2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear Brakes

I’d been noticing for a while that my truck was starting to pull a bit to one side when braking. The pedal also felt a little squishy sometimes. Classic signs that the rear brakes were getting worn down. Since these trucks are workhorses, it wasn’t too surprising that the factory 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes needed to be swapped out after 150,000 miles. Figured it was time for a DIY brake job before they went metal on metal.

Researching Common Issues

Before diving into the job, I wanted to do a little homework. Figured looking up common problems would help me watch for anything funky while I had everything apart. Come to find out, these GMT800 trucks are known for occasionally suffering from rear caliper seize issues.

The sliding pins can gunk up over time, especially if you cut corners on fluid flushes. When that happens, the caliper locks up and you lose all braking ability on that wheel. Yikes! Naturally, that little nugget had me checking the pins extra close during disassembly. Didn’t end up having any issues, but good info to file away.

Shopping for Parts and Tools

With my research done, I headed to the local parts shop. Decided to go OEM for the rotors and pads since this is a safety component I don’t want to cheap out on. Grabbed a shop manual too for any tricky steps. Then it was off to the local chains to round up some jack stands, C-clamps, and my favorite 1/2″ drive socket set and breaker bar.

The rear brakes are pretty accessible once the wheels are off, but you still want the proper tools. I also added brake lube grease to my cart since fresh lubricant makes for smooth pad slides. From there it was home to the driveway for some weekend wrenching. Time to tackle those worn-out 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes.

Lifting Safely

2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes

Safety first, so the garage was cleaned up and I had my trusty safety glasses on. Two sturdy jack stands went under the frame for support before even attempting to lift it. Then the floor jack went to the designated lift point in the instructions. Slowly pumped it up til the rear was a comfortable working height.

Lug nuts were loosened in a star pattern with an impact gun to save time. But I always break them fully loose by hand so they don’t round off. With the wheels off, I double checked the lug seat and threads for any issues while they were exposed. Then it was time to clear some room and get a good look at those worn 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes.

Removing The Old Corroded 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear Brakes

2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes

Grime City! You could really see the rust and brake dust caked on. The pad material was dangerously low too, almost metal on metal. No wonder I was feeling some pulsations. First order of business was getting that seized caliper off so I could access everything.

A few stubborn bolts broke loose with some pb blaster and extra umph on the breaker bar. Definitely didn’t want to round those off! With the caliper hanging free, a heavy duty C-clamp gave me the muscle to push the piston all the way back in. That makes reassembly so much nicer later on.

A few whacks with a hammer and rubber mallet knocked the old rotor free of its hub. The slide pins cleaned up easily once I sprayed them down. You could really see the crud floating off into the drips. Time to clean and prep for the fresh parts!

Installing The New Shinier 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Rear Brakes

2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes

Going in was much smoother than coming out. The new rotor slid right onto the hub with no fuss. Then I dotted the brake pad contact points with fresh lubricant before fitting them into place. Pushing the piston back out took a few tries to get full clearance.

When it finally popped free fully extended, I knew it was time for the caliper to go back on. A few snugs with the breaker bar torqued it down perfectly without crushing the new pads. Before bolting the wheels back, I gave the rotor a good spin to check for binds or other issues. All smooth as butter.

With everything fitted neatly, I pumped the brakes fully a few times by hand. This seats the new pads and gets fluid flowing properly before firing it up. Then a last check of all my work and it was time to close her back up!

Testing Out

2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes

Man, what a difference! No more vibration, pull, or odd pedal feel under braking. Really firm brake response all around. Rolling it backward and forward a few feet while pumping confirmed no issues. Fired it down my street for a quick test drive and the brakes felt totally renewed.

No doubt those old corroded 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes were the source of my issues. Super happy to have restored full braking power and extended the life of my trusty truck further. Hopefully this gives you an idea of what’s involved if your own rear brakes start actin’ up down the road. Let me know if any other questions come up!

Final Thought

Proper vehicle maintenance really goes a long way towards maximizing the life of your ride. Brakes in particular can’t be ignored, as they’re one area you definitley don’t want failures popping up down the road. It was really satisfying crossing this DIY job off my list, and for such a reasonable cost too.

If your brake pads are getting low or you’re hearing those squeals and groans, don’t put off addressing it. Take care of your 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 rear brakes before they take care of you! Preventative maintenance like this helps ensure your truck is safe, legal, and dependable for all your trips down the highway.


Is this a job I can do without mechanic experience?

Yes, absolutely! The rear brakes on these trucks are very accessible. Just take your time, follow the instructions closely, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. Most DIYers can knock it out in an afternoon with basic hand tools.

What’s the best way to push the piston back into the caliper?

A heavy-duty C-clamp works great for this. Just slide it over the caliper bracket then slowly tighten to apply even pressure on the piston. Go slowly to avoid damage. You can also use a large brake tool if available. Just be careful not to bend or damage any components in the process.

How can I tell if my rotors still have good thickness?

Use a digital caliper to measure the rotor at its thinnest point. You’ll find the minimum specifications in your owner’s manual or online. As long as it meets or exceeds the minimum (usually around 1/8″), it can be reused. But new rotors are recommended if badly scored, warped, or rusted through.

What’s the best way to clean the slide pins?

A small wire brush works great for scrubbing off surface rust and brake dust buildup. You can also use some emery cloth or fine steel wool for stubborn grime. Just be careful not to damage the smooth surfaces. Then spray them down with brake cleaner for a fresh start with the new pads.

How often should rear brakes be replaced?

Most mechanics recommend changing rear brakes every 50,000-60,000 miles under normal driving conditions. But factors like climate, load, driving style, and type of pads used can affect wear rates. Signs like vibration, uneven pad thickness, or cracking/warping of rotors usually mean it’s time for a replacement.

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