How to Replace Brake Pads in Toyota Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

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 car on your own will save you money and will educate you about DIY car work.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Brake Pads in a Toyota Avalon

Park the Avalon on a flat surface, away from passing traffic, allowing you ample space to work on both sides of the vehicle.

Turn off the engine.

Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels with the tire iron.

Place the jack beneath the frame, in the font of the Toyota, and lift the front tires at least three inches off the ground. Place jack stands beneath the axles to support the vehicle.

Remove the lug nuts and take the front wheels off.

Remove the two caliper slide pins located on the back of the caliper. Turn each of the pins three full turns with a 13-mm wrench before finishing the removal with your hands.

Lift the caliper from the rotor and caliper bridge and place it on top of the brake rotor or steering arm. Do not let the caliper hang from the brake assembly by the brake line.

Pry the worn brake pads from the caliper bridge with a flat-head screwdriver.

Inspect the caliper bridge and rotor for damage. Remove any rust from the components with brake parts cleaner and a wire brush.

Apply anti-squeal brake grease to the back sides of the new brake pads and slide them into the caliper bracket slots.

Open the brake fluid bleed valve on the caliper with a 10-mm wrench. Place a drip pan beneath the caliper to catch any leaking brake fluid. One-half turn with the wrench will sufficiently open the valve.

Place the C-clamp around the caliper piston and the back of the caliper itself. Squeeze the piston until it is fully recessed within the side of the caliper. Remove the clamp.

Close the bleed valve with the 10-mm wrench.

Place the caliper back over the new brake pads and screw in the caliper slide pins. Tighten both pins with the 13-mm wrench.

Repeat steps 6 through 14 to replace any additional sets of brake pads.

Replace the Avalon's wheels onto the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts by hand.

Lift the Toyota with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the tires back to the ground and tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Start the engine. Press the brake pedal three times slowly to replenish the fluid inside the caliper and reset the caliper pistons.

Pull the hood release lever located under the dashboard, on the driver's side of the Avalon. Move to the front of the vehicle.

Lift the hood and remove the master cylinder cap. The cap is located on the right side of the motor, near the back of the engine compartment.

Check the level of brake fluid in the reservoir. Insert the funnel into the container and fill the reservoir with brake fluid, as necessary.

Remove the funnel and replace the master cylinder cap. Close the Toyota's hood.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13-mm wrench

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Brake pads

  • Brake grease

  • 10-mm wrench

  • Drip pan

  • C-clamp

  • Funnel

  • Brake fluid

 How to Change Brake Pads on a 2007 Toyota RAV4

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Items you will need

  • Wheel wedge

  • Brake fluid siphon

  • Tire nut wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stand(s)

  • 4-inch C-clamp or larger

  • Open-end/box-end combination metric wrench set

  • Caliper hanger

  • Replacement brake pads, shims, pad clips and springs set

  • Silicone brake lubricant

  • Brake pad anti-squeal compound or spray

  • Torque wrench with metric socket set

  • Brake fluid

 How to Change the Brake Pads on a 2002 Camry

Park your 2002 Toyota Camry on a flat surface before applying the parking brake. Remove the hubcaps. Place a tire chock behind one of the front tires.

Loosen the front lug stud nuts with the lug wrench and locking lug nut key if so equipped, using the lug nut wrench. Break the lug nuts loose from the rim and tire assembly only by turning them counterclockwise.

Use a jack to lift one front quarter panel high enough to place a jack stand beneath the front frame rail then repeat this step for the other front quarter panel. Remove the lug nuts and the wheels.

Use a 14 mm box-end wrench to remove the upper and lower caliper mounting bolts from the inboard housing of the caliper (whichever side you start with).

Pry the caliper off of the anchor plate of the knuckle assembly using a prybar then use a bungee cord to support the caliper on the coil spring of the suspension. This will prevent damage to the brake hose.

Use a 12-inch pair of channel locks (or larger) to gently and slowly squeeze the piston of the caliper into its bore. This will make room for the new and thicker brake pads to be installed.

Remove the inboard and outboard brake pads from the anchor plate. Use the pry tool, if necessary, to pry them from the plate. Remove the pad springs, pad wear indicators (of not equipped with replacement pads) and the pad support plates. Again, use the pry tool to remove the upper and lower support plates if necessary.

Clean the support plates (if the replacement pad set does not include new ones) with a small, stiff-bristled wire brush. Remove any rust or brake dust from the plates, then reinstall them onto the upper and lower section of the anchor plate. Apply a light coat of brake lubricant to the section of the plates which mate to the tabs of the brake pads.

Apply the shims (supplied in the replacement brake pad set) to the backing plates of the pads (if not already staked by rivets). Spray an even coat of brake anti-squeal spray to the shims and backing plates of the brake pads. Allow the spray to become tacky before installing the pads.

Insert the pads into the anchor plate then replace the pad springs. Use the old ones if a new set is not supplied with the replacement pad set.

Remove the caliper from the bungee cord then place the caliper over the newly installed brake pads and existing rotor. Align the caliper mounting bolts through the inboard caliper housing and into the anchor plate and knuckle assembly. Tighten the bolts to 35 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and a 14 mm socket.

Replace the wheel and the lug nuts, then tighten the lug nuts with the wrench from the roadside emergency kit and the lug nut locking key (if so equipped) so the wheel is snug to the hub.

Repeat Steps 4 through 12 for the other front wheel to replace the brake pads.

Use the jack from the emergency roadside kit to lift the front quarter panel high enough to remove each jack stand--one at a time--then slowly lower the Camry to the ground.

Torque the lug nuts with the torque wrench and a 21 mm socket to 80 foot-pounds in a crisscross or star pattern.

Pump the brake pedal until it feels firm before releasing the parking brake, removing the tire wedge and then checking the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. Add DOT3 brake fluid to the master cylinder to the full mark if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Tire chock

    Car jack

    Lug wrench with locking lug nut key (if so equipped)

    Jack stands (2)

    14 mm box-end wrench

    Prybar

    Bungee cord

    12-inch (or larger) pair of channel locks

    Small, stiff-bristled wire brush (optional)

    Brake lubricant

    Replacement brake pad and shim set

    Anti-squeal brake spray

    Torque wrench with 14 and 21 mm sockets

    DOT3 brake fluid

 How to Change Brake Pads on a Pontiac Vibe

Park the Vibe on a flat, level surface and set the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Place the jack under the front center of the frame and lift it. Put jack stands under both axles. Finish removing the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Remove the wheel.

Remove the caliper mounting bolts with a socket wrench. Remove the caliper and hang it from the steering knuckle with a length of wire so it doesn't get damaged.

Pull back on the brake pad retaining clips until they lock open. Slide the brake pads off. If the brake pads are stuck, pry them free with a flat head screwdriver. Inspect the rotors for damage.

Place a small amount of silicone grease on the back of a new brake pad and slide it in place. Push the brake pad retaining clips closed until they snap into position.

Remove the wire from the brake caliper. Place the brake caliper in position and tighten the mounting bolt with a socket wrench.

Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench until the wheel begins to turn. Remove the jack stands and lower the Vibe. Tighten the lug nuts completely with a lug wrench.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket wrench

  • Wire

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Silicone grease

 How to Change Brake Pads on a Toyota 4Runner

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels you'll be working on. Turn the lug nuts 40 degrees counterclockwise with a tire wrench.

Lift the 4Runner off the ground and put it on jack stands. Use the floor jack to lift up on the front and rear (if needed) jack points. On the 4Runner, these will be the front and rear cross member. Place jack stands underneath the front and rear pinch welds, and lower the 4Runner onto the stands.

Finish removing the lug nuts, and pull the wheel off the hub. The wheels may be stuck on there, but if you give them a good kick at the top or the bottom, you should be able to pull them right off.

Slide the c-clamp over the caliper assembly, which will expose the back of the outboard brake pad. Put the screw-end of the clamp against the outboard pad and the other end of the clamp against the back of the rotor. Tighten the clamp to push the caliper piston back into the caliper. You can't see the piston at this point, but you will see a space developing between the outboard pad and the caliper bracket. When the piston bottoms out in the caliper, stop tightening the clamp.

Remove the caliper pin bolt and upper and lower mounting bolts. The pin bolt is the bottom-most bolt on the caliper. The mounting bolts connect the caliper to the wheel hub.

Slide the caliper off the brake rotor.

Open the caliper from the bottom and pull out the brake pads. Then, insert the new pads.

Reassemble the caliper. Assembly is the reverse of disassembly. Make sure that when tightening the bolts, you put a dab of thread locker on the threads of all bolts. Tighten the pin bolt to 23 lbs.-ft., and the mounting bolts to between 50 and 55 lbs.-ft. depending on the year of your 4Runner.

Spray the caliper and rotor down with brake parts cleaner to remove any oils from your fingers and dirt.

Put the wheels back on, lower the 4Runner to the ground, and tighten the lug nuts to 100 lbs.-ft.

Items you will need

  • Tire wrench

  • Jack

  • Two jack stands

  • C-clamp

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • Thread locker

  • Brake parts cleaner

 How to Change Brake Pads on a Toyota Tercel

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jackstand

  • Lug wrench

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Standard screwdriver

  • Socket wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.