How to Change Brake Pads on a 2007 Toyota RAV4

by Jody L. Campbell
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brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from

The 2007 Toyota RAV4 features front disc brakes which employ disc brake pads. The rear brakes on the compact SUV may use either drum brakes or disc brakes. This SUV also features two- and four-wheel drive models. While the brake pads between the two versions of available models are different, the procedure to replace them is basically the same. The front brakes account for 70 percent of the braking power for the vehicle, while the smaller rear pads (on rear disc brake models) only account for 30 percent.

Step 1

Place a wheel wedge in behind one of the rear tires (for front brake pad replacement) or in front of one of the front tires (for rear brake pad replacement) and then siphon some of the brake fluid from the master cylinder using a brake fluid siphon. Dispose of the old fluid and replace the master cylinder cover.

Step 2

Back off the wheel nuts from whichever axle you're replacing the brake pads on. Use the tire nut wrench to loosen the wheel nuts just enough to back them away from the rims.

Step 3

Hoist the appropriate axle using a jack and then support the RAV4 on jack stand(s). You can lift one side and complete the brake pad replacement if desired, or you can lift the entire rear axle, but do not use the jack as a support for the vehicle; they are not as trustworthy as jack stands.

Step 4

Remove the wheel nuts and then remove the tires and set them aside out of your work area.

Step 5

Place the C-clamp over the caliper housing so the upper portion of the clamp is braced against the inside of the caliper frame and the screw bore of the clamp is placed against the outboard brake pad's steel plate. Tighten the clamp slowly in order to drive the caliper piston fully into its bore.

Step 6

Support the upper and lower slide pins with an open-end side of a metric wrench and then loosen the caliper bolts from the slide pins using the box-end side of a metric wrench.

Step 7

Remove the caliper from the caliper torque plate. Place the caliper on a caliper hanger and support it to the chassis in order to protect damage from occurring to the flexible hose line attached to the caliper.

Step 8

Remove the old brake pads, shims, brake pad spring and brake pad clips from the caliper torque plate.

Step 9

Install the new brake pad clips and then apply a light coat of silicone brake lubricant to the pad seats on the clips. Place the replacement shims onto the steel plates of the replacement pads (if not already affixed or staked on) and then apply or spray the shims and steel plates with a level coat of brake pad anti-squeal compound or spray. Allow the compound or spray a few minutes to become tacky.

Step 10

Place the pads onto the pad clips on the torque plate, insert the pad spring and then remove the caliper from the hanger and place it over the pads and rotor.

Step 11

Lubricate the slide pins and insert them through the caliper. Hold the slide pins with the open-end side of a metric wrench and thread the caliper bolts into the pins by hand to start. After both bolts are hand-threaded in, use the box-end wrench of a metric wrench to tighten them.

Step 12

Replace the tire(s) and wheel nuts and then tighten the nuts snug to the rim(s). Lift the RAV4 with the jack high enough to remove the stand(s). Repeat the pad replacement for the other side of the same axle, if you've only lifted one side at a time.

Step 13

Use the torque wrench and a 21 mm metric socket to tighten the wheel nuts in a star pattern to 80 ft-lbs.

Step 14

Pump the brake pedal inside the cab of the SUV until it feels firm and the brake pedal is at a normal height. Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and top it off with new brake fluid to the full mark, if necessary. Remove the wheel wedge and then test-drive the RAV4.

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