How to Replace the Brakes on Toyota Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

If you have recently noticed an audible squealing coming from your brakes as you slow down or attempt to stop, it is time for a brake replacement. Toyota car pickup trucks have front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. In the front, you will have to replace the brake pads and in the rear, you will change the brake shoes. The procedures for replacement vary slightly between the two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive Toyota car models.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Brakes on a Tacoma

Twist the front wheel lug nuts counterclockwise to loosen them with a tire iron. Lift the front of your pickup truck and position the two jack stands below either side of the front axle. Lower your truck onto the jack stands with the jack. Twist the lug nuts out completely and slide the wheels towards you until they come off.

Push the C-clamp over the brake caliper and compress it if you have a two-wheel drive Tacoma. For four-wheel drive trucks, separate the pin retaining clip on the brake caliper and the retaining pin at the base of the brake pad.

Twist the mounting bolt for the caliper counterclockwise with a socket until it comes out for two-wheel drive trucks. Lift the caliper off the rotor. If you have a four-wheel drive truck, slide the pad retaining pin out from the base of the brake pad along with the anti-rattle spring.

Pull the original brake pads out of the caliper, if you have a two-wheel drive truck. For four-wheel drive models, slide the retaining pin out of the top part of the brake pads and pull the pad out from the exterior of the brake caliper.

Push the new pads down into the caliper until they sit in the same position as the original pads. Return the caliper to its original position and secure the mounting bolt in place, if you have two-wheel drive. With four-wheel drive trucks, compress the caliper with two flat-head screwdrivers, then push the replacement pads into the caliper. Repeat for the remaining front side.

Reverse the disassembly procedures you used previously to reassemble your front brakes. Slide the wheels back on and tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Loosen the lug nuts on both rear wheels in the same manner as the front wheels. Move the two jack stands to both sides of the rear axle and lower your truck with the jack. Remove the lug nuts completely and slide both rear wheels off of your truck.

Insert both 8-by-1.25 mm bolts into the drum and switch back and forth equally between the ratchet and socket to separate the drum from the hub.

Pull out the upper return spring that links the two brake shoes, using the spring pliers.

Hold the pin on the backing plate and twist the spring off the pin with the spring tool. Pull the shoe and the anchor spring out of the drum.

Pull the retainer spring out of the front drum shoe using the same method and unplug the parking brake cable from the bell crank. Pull out the adjuster lever, then pry off the washer with a flat-head screwdriver. Slide the parking brake lever out and then the forward shoe.

Unplug the remaining parking cable and separate the adjuster lever spring from the shoe. Pull the shoe adjuster out and replace all of these components by working in reverse. Complete these steps on the remaining rear side.

Items you will need

  • Tire Iron

  • Brake cleaner

  • C-clamp

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Brake fluid

  • Jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • 2 wheel chocks

  • Hammer

  • 2 flat-head screwdrivers

  • Brake shoe tool

  • Replacement pads and shoes

  • Spring pliers

  • 2 bolts, 8-by-1.25 mm

 How to Replace the Brakes on a 2006 Tundra

Loosen the lug nuts. Rotate each lug two full turns but do not remove them. They can be turned with the tire iron. Place blocks in front of the tires you will not be removing. Do not raise both the front and the rear of the vehicle at the same time.

Raise the truck. Place the floor jack beneath a support strut and lift the frame of the truck enough to let the tires come off. Place the jack stands underneath the same support struts.

Remove the tires. To remove the tires, finish removing the lugs with the tire iron. Set both the tire and the lugs off to the side.

Remove the brake caliper mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is held on by two bolts that can be removed with a ratchet wrench set. Tie it to the undercarriage so that there is no strain on the brake line, which is the black hose running from the back of it.

Remove the brake pads. The brake pads will slip out of the bracket.

Compress the caliper. The caliper is the cylinder in the center of the bracket. It can be compressed using the c-clamp. If it does not compress and has a groove across the center of it, you will have to use the brake caliper compression tool, which fits onto the caliper and you then crank it to compress it.

Install the new pads. The new brake pads will fit into the same slots that the old ones were in. Ensure that the black brake material is facing inward, toward each other.

Reattach the brake caliper mounting bracket. The bracket goes back where it was and can be reattached by tightening the two bolts back onto it. Reattach the tire and lower the truck.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Jack stand

  • Floor jack

  • Ratchet wrench set

  • Rope

  • C-clamp

  • Caliper compression tool

  • 2 wood blocks

 How to Change the Brakes on a Toyota Matrix

Park the vehicle on a flat surface and engage the parking brake.

Jack the car up and secure onto the axle stands. Be sure not to leave the car raised on the jack itself.

Unscrew the lug nuts and remove the wheel.

Loosen the bolts from the caliper bracket just enough the remove the caliper, but do not detach the bracket itself.

Remove the caliper from the bracket.

Detach the old brake pad from the caliper bracket.

Wipe any dirt or rust from the caliper with a wire brush.

Disengage the caliper bracket.

Remove the brake disc.

Clean all dirt and rust from the brake hub using the wire brush.

Install the new brake disc on the hub.

Replace the caliper bracket without fully tightening the bolts. The caliper will need to fit before tightening the bracket.

Insert the caliper into the bracket and adjust it to fit over the brake pads.

Replace the wheel and tighten the lug nuts.

Refit the wheel until it is properly aligned.

Repeat steps 3-14 to change brakes on opposite side of the vehicle.

Raise the vehicle with the jack and remove the axle stands.

Lower the car to the ground with the jack.

Pump the brake pedal several times.

Items you will need

  • Set of mechanics tools

  • Replacement brake discs

  • Replacement brake pads

  • Car jack

  • 2 axle stands

 How to Change the Brakes on a 2005 RAV4

Removing the Pads

On my 2005 RAV4, there were two bolts holding the caliper in place and I used a ratchet and socket to remove them, while holding the caliper pins in place with an open-end wrench. The pads stayed in the caliper bracket after I removed the caliper, so I just slid them out. There is a series of shims on the pads, so I noted the position of each shim and pried the shims off of the pads with a flat-head screwdriver.

Check and Replacing the Rotors

The rotors on my 2005 RAV4 had some serious grooves on them, so I had to remove the caliper bracket by removing its two bolts -- these were pretty tight, so I used a breaker bar and socket -- then pulled it off of the front spindle assembly. The rotors came off by pulling them off the front hub. One of them was stuck to the hub, so I just tapped it with a rubber mallet to free it, then pulled it off. The new rotors slid right back onto the front hub with no problems, then I reinstalled the caliper bracket and torqued the bolts to 78 foot-pounds.

Reinstalling the Pads

I installed the shims in the same way they were before I removed them from the old pads and coated the outermost shim with disc brake grease to minimize squealing. Then I just slid the pads back into the caliper bracket, lowered the caliper onto the bracket and tightened its bolts to 20 foot-pounds. After I finished up with both sides, I tightened up the lug nuts to 76 foot-pounds in a crisscross pattern. I then took the car down to a small parking lot down the road from my house and did about 20 stops from 25 mph without locking up the brakes to burnish the new pads and rotors, and my RAV4 was ready for the roadway again.

 How to Change Brakes on a Toyota Sienna

Removal

Lift the Toyota Sienna with a hydraulic pump or floor jack. Support the front of the Toyota Sienna with jack stands.

Take off the wheels and tire in the front using a socket. Hold the rotor disc briefly with the hub nuts.

Support the sliding pin on the underneath the brake caliper. Undo the bolt and remove with a socket.

Support the brake caliper with mechanic wire. Do not let it dangle from the brake hose.

Take off the two anti-squeal springs, two old brake pads, four anti-squeal shims and four support plates.

Installation

Replace the brake pad support plates.

Place a pad wear gauge plate to each brake pad. Replace the anti-squeal shims and support plates to each brake pad. Place anti-squeal compound on each side of the inner shim.

Remove a third of the brake fluid from the master brake reservoir until the reservoir appears less than half-full.

Push the brake caliper piston with a C-clamp or an old brake pad. Avoid wedging the boot by pressing lightly.

Install the two new brake pads with the pad wear indicator facing up.

Lower the supported brake caliper and position in place. Attach the sliding main pin with a torque wrench to 25 foot-pounds.

Replace the front tire and wheel assembly and put the Toyota back to the ground.

Review the brake fluid level in the brake master cylinder. Add new brake fluid to the reservoir.

Press the brake pedal of the Sienna several times to set the brake pad firmly in place before driving the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Hydraulic pump

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket

  • Torque wrench