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  1. Disclaimer: I've owned a number of cars and always done all the brake, suspension, and other basic maintenance myself. So I have some experience, although I'm far from a "mechanic". I changed over my wife's '11 Sport's wheels to the winters the other day, and took the chance to check out the brakes while I was at it. I noticed a couple rotors weren't wearing all that nicely - the contact surfaces didn't seem to be having clean contact with the pads, or maybe the caliper wasn't squeezing the pads tight enough. So I removed the pads, used a wire brush and brake clean to clean everything up, re-lubricated with proper caliper lubricant, and swapped the inside/outside pads on each corner. While cleaning things up, I noticed that a few of the pads didn't move freely in their respective retaining clips. I bent the clips open as much as I could so that they'd still fit in the bracket, but even then, the pads seemed to bind a bit where they should have been freely moving. I also noticed that most of the clips had broken tabs that held them onto the bracket. Unfortunately, I didn't have the parts in hand nor the time to get them to put new clips in, so I reinstalled everything as it was after cleaning and re-lubricating. A couple of the pads still weren't moving as freely as I would like though, which leads me to my question... Can I just do away with these clips, which would afford more room for the pads to move around freely? Or do I replace the clips with new ones and just take a grinder to the pad fingers (?) to remove a little material to allow for them to move more freely? For the record, the pads and rotors are all about a year and a half old. Rotors are straight (no warping), and pads have PLENTY of life left in them. They were done by a Ford Stealership as a condition of purchase when we bought the car (used) at the time.
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