Eventually, your car will need new brake pads and rotors. Don’t bother trying to escape it, because you can’t. If you are lucky though, you have a car that doesn’t have the stupid phillips head screws holding the rotors on to the hubs. I was unfortunately not so lucky recently, but I have destroyed enough of these little screws to eventually figure out a way to get them out. Guess what else? I’m going to show you how!
Start off by staring down the rotor, threaten it a little bit if you need to, and don’t be afraid to give it the old “mean mug” either. You need to let that stupid phillips head screw know who the boss is. Use scare tactics by telling the screw that you won’t hesitate to drill it’s puny head off if it puts up a fight.
Next up, you’ll want to find a wrench, probably around 12mm, to slide onto the wheel lugs and jamb against the brake caliper. This will prevent the rotor from spinning when you are trying to loosen the bolt.
The next step can actually be done before you have the wrench on there, but I did it out of order for some crazy reason. Anywho… Grab one of those cheap phillips drill bits that are on the hardware store counters for like 35 cents, insert it into the phillips screw, and whack it with a hammer a few times. In my mind, this action shocks the screw and loosens the threads up a bit. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it seems to work for me. Shooting some PB Blaster on it is never a bad idea either, considering it is magic in a bottle.
Now remove the phillips drill bit and just whack the rotor a few times around that hate filled screw. Again, I believe this shocks the area and loosens things up. True? False? I don’t know, but like I said before, it just plain works.
Okay, your hammer work is now complete. Hopefully you didn’t hit the threads on the lugs, because that will put a damper on your day. The next thing you need to do is find a proper size phillips screwdriver. If you use one that is too small or too big, you will just strip the screw, which will add a world of hurt onto this project. Once you have the proper screwdriver, grab it as tight as humanly possible with Vise Grips. If you are lucky, your screwdriver will have a hex area on it near the bottom of the handle. That allows for tons of extra grip. Now, double check that your 12mm wrench is jammed against the caliper and preventing the rotor from turning. If so, it’s officially go time. Gather every little bit of muscle that you have in your body, and push into the screw while turning it. HARDER! If it doesn’t immediately break loose, give it a few more taps with the hammer, and also try tightening the screw just a tiny bit. That sometimes releases the threads from their herculean death grip and allows you to back the screw out. If you are lucky, you hear a “SNAP!” and the screw is loose.
Tada! The bolt is now out. WAIT! You aren’t done yet. Before it goes back in with the new rotor, put a dab of anti-seize on it for the next guy. You won’t know when or where, but somebody, someday, will thank you for doing it. Good Luck!