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Change/Replace Front Brake Discs & Pads


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This applies for most modern cars.

This fantastic guide is by system g, None of this work is mine.

Toyota Front Brake Disc/Pad Replacement

How-To - Part 1

The following is a step by step guide with photos describing the replacement of the discs and pads for most Toyota vehicles. There may be some slight variants and some differences in models, but the basic principle remains. Various problems can be encountered and a little technical savvy may be needed to overcome these obstacles. I have written this How-to based on my experiences with MR2’s and Corolla’s.

When replacing any brake components, the work must be done “per axle” i.e. both driver and passenger sides. If for instance the pads only need changing on the passenger side, then you will also need to do the pads on the drivers’ side.

Read this How-To thoroughly from beginning to end before attempting to undertake the work yourself. If you are not technically minded or do not have the confidence take you car (along with the parts) to a garage to get it done properly. Your car will not stop without any brakes or faulty brakes and can cause serious injury or even death.

Although the work is easy for many of us, you can not hold the club or me responsible for any incompetence or lack of technical ability on your part.

I reiterate; if in doubt, get a competent person to assist or oversee the work.

Parts Needed:

* Replacement Discs

* Replacement Pads

* Copper Grease

* Tie-Wraps / Cable Ties / Bailing-Wire

* Metholated Spirits

* WD40

* LocTite Blue

* Old Rags (to catch oil)

* Clean Rags

* Jack

* Axle Stand

* Wire Brush

* Ratchet / Ring Spanners

* G-Clamp

* 18mm block of wood


1] Park vehicle on flat surface with handbrake on securely but left out of gear. Place anti-roll wedge (included in most Toyota tool kits) or brick behind the opposite rear tyre to avoid car rolling back. Loosen slightly (but do not remove) wheel nuts. Jack car up and place on Axle Stand. Do not leave the car on the jack!!! Remove the jack and place wheel under sill (outside up to avoid scratching the wheel). Continue to remove wheel.

2] Remove the calliper from the calliper bracket, by loosening and removing the two bolts shown.

sml_1_boltsforcaliper.jpg Be careful not to damage the rubber seals.

3] Suspend the calliper using cable-ties or bailing-wire from the suspension spring. Avoid putting strain on the brake hose.


4] Remove old pads from calliper bracket. Take note of the position of the tension springs, wear indicator clips and anti-squeal shims on the pad and remove. There is no need to remove any pins or clips from the bracket. Remove any rust and dust from the calliper with the wire brush. Do not inhale any dust. Clean the calliper and inside of the piston with metholated spirits.

sml_4_Pistoncleaned.jpg If replacing the Pad only - skip to step No.13

5] Remove the calliper bracket by loosening and removing the bolts shown below.


6] The disc now should be able to be pulled off easily. However, if no copper grease was used on previous installation, the disc may seem to be fixed to the hub. You can either use a special removal tool available for around £15 from Halfords or get a couple of bolts and screw them into the two threaded holes not taken up by the wheel nut threads. These holes go through the discs and when putting bolts through them, the bolts will push against the hub, pulling the disc free.


7] Clean off all rust and dust from the hub with the wire brush. Do not inhale any dust. Remove all traces of grease (copper or otherwise) from the hub with a cloth and the metholated spirits. Clean all the bolts with metholated spirits and apply a generous amount of WD40 to the two bolts that hold the bracket in place.


8] Apply a generous and even coating of copper grease to the hub. Try not get too much of the grease onto the wheel nut bolt threads.


9] Clean the new replacement disc with the metholated spirits to remove any production oils or packaging agents. Apply a thin and even coating of copper grease to the inside where the disc will meet the hub when in place.


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Toyota Front Brake Disc/Pad Replacement

How-To - Part 2

10] Fit the new disc to the hub and hold it in place with two of the wheel nuts.


11] Clean the calliper bracket using the wire brush and metholated spirits and apply some copper grease to the four areas where the bracket makes contact with the calliper and hub.


12] Replace the bracket by fitting over the new disc. Apply a small amount of the LocTite to the bolt threads and bolt the bracket in place.


13] Clean the new pads with metholated spirits and fit the old wear indicator clips (taking note of their original position) and apply a thin, even layer of copper grease on the back of the pad and refit the old anti squeal shims. (Note: Some cars will not have these shims. Do not worry, just put an even layer of copper grease on the back of the pad. My brakes did not have the shims - thus these photos do not show them.). Refit the pads into the bracket.


14] Clean the retaining springs with metholated spirits and re-fit them to the pads in the same way they were before they were removed from the old pads.


15] Clean the visible sides of the shims (or pads if shim not available) with metholated spirits and apply a thin, even layer of copper grease.


16] Take the clean calliper and note the position of the piston. It should still be raised.


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Toyota Front Brake Disc/Pad Replacement

How-To - Part 3

17] Put the piece of 18mm wood on top of the piston and then tightening the G-Clamp push the piston back into the cylinder of the calliper. Make sure you place a dirty rag around your brake fluid reservoir BEFORE pushing the calliper into the cylinder as fluid is likely to overspill and will make a mess of your drive and engine bay... Doh!


18] Replace the calliper by fitting it over the pads. Apply some copper grease to the two bolts and bolt calliper into original position in the bracket.


19] Clean off excess visible copper grease from shims / pads with a cloth (do not use metholated spirits).

20] Refit wheel

21] Jack the car up and remove axle stand

22] Drop car back down and tighten wheel nuts as you normally would and directed in manual.

23] Pump the brake pedal a couple of times.

24] Repeat procedure on opposite side and take the car for a very slow test drive. Avoid high speeds and sudden harsh braking.

25] Check your wheel nuts are still tight once you get back from your test drive

26] Stand back and admire your work.


27] If all is well drive car very carefully with no sharp braking for first 100 - 150 miles and let the pads and discs “Bed-In”. Failure to do this will cause discs to warp & possibly crack. The pads can break down too ultimately not stopping you, potentially causing death... NOTE: That during this “bedding-in” period the brakes may feel a little spongy and unresponsive. This is normal. Once you have completed 100 -200 miles you will notice the brakes to be much improved over the originals.

28] Check all wheel nuts and all other bolts are still tight after the “bedding-in” period.

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  • 10 months later...
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  • 2 months later...
I have last fall done this job to my daughter's 04 Corolla S using virtually the same technique. Question - Is the use of locktite really necessary if I tightented the bolts adequately?

No, it's not necessary

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You forgot to tell them to check the movement of caliper guides, cuz those things like to seize up. If it happens grease up the bolts that hold the caliper and move in and out to grease up inside of the guide.

"Make sure you place a dirty rag around your brake fluid reservoir BEFORE pushing the calliper into the cylinder as fluid is likely to overspill and will make a mess of your drive and engine bay... Doh!"

Doh!, you shouldn't add any brake fluid when it gets low because of brake pads are getting thin.. When you're pushing the pistons in, you're just restoring the original level of brake fluid.. Doh!

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  • 5 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Echo brakes

This is a great site. I'm very glad I found it. The "how to" for replacing brake rotors saved me time and effort - thanks George.

I have a 2005 echo hatchback; it has a different system from that shown but close. I didn't have a torque wrench small enough to torque the caliper attachment bolts; what are the consequences of overtightening?

Best regards


Ottawa, Canada

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Hi there, I found this by searching for "2001 corolla pad replacement", or similar, in google. I just did the pad replacement today. I didn't turn the rotors, as I think that turning rotors "just because" is a waste of metal and money.

Having done pad replacements on multiple '73-'87 chevy's, rear pads and rotors and a 2001 land rover, and a few others over the years, I must say that this was the easiest pad replacement I've ever done! The hardest part was getting the old rubber piston seal on the drivers side to go all the way back in (and stay in). The passengers side went right in, we (my 13y/o son and I) had that side done in about 20 minutes. It was extremely easy. I appreciate the tips in this article because without it I'd have not known to look for overflowing brake fluid. With a couple of disposable old nasty towels, we kept it from making a mess.

So, thanks for this write-up. The master cylinder fluid tip was worth it all on its own.

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  • 11 months later...

Found this after googling for Toyota echo front brakes.

Very nice write up, detailed and informative. I actually created an account so I could comment... Specifically, step 17 goes against everything I've ever been taught about doing brake replacements.

When you're pushing the piston back in to the caliper, you should slightly open the bleeder bolt to release pressure, allowing fluid to drain out that way, instead of forcing the fluid back up through the system into the reservoir.

Two reasons for doing it that way. One, you avoid pushing any contaminants that have settled back up in to the system. Two, some ABS pumps on some vehicles can be damaged by having fluid forced through them the wrong way.

Take my advice at face value, I'm not a pro at all, but when I read the above, that one step just jumped out at me. Hopefully the way I've explained things makes sense.

Reference: have been working on cars for ten years, work in a parts store. Have had at least two professional mechanics teach me to do it this way.

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