How to Change Brake Pads on a Toyota Tercel

by Bob Shneidley
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Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from

Brakes are an essential item on your car for both function and safety. Brakes wear down over time, even without misuse by the driver, and must be replaced after they wear past a certain percentage. This might be determined by an auto mechanic or you might hear the wear indicators, small metal strips in the brakes that emit a squeal once the pads have gotten too thin. Replacing the brake pads of your Toyota Tercel on your own will save you money and will educate you about DIY car work.

Step 1

Set your emergency brake. Remove any hubcap by working your flat-head screwdriver around the edges and then popping it off. Next loosen the lug nuts, using the lug wrench, in a star-shaped pattern. Then jack the car up and place it on the jackstand. Finish unscrewing the lug nuts. Pull the wheel off by hand and set it to the side

Step 2

Remove the brake caliper. The caliper is the rectangular-shaped part that is closest to you if you are facing the car. The caliper is connected by two bolts to its left of the caliper, one on the upper end of the caliper and one on the bottom. Remove the bolts using the socket wrench. Notice that the two bolts are different lengths and the long one will go back on top. Pull the caliper off the brake unit and lay it on top of the brake pad unit as it will still be connected to the car by the brake fluid line. You will still be able to complete the task without the caliper interfering.

Step 3

Remove the tension clips in the small holes on the right-hand side of the brake pad. Unclip them with your fingers and set them aside. Remove the brake pads by sliding them out of their slots. There is an inner pad and an outer pad; you need to remove them both. The the pads have shims, or small plates that attach flush with the pads. Save these and set them aside for use with the new pads.

Step 4

Remove the wear clips, made of small slips attached to the tops of the pad, and set them aside. Snap the shim from your old pad onto the new inner pad and attach the wear clips. Attach both parts to the same area as with the old pad. Repeat the process for the outer pad. Put both tension clips back on over the pads. Replace the caliper and the wheel in the reverse process of removal.

Step 5

Attach the wheel to the car with the lug nuts in reverse order of the process of removing them. Hand-tighten them first. Take the car down off the jack stand and firmly tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench so they are firm and secure.

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