

    Even braking on your car greatly depends on the condition of the brake pads. Worn brake pads can increase stopping distances and make your car unsafe. The 1998 Achieva had front ventilated disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The car was equipped with electronic traction control and ABS. 1998 was the last year of production for the Achieva.

    Items you will need

    • Tire iron
    • Jack
    • Jack stands
    • Drain pan
    • Aerosol penetrating oil
    • Six-point box-end wrench set
    • Large C-clamp
    • Ratchet
    • Socket set
    • Flat-head screwdriver
    • Dead blow hammer
    • Aerosol brake cleaner
    • Torque wrench
    • Wheel nut socket
    Step 1

    Loosen the front lug nuts with a tire iron. Raise the front of the Achieva with a jack and place jack stands beneath the subframe rails. Remove the front wheels. Soak both front caliper bleeder screws with penetrating oil.

    Step 2

    Place a drain pan beneath the caliper. Install a large C-clamp around the caliper body, with the screw side pressed against the outboard brake pad. Open the bleeder screw with a six-point, box-end wrench, then turn the C-clamp to tighten it. Retract the caliper piston until it's flush with the caliper, then tighten the bleeder screw and remove the C-clamp.

    Step 3

    Remove the caliper mounting bolts with a ratchet and socket. Remove the caliper from the brake assembly, and hang it from the strut spring with a metal clothes hanger. Remove the old brake pads from the caliper and discard them. Lubricate the backing plates on the new pads lightly with caliper grease. Insert the inboard pad so that the mounting tabs are inside the caliper piston, then press the pad flush with the piston. Install the outboard pad vertically onto the caliper, using a flat-head screwdriver to spread the mounting tabs if needed.

    Step 4

    Push the caliper slide tubes out of the caliper with your finger. Insert fresh caliper grease into the caliper slide boots, then install the slide tubes back into the boots. Run your thumbnail across the face of the rotor and feel for grooves that are deep enough to catch your thumbnail. If you feel deep grooves, proceed to Step 5 to begin the rotor replacement process. If the rotor feels smooth, proceed directly to Step 6.

    Step 5

    Remove the old rotor from the hub, using a dead blow hammer to gently tap the rotor sides until the rotor is free. Spray both sides of the new rotor thoroughly with aerosol brake parts cleaner, to remove the protective oil film. Mount the rotor on the hub.

    Step 6

    Install the caliper and tighten the mounting bolts to 38 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket. Repeat the process on the other side of the Achieva. Install the front wheels and snug the lug nuts. Lower the car to the ground, then tighten the lug nuts, in a crisscross pattern, to 100 foot-pounds. Pump the brake pedal several times until it becomes firm. Check the brake reservoir, and add fresh brake fluid as necessary to bring it to the "Full" line.