How to change rear brake pads and rotors on a 2005-2010 mk5 VW Jetta TDI or cup edition

difficulty: 2/5
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This article shows how to change the rear brake rotors, rear brake pads, and the wear limit specs in mm on a 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 VW Jetta TDI cup edition.

Please see myturbodiesel's VW Jetta TDI forum if you have any questions or comments about this procedure.  Disclaimer: Before you attempt any brake work on your car, refer to the factory service manual and follow all precautions.  Any and all information presented on this website is superseded by the official service manual and is not a substitute for the services or advice of a certified professional mechanic.  See the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer.  If the brakes are faulty or not working correctly, tow it to a mechanic and do not attempt to drive the car.  Faulty brakes can result in an accident or loss of control so have your local garage do brake work if you're not qualified to work on the brakes.

The rear brake pads tend to wear faster than the front pads because electronic brake distribution (EBD) on VWs squeezes the rears harder proportionally to minimize brake dive under light braking.  The fronts still have much greater available brake force.  Also note that the inner pad can wear faster than the outer pad so if you quickly glance at the outer pad through the wheels and see about 4mm, consider the inner pad spent.

The brake pads I used are PBR Axxis deluxe (mfr# D1108R) because they tend to have very low dust compared to many other brakes.  They aren't a performance pad but I wanted quiet, low dust brakes.  See 1000q: brake faq for more on braking.

VW Jetta TDI rear brake pad and rotor wear limits:

rear brake pad wear limit: 2mm not including the backplate
rear brake rotor wear limit: 10mm, 12mm is the thickness of a new rotor

The procedure for the VW Jetta TDI cup edition is the same except that the brake rotor and carrier are larger.  The part number is below.  If you have a regular TDI and wish to convert to the GTI brakes in the rear, all you have to do is add the larger rotor, dust shield (optional, you might be able to bend the old shield), and carrier.  The caliper is the same except the GTI part is painted red.  The part numbers for this are below.

The stock rear rotors are 260mm diameter.  The cup edition rear rotors are 286mm diameter.

Parts for GTD or VW Jetta cup edition rear brakes conversion

left dust shield: 1k0 615 611p (1k0615611p)
right dust shield: 1k0 615 612 p (1k0615612p)
left rear caliper (painted red but otherwise same): 1k0 615 423 p (1k0615423p)
right rear caliper (painted red but otherwise same): 1k0 615 424 p (1k0615424p)
carrier (2 total, 1/side): 1k0 615 425 s (1k0615425s)

Parts for regular brake job

brake cleaner spray
VW tool 3272 or equivalent (can be loaned from autozone or advance auto)

brake pad set VW# 1k0 698 451 g (1k0698451g)
brake rotor for regular TDI VW# 4a0 615 601 ac (4a0615601ac)
brake rotor for GTI/TDI cup edition VW# 1k0 615 601 ad (1k0615601ad)

Replace each time they are loosened:
(2x per side) 13mm caliper bolts VW# wht 003 250 (wht003250), needed for brake pad or rotor replacement
(2x per side) brake carrier 12 point head bolts VW# n 911 689 01 (n91168901), needed for brake rotor replacement

rotor set screw: VW# n 106 483 01 (n10648301)
anti rattle springs: VW# 1k0 615 231 b (1k0615231b) (optional, replace if damaged)

Brake pad and rotor replacement procedure

First measure the rotor thickness to see if you need to replace the rotors.  

Loosen the wheel lugs a half turn while the weight of the car is on the wheels.  Do not remove them yet.

Please wheel chocks under the wheels, jack up the rear, and make sure the car is stable on jack stands before proceeding further.  See 1000q: jack stand points for mk5-mk6 Jetta-Golf for some tips.  The Jetta TDI cup edition w/body kit has side skirts which cover the triangle mark.  Refer to the official reference in your factory service manual for the official points.

Loosen the lug bolts and remove the wheels.  Spin the wheels with the e-brake off.  There should only be light resistance.  If not, your parking brake is too tight.  Refer to 1000q: parking brake adjustment for tips on how to loosen it.

Loosen the 13mm caliper bolt while counterholding the 15mm nut.  The space for the 15mm nut is narrow so some thicker wrenches will not fit.  You do not need to remove the parking brake cable.

Slide the caliper off.  While you're here, make sure the carrier slider pins can move back and forth freely with no binding or torn boots.  Pictures of this are below.

Note how the pads sit in the anti-rattle springs visible above and removed below.

The springs have a little flare on them to help the tab get in on the new pads.

The new pads are thicker than the old pads so you have to use VW 3272 to press and rotate the brake piston in.  Do not force it in without turning it because the parking brake adjuster is inside the caliper.  Also open the brake fluid reservoir cap to let out any pressure.  If you need to bleed the brake fluid as required every 2 years regardless of mileage or as needed, see 1000q: brake fluid bleed on mk5 Jetta.

The tool can be rented for free at most local parts stores and works better than the universal cube type.  Below is the head adapter on the tool I had that fit the notches on the VW piston.

Below is a video showing how the windback mechanism works and why you should always use the parking brake:

Installation is the reverse of removal, the torque specs are below.  The new 13mm caliper bolt has threadlocker on it.  The factory service manual says to replace it every time but I choose to reuse the old bolt.  In my case, the bolts were not rusty, had clean threads, and have never been overtightened, so I applied a thorough coat of new threadlocker on them and reused them.  Warning: failure of the bolts will cause the caliper to fall off and could result in loss of braking action!  Your work is your own responsibility so I suggest following the recommendation of the factory service manual.

If you want to replace the rotor, remove the rotor set screw (the sunken allen head screw) and the 2x 14mm triple square bolts holding the carrier (shown below from behind).  Tie the caliper so that it's not hanging by the brake lines.

Make sure the carrier sliders move back and forth with no binding or catching.  Inspect the boots for any tears and regrease them.  The rotor can now be removed.

Installation is the reverse of removal.  The big 14mm triple square (12 point) head bolts are single use only stretch bolts.  Do not reuse them because they are not designed to be tightened to their final torque more than once.  Warning: failure of the bolts will cause the caliper to fall off and could result in loss of braking action!

Reinstall the brake fluid reservoir cap and change the fluid if needed.

Press the brake pedal and pull the parking brake several times to set the pads and then go for a test drive to make sure the brakes work correctly.

If the parking brake is sticking or has resistance, loosen it.  See 1000q: parking brake adjustment for details.

VW Jetta and Golf rear brake pad and rotor torque specs 

2x 13mm brake caliper bolts: 26 ft-lb (remember to counterhold the 15mm nut)
2x 14mm 12 point carrier bolts: 66 ft-lb + 1/4 turn (make sure to add the 1/4 turn, replace each time)

wheel bolts: 90 ft-lb (dry)

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