Tag Archives: brake rotors

How Do You Know if Your Toyota Needs Brakes?

The brake system on your Toyota is arguably the most important safety equipment on board. The brake rotors and brake pads on your vehicle make sure you can stop as quickly and safely as possible, helping you maintain control of your vehicle in almost any circumstance.

Like any other part of your car, the brake system must be regularly maintained, in order for them to continue doing their job correctly. Unfortunately, some drivers may not notice the signs that their Toyota needs brakes, leading to a dangerous and expensive situation! Not only is this dangerous to you and everyone around you, but ignoring needed maintenance on your brake pads can lead to damaged rotors, which then can lead to even worse damage to your wheel. Protect your Toyota, and everyone within and around it, pay attention to the signs that your brakes need service…

  • One sign you may notice, that tells you it’s time to replace your brakes, is vibration from the brake pedal. When pressing your foot on the brake pedal causes a slight jittering in the braking, then this most likely means the brake rotors have been warped, due to overheating. To return the brake rotors to smooth operations, they’ll need to be machined or replaced.
  • If you hear a clicking or shaking noise whenever you apply your Toyota’s brakes, then it probably means you have gotten to the point of needing to replace your brake pads. This rattling would normally be stopped by the manufacturers’ device, designed to stop the shaking of brake pads when the brakes are applied, but when the brake pads have worn out, the clips and springs may not be able to keep things from rattling around.
  • Another way of knowing that it your Toyota needs brakes, is by making a visual inspection, through the car wheel. You should be able to at least see the outboard brake pad, and also see how much of the pad is left. With a flashlight and inspection mirror, both cheaply available, you might be able to see the condition of the inboard brake pad, as well. If less than 3 mm of the friction material remains, then it’s time to start looking for new brakes.
  • Manufacturers have installed a device, designed for the very goal of this article. Sometimes referred to as a “brake squealer,” a small metal tab sticks out beside the pad, to alert the driver that the brake pad is close to its minimum thickness. When you hear a loud squeal coming from your brakes, and it happens consistently, every time you apply the brakes, then it probably means you have hit the metal piece. At that point, you must really take into consideration getting new brake pads.
  • Hands down, the worst sound you may hear would be grinding rotors. If the brake pad wears completely out, then the metal brake pad backing plate is the only thing contacting the brake rotor, which causes a terrible grinding noise will damage the rotors. If this is ever the case with your Toyota, you must go and get new brake pads, as well as brake rotors, as soon as possible. This is a scenario you will hopefully not find yourself in, but if you do, getting your brakes taken care of is your number one priority. You may also see grooves within the rotors, from the brake pads being worn down too far. If you see this, then it is definitely time to replace your brake pads. If the grooves are more gouges, then you will need to replace the rotors, too.
  • If you apply the brakes, and the car pulls to one side, without you moving it that way then this probably means that there is some unbalance in the brakes, such as a hydraulic problem or a seized caliper. If it pulls without applying the brakes, then it most likely not your brakes causing the problem.

These warning signs are something you should always keep in mind, while you are driving down the road. You should especially start looking and listening for these symptoms if you are reaching 30,000 miles since your last brake pad replacement, or if you stop and go frequently, such as in city driving. Some brake pads last longer then others, and may also cause different symptoms than others, so keep an eye on your brakes in general, too. If you pay attention to what your Toyota needs, and keep your brakes maintained regularly, you should be good to drive it for many years to come.

Replace Brake Pads and Rotors – How to Know When

Remember the day you first bought your car? You accelerated your car to an almost irresponsible speed and then slammed on the brakes to see how quickly you could get your car to a complete stop. When it came to a smooth silent stop, it felt like you owned the road and were safe being its ruler. Sadly, that feeling of security can change when the mutinous brakes create massive safety issues within your different stopping experiences. Oftentimes these issues appear when it is time to replace brake pads or rotors.

What are these indicators that will help discover the need for new brake pads or rotors, before it is too late? Let’s discuss them now.

• When pressing down the brake pedal, you should feel some resistance. It shouldn’t be too resistant as that could indicate there is something wrong with the booster system which in turn makes it harder to brake. If you feel a lack of resistance then it could mean a leak, either externally or internally, or that a brake caliper has seized up.

• If you check under the hood, you may find an excellent indicator that it is time to replace your brake pads or rotors. If you can find where the brake fluid reservoir, maybe by experience or from your owner’s manual, you should be able to see the fluid level which could reveal the answer to whether it is time to replace your brake pads or not. If you have new pads, the brake fluid reservoir should be full, and as your pads wear, will be at or close to the low marker. Be aware, though, that if it is below the low marker then this could be from a leak somewhere. Obviously, replacing your brake pads or rotors will not fix a leak, so it would be wise to have it repaired as soon as possible.

Pro Tip: Never “top off” brake fluid. Brake fulid level, between “FULL” and “LOW,” is a good indicator of brake pad wear. At the low mark, your brake pads have worn enough that you should consider replacement. If the brake fluid is below the low mark, then you should suspect a leak somewhere. Replace brake pads and repair brake system leaks before you adjsut brake fluid level.

• When you brake, the system converts your forward momentum into heat which allows you to come to a halt. There is only so much heat that your metal rotors can take before they begin to deform or warp. This overheating can happen by rust, braking on hills or riding the brake, and although not being necessarily dangerous, it can be a frustration nonetheless.

• The very common or well-known indicator that it is time to replace brake pads is a squealing sound when braking. However, a squealing sound may not always mean that it is time for the brake pads to be replaced. For example, it could just be brake dust building up on your pads and rotors or possibly that there are damaged components in contact with the rotor. Brake pads do come with a feature that squeals when the pads are almost ready for replacing. Whatever the reason for the squealing, taking a closer look into the noise would be a good idea.

• Keeping track of the brake pads thickness will help you in deciding when to replace your brake pads. You can probably check out the thickness by using a mirror and a flashlight. Once you hit 3 mm or lower, it is definitely time to start replacing your brake pads. If you wait too long then the pads can start to damage your brake rotors or drums and this would be unnecessary and costly.


As you have seen, there are a number of clear signs that show when it is time to replace your brake pads and rotors. Keeping your eyes and hears open to the different indications can be a real time and money saver, and in the long run, a life saver.  When those brakes wear and start instigating a fight between you and your safety, and you are ready to quell the problem, knowing when to replace brake pads or rotors will restore your right to rule the road once again.