Which Brake Pad Goes On The Inside?

Correctly understanding your brake pads and how to install them is essential. When installing your brake pad, answering questions like which brake pad goes on the inside or which side the brake is going to be installed on is vital.

In a standard braking system, it does not matter which brake pad goes into a side of the wheel; as long as you install the pad correctly, you are good to go. You can find brake pad wear indicator to install likewise.

which brake pad goes on the inside

Brake Pad Basics (L Pads, R Pads)

To properly understand which brake pad goes where you need proper brake pad orientation. People believe that brake pads are the same, which is wrong. In a directional brake pad system, there are two brake pads: L and R, which stand for left and right pads. Directional brake pads are new brakes designed to drop the noise and vibrations created by brakes. The design allows the brake pad to contact the brake disc at an angle.

The letters on the brake part allow you to fit in the brake pad properly so that the brake pad can make contact with the brake disc at the right angle. You can also see an arrow showing the rotational direction. You can find out where the pad is to be fitted with the arrow. 

In simple terms, the L pads are installed on the left side of the vehicle, while the R pad goes to the right side. Due to their similar looks, it is easy to mistake them for each other.

Which Brake Pad Goes On The Inside?

Now that you understand what a left and a right brake pad are, you can figure out where the brake pad will go and which will be the inner brake pad. In regular brake pads, you can use any brake pad on any side inside. The reason for this is as a result of the fact that most brake pads come in similar sizes. Also, the brake pads could come with the same surface type. Due to this, paying attention to which side of the wheel the pad will be going to is unnecessary.

However, directional brakes have specific parts of the vehicle each brake pad will be going. You can tell which side pad will be going inside from the description on the pads. Some brake pads come with inner brake pad arrow indicators on them. The brake wear indicator shows where you will install the brake pad.

Do Brake Pads Have Specific Sides?

Directional brake pads have a specific side to be fixed to allow the brakes to function correctly. The directional brake pad needs to be set on the right side to avoid uneven wear or noise from the wheel, which is in contrast to the purpose of this type of brake pad.

You might wonder how you would know the brake pad orientation, which is pretty straightforward. If the brake pad comes with an arrow, you must place it in the direction of wheel movement where the arrow is moving. If the wheel moves against the direction of the arrow, you have installed it wrongly.

If the brake pad comes with a letter, you will have to install the brake pad according to the letter’s meaning. If the letter says L, you will have to install it on the left side of the wheel, and if it says R, then it’s on the right side.

Crosscheck to ensure it is on the right side to avoid issues with your vehicle’s wheel.

Where Do The Clips Go On Brake Pads?

You can find the brake pad wear indicator clip between the brake pads and the rotor. They serve the purpose of keeping the pads away from the rotor when they are not needed. They also help the brakes remain cooler, reduce noise, and ensure durability.

How to Install Brake Pads?

Installing a new brake pad or pads is relatively easy and can be done by yourself with the right tools and directions put in place. With these, you are good to go. But before you start the installation, you need to determine whether you are using directional or standard brake pads. If you do not know how to recognize the pad, look for the arrow or the letters L and R on the brake pad; if you see them, then the brake pads you have is directional and may require some added steps to determine the brake pad direction.

The first step to consider is getting your tools ready. Below are the tools that you will need.

1. Jack Stand

2. Lug wrench

3. Wrench

4. C clamp

5. Brake fluid drain


1. The first step is to get the materials you will need for the process. In this procedure, you will need two materials: new brake pads and brake fluid.

2. After getting your material ready, the next step is to remove your wheel. To do this, you will have to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel, lift the vehicle with a jack, and remove the lug nuts, then the wheel. 

3. The next step is to remove the slider nut. The slider nut or pin has a varied location with different brands and models of vehicles. Consult your vehicle’s manual to locate the slider nut. It is not necessary to remove both bolts. You can proceed to remove the lower bolt.

4. Once you remove the bottom bolt, the brake caliper moves upwards. Ensure not to touch the hydraulic hose. Check the brake to see if it is bad or worn out, and you can examine the brake pad thickness without taking it out. Sometimes, the brake pad wear indicator placement in the caliper notifies when the pad is worn out.

5. Next is to slide out the old brake pads, which are visible and held by the clips; you need to slide out the brake pad.

6. The new brake pads will need new clips. In most cases, the pad comes with its clips. You will have to snap them into position.

7. Apply the graphite-based grease with the pads to the clips to prevent a squeaking sound.

8. If you have a directional pad, then find the arrow on the pad and ensure that when you slide in the new brakes, the arrow is pointing in the direction of the wheel’s movement.

9. Consider the ears of the pads, the part of the pad that will go into the caliper first.

10. Using a c-clamp, you will need to retract the piston

11. Once you can retract the piston, check the brake fluid level. It should rise.

12. Reposition the caliper, as its coil has shifted out of position during the retraction of the piston.

14. Install the slider bolt and other parts, including the wheel.

Installing Brake Pad You Tube

What Happens If We Mix Brake Pads?

You must use one type of brake and not mix the brakes. Different brands design their brake pads differently, and when you combine the brake pad brand, it will cause the engine brakes to wear off unevenly. You will see that one of the brakes is pulling out of the caliper more than the other brand of brake pad installed.

Is It Possible To Install Brake Pads Backwards?

When installing the brakes, you must install the brake in the proper brake pad orientation, as you can easily install them backwards. Installing the pads backwards could cause the pads to wear out unevenly and faster. In some extreme cases, the brake pads could ultimately damage the rotors. A soft pedal could also cause it.

brake pad direction

The brake pad will also fit into the caliper backward, which is one reason you can easily make a mistake. When you place the brake backwards in some vehicles, it will not clip in unless you break them. It is essential to pay attention when installing the brake.

Which Brake Pads Usually Wear Out First?

The brake at the front wheel bears most of the braking load, making the brake wear faster than other rear brakes. However, it is still important to change all the brakes once they are due for a change.

You should change the brake pad between 30,000 to 35,000 miles. Although the period you change the brake pad on your vehicle depends on the circumstance under that, you drive your car. If you do not change worn out brake pads, you may face unsafe braking.


Knowing the brake your vehicle uses and what type suits you are driving is essential. Many people buy brake pads and tend to install them themselves without knowing which way do brake pads go.

If you use a directional brake pad, you also need to understand which brake pad goes on the inside to avoid installing it on the wrong side.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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