How to Troubleshoot Toyota Camry Brakesby Alibaster Smith
While the brake system on a Toyota Camry is an important safety system, it's also simple in terms of automotive engineering. Though it is ultra-reliable, over time, the brake system will begin to show signs of aging at some point. Some parts, like brake pads, inevitably fail eventually, as they work by creating friction. Other parts, like brake boosters, have a longer life before failing. Overall, troubleshooting Toyota Camry brakes is not very difficult.
Check the brake fluid level. This is the most common cause of weak or low brake pressure. Open the master cylinder reservoir under the hood of the car. This is located near the firewall on the driver's side. Check to see that the fluid level is between the lower and upper marks on the outside of the reservoir. If the fluid level is too low, add more fluid until the fluid level is between the lower and upper marks.
Check for steering wheel feedback in your Camry. If the steering wheel vibrates when pressing on the brake pedal, then the pad or rotor surface is uneven, causing feedback in the steering wheel. When you press on the brake pedal, the pad is not making good contact with the surface of the rotor. Normally, this means you'll need to take it to a mechanic or brake shop and have the rotors either replaced or resurfaced.
Listen for a metallic scraping sound when pressing the brake pedal. If you notice this sound occurring regularly, it it likely the Camry's brake pad wear indicator. The brake pad wear indicator is a small metal tab that scrapes against the brake rotor surface when the brake pad material reaches a certain thickness, to alert you to the fact that the pads need to be changed, and to prevent damage to the brake caliper and piston.
Check for brake booster vacuum leaks in your Camry. If you are not leaking brake fluid, your fluid levels are not low, and you have good brake pad thickness, you may have a problem with the vacuum lines on the brake booster. These lines create pressure in your brake system. If your booster or the vacuum lines connected to the booster have failed, you will notice that your brake pedal will sink to the floor or your pedal will go almost all the way to the floor when braking.
Check brake pedal stiffness. If your brake pedal is too hard to push, or if you push your brake pedal and your Camry does not slow down (or deceleration is disproportionate to the force you are applying to the pedal), you may have a pinched (bent) brake line, or an obstruction in the line. Take your Camry to a mechanic specializing in brake repair in order to correct this problem.
Items you will need
- Brake fluid
- Toyota Camry, Avalon, Solara, Lexus ES300/330 Repair Manual 2002-2006; Jay Storer, John H. Haynes; 2009