Hey guys, we would like to take a moment and highlight the key points and important things to remember when beginning to tackle brake servicing on a Mk4(1999-2005) Volkswagen Jetta.
The front brakes are very similar to most other car manufacturers, an important point to remember is to make sure the internal hex slide bolts are completely cleaned of rust and dirt before attempting to insert the drive bit and loosen the bolts. The internal hex is usually 7mm but could also be 1/4″ if the bolts are aftermarket. If the hex bit is not completely bottomed in the slide bolt there is a high probability that you will just twist the hex out of the bolts and then it will be very difficult to remove them. Once the caliper is off you can proceed like you would on any other car. Push the piston out, clean it and put some brake fluid in the boot and work the piston in and out a couple times. Done.
While you are servicing the brakes on each corner of the car it is a good idea to inspect your suspension components for wear and tear. Check that the coil spring is not broken in any way and see what level of rust and corrosion has grown on the spring. If the factory paint coating is broken or missing the spring will likely fail(break) much sooner. The front control arms have 2 rubber core bushings that hold them in place along with the lower ball joint. The bushing to the front side of the car rarely needs to be replaced. It may look worn out and the rubber cracked but not very often does it have any detectable movement in it. The bushing to the rear side is the one that needs to be replaced fairly regularly through the life of the car. The easiest way to tell if the rear bushing needs to be replaced is to be driving along at about 50km/h, brake medium-hard and then quickly let off. If there is any kind of a clunk or jolt, the bushing likely needs to be replaced. Sometimes visual inspection can tell you but often it is hard to tell the integrity of the rubber by looking at it. The easiest way to change the rear rubber bushing is to remove the control arm and push the bushing out with a hydraulic press. If you have to replace the lower ball joint it is a good idea to get a wheel alignment afterwards for best tracking and least wear on your tires.
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