Skip to content

BMW DIY Video – Replacing Rear Brake Pads & Rotors on Models with Electric Parking or Emergency Brake

January 29, 2016

You’ve likely seen our DIY video on replacing brake pads and rotors on a typical BMW or MINI (if not, watch it HERE).  The video shows how easy it is to replace the front and rear brake pads and rotors, without paying a shop a few hundred dollars.  Since the video was published, BMW has introduced electric parking brake systems on many of the newer and current models. While the front brake renewal procedures have not changed, the procedures for replacing the rear pads is unique, due to the addition of the electric parking brake system.  There are currently two different electric parking brake systems.  The first generation system uses an electrical actuator that activates cables to standard drum-style parking brake assemblies.  The second generation system uses electric actuators directly on the brake calipers.

Here are the links to our other brake service videos and DIYs:

Click HERE for front & rear brake pad & rotor replacement on most BMWs

Click HERE for Brake pad replacement on later model BMWs with new-style anti-rattle clips and caliper mounts

As noted above, the second generation electric parking brake system incorporates an electric motor driven caliper piston extender mechanism that mechanically extends the brake caliper piston to compress the pads against the brake rotor (as opposed to a separate small cable actuated drum brake assembly inside the brake rotor’s hub, or hat).  Unlike a standard brake caliper, the piston cannot be simply pushed back into the caliper, using a piston compressor tool.  According to BMW, the pistons must be retracted through use of the BMW factory scan/diagnostic tool.  The tool is connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port and then programmed to retract the pistons through the parking brake motor actuators.  Once the parking brake piston extenders are retracted, the standard brake pad replacement can proceed.

So, you ask, do I have to take my vehicle to the BMW dealer for rear brake service?  No.

As a DIY BMW owner, there are two options in servicing the rear brakes.  We can use an aftermarket fault code and scan tool (available from or we can manually retract the actuators by performing a bit more work.

Click below for Launch Tech OBD-II Fault Code & Diagnostic Tool with electric parking brake service function:
Launch Tech Millennium 90 fault code diagnostic tool

In this DIY video, we’ll show you how to circumvent the BMW parking brake retractor program and perform your rear brake service at home.  Follow along as we

perform the rear brake pad and rotor replacement on a 2010 535i (F10 chassis) with electric parking brake.


Mechanic’s gloves:

 Metric Socket, Allen, Torx bit ratchet set:

Brake Caliper Piston Compressor Tool:

Thin 15mm Open-End Wrench:


Sta-Lube Disc Brake Caliper Grease:

New Replacement Brake Pads:

New Replacement Brake Rotors:

New Brake wear sensor wire:


1)      Lift and properly support the vehicle.  Each rear brake assembly can be serviced with the individual wheel lifted, or both rear wheels, or the complete vehicle can be lifted.  Note that the rear will be off the ground AND the park brake will be disengaged.  Be sure to securely chock the front wheels.

2)      Release the parking brake by pushing the park bake button downward.  Check that the brake is released by turning the rear wheels.  Note that the wheels will only turn a few degrees as the transmission will be in PARK.  However, if the brake is engaged, the wheels will not move at all.

3)      Remove the wheel/tire.

4)      Remove the pad wear sensor (right-rear only) by prying it from the pad’s backing plate.  Dismount and move the wire out of the way.

5)      Remove the parking brake actuator harness plug from the actuator assembly.  Press the release tab and/or carefully pry up the clip end and pull the plug from the actuator.

6)      Loosen and remove the two 13mm hex-head caliper guide securing bolts.  Hold the guide bolt using a 15mm thin wrench (or the BavAuto 16mm) while removing the 13mm hex head bolt.

7)      Remove the caliper from the mounting bracket, just as you normally would.  Note that he inner pad does not have a spring clip inserted into the piston recess.

8)      Rotate the caliper around so that you can access the two Torx bolts securing the actuator to the caliper.

Remove the two Torx bolts using a T-30 Torx bit.

9)      Gently wiggle the actuator clockwise and counter-clockwise and pull it away from the caliper.

10)   Use a T-45 Torx bit to retract the piston extender.  Insert the bit into the drive receptacle and turn the bit, by hand, clockwise until it stops.

11)   Re-install the parking brake actuator

12) Compress the caliper piston using the piston compressor tool, just as you would with a standard caliper.

** The remainder of the procedure is just as with a standard BMW disc brake assembly.  See the DIY video (above) for specific procedures.

Bavarian Autosport

Comments are closed.