Brakes and rotors. Lifespan and what brand to replace with. - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 11:26 PM
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Brakes and rotors. Lifespan and what brand to replace with.

Hello. Wow. I miss this site but that's what happens things are busy

I'm sorry if any of these questions that repeat themselves elsewhere in the forum.

I have had my 2011 Rav4 for just over 2 years and I absolutly love it. However, my last oil change at the beginning of summer, I was told from the Toyota service centre that I brought it to that my front brakes are at 20% and my rotors have some grooves in them so I should have it replaced. They told me that they would need replacing by the time my next oil change would be due.

Now I'm planning to bring in my vehicle next week to have an oil change done and I'm contemplating to either get Toyota to do the brakes and rotors or myself.

To have the oil change with synthetic oil, rotors and brakes done, I'm looking at close to 1k in expenses for parts and labour after taxes. I thought this to be a bit excessive.

Here are my questions:

1) The wear and tear on the front brakes and rotors seems to be a bit premature. My last vehicle was a 2007 Nissan Versa and I needed front brakes about 30k later (around the 90k mark). I would assume it's because the vehicle is a lot heavier and more weight to help stop momentum with. What's the average km or mileage that this forum of Rav4 owners have for front brakes and rotor replacement?

2) I'd like to stick with Toyota brakes and rotors but is there a difference whether I stay with Toyota, go with a no-name or is there a superior 3rd party that I should consider for brakes and/or rotors brand? I want to go with quality and pay a bit more if needed unless there's not much difference in performance for the price difference.

3) Are the brakes from Toyota semi-metallic or ceramic? If it's not ceramic, should I get ceramic brakes? I'd pay more for better braking power and more longevity in the pads as long as the rotors won't warp from heating up more. I don't see much brake dust if any on the side of my Rav4.

4) I have the extended warranty but I think any parts that have wear and tear are not covered under this warranty. I have 5 years or 160,000km. I'm assuming if there was premature wear from the front brakes and rotors that this is not a warranty issue. The back brakes are more then fine with 60% brake pads left. But, let's say the pads and rotors aren't covered under the warranty, if I replace them myself or through another garage other then Toyota, can Toyota reject any warranty issues that might occur with any other part of the vehicle in the future since they might see this as "tamporing"? Kinda like breaking the seal off of something because you might think it's a user-serviceable part and replacing the part with one that Toyota knows they didn't install or carry that particular brand.

5) Should I consider asking them to have the rotors machined or am I just asking for trouble? I had rotors machined before and uneven brake pad wear and loud grinding of the brakes was the norm on my Cavalier. I told myself "never again" to have the rotors machined. If it's best to replace the rotors, everyone has told me with a bit of time, most people can do the brakes and rotors job themselves. I was thinking of doing the job myself if I replace the brakes and rotors and have a garage such as Toyota to do the work if it involves machining the rotors.

6) If the best route is doing it myself and getting genuine Toyota parts, where's the besty place I should go since I'm from Canada? If the parts you recommend are from a 3rd party, then my best bet I guess would be to goto a parts source or Canadian Tire and get the parts there if they carry it. But if there are better places to get this stuff, I'm all ears

Sorry for the novel but I just wanted to get all the bases covered.
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 12:21 AM
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1. Brake wear is very variable. Not only is the RAV heavier and its wheels heavier, but it's also likely the pad material is different than your last car.

2. You can't go wrong sticking with OEM parts. If you have experience with some performance brand, the upgrade may help. There's quality aftermarket parts, and there's crap.

3. Ceramic pads may or may not give you more brake friction - any difference will be subtle. Unless you use them hard for mountains or towing, fading will not be a problem. Ceramics will not make more heat just by nature. What ceramics are known for is being cleaner, less brake dust. Ceramics might even wear the rotors less than semi-metallic. Yeah, that's what I use unless I have a specific high performance need.

4. Front brakes always wear faster than rears because they carry more of the braking load. I would not expect pads and rotors to be warranty items unless you have an unusual problem. We bought a program car once (14K miles, first owner), brakes were shot. Turns out the "program" was drivers' ed. Dealer replaced pads and rotors under warranty. Either doing the work yourself or having your favorite independent shop do it will not void a warranty unless you screw up the job or put in defective parts. Pads and rotors are simple enough so I would be pretty confident of it.

5. First check the rotor thickness against the specified minimum (usually stamped right onto the rotor). If there's a lot of rotor material left, then see what the disks look like - they always have little grooves, no need to regrind that. New or reground rotors will have little grooves in 20 miles anyway. And there are competent and incopmpetent machine shops. Some can regrind your rotors and make them worse.

Finally, after the replacement, take the time to bed in the new pads and rotors. First a few easy stops to settle the parts together. Then about 20 miles easy driving, even local errands. Then a series of hard stops from about 60mph, hard enough and repeated enough to get the brakes close to fading. That really will make a difference in how well it brakes from then on. I think it even helps them last longer.
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#3 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 02:38 AM
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Just buy the brake pads and rotors from you favourite shop (Amazon, RockAuto, local store) and get an independent mechanic to change them if you don't want to get dirty. Don't bother turning/resurfacing rotors. New rotors cost almost as much as the service. And no need to get expensive rotors; they are all made in China!

Ceramic pads are fine. I believe OEM pads are ceramic too.

I replaced my rear pads with Bendix brand and I am happy with them. Unlike OEM, they also come with all the necessary hardware.

FYI, on my Mazda 6 V6 FWD, the rear brake pads got used up first and its was the norm.

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#4 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 02:48 AM
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Note that the pads are within specs until they are down to 1 mm!! They will under-measure to generate business. Be skeptical. There is a noise maker that will make noise at that point. Some grooves are not a problem.

We used to think our OEM brakes were ceramic, but I think the current consensus is that they are organic.

If you get new pads, get the rotors machined. The brake shop/dealer will prefer you to buy new rotors. Often the machining is included in the price. Make the shop show you the measurements if they are resistant to machining.

Owners of European cars are used to having to get new rotors. Your RAV4 should be able to be machined quite well. There is lots of metal on those rotors.

I would tend to get the factory pads. KSNancy gave good info. But you will be able to find lots of threads on this including DIY I think.

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#5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 08:15 AM
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We got 145000 km out of our original front brakes. Now 229000 km and wrote off but probably had another 30 000 in them.

I replaced just the pads since the rotors looked fine and were within specs. They started rusting and disintegrating rapidly and one warped. For the very low cost of rotors on a vehicle this small, and the conditions our vehicles are subject in southern Ontario I would definitely replace the rotors. On a bigger truck with much more substantial rotors I never found this to be the case. Live and learn, but I would replace them. Keep the caliper pins lubed to get maximum life and even wear.

I found the OEM pads to be excellent quality, long life and no noises so I just used them. If you talk to the guy at the parts counter they will usually give you a discount. They have LOTS of leeway to do this. The guy at my dealership sometimes feels so bad about the price of Toyota parts he has given me employee price, even better than trade price.

Actually I wish the parts guys sold the cars.....

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#6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 02:49 PM
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I looked at rotors from Toyota and other manufacturers and never knew the difference with regular and slotted/drilled rotors if it helps out more or not with either braking or with the longevity of the rotor or brake pads.

I had friends refer me to Discount Auto Parts Canadian Online Store - New Auto Parts at Factory Outlet Prices however other Canadians on this forum may have other ideas on the best place to get the parts online. I was trying to find out a good place to get Toyota parts online that will ship to Canada but the choices seem to be quote fewer then our American friends south of the the border.
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 04:53 PM
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I'm at 40k miles, the front brake pad has about ~3mm of material left. The outer and inner diameter of the rotor has little to no wear. It leaves a step (~<.100") on the outer and inner edge. The brake pad has more wear on the outer and inner part of it. Very odd. The brake rotor I would avoid is the brembo. They get rusty after 5k miles on the hub section.
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 07:01 PM
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I haven't measured how much material is left on the pad. I just listened to the dealership when I had my last oil change and told me that a replacement would nececessary in the fall. Braking is still very good and no whining noise yet. Maybe I'm jumping the gun a little bit. The rotors have been checked and are well grooved so I need to replace them. I'm unsure about the brand names of the rotors that I've been looking at so far but I did see a few variations and let's see what the forum recommends:

What's best? Flat rotors or the "performance" ones with grooves and drilled holes?

There seems to be slight variations for rotors and pads when it comes to 3rd row seating. My base Rav4 doesn't have 3rd row seating but it has the option I believe. Are those rotors and pads just beefier because of the extra weight or will it not fit on my base Rav4 since there might be slight differences from models that have 3rd row seating ready straight from the factory? I thought all Rav4's were basically interchangeable in parts as long as it's the same year with only minor differences (such as bolt types from steel to alloy wheels).
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#9 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 09:37 PM
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For rotors, flat ones are just fine. Get holes/grooves if you to be more ricer . J/k, they do look cool but rather useless of this vehicle.

I usually shop Autopartsway.ca, CanadianTire and a local Ottawa shop. I usually end up buying from the local shop.
If I am driving to USA, then I order from Amazon.com or RockAuto.

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#10 (permalink) Old 09-29-2013, 09:37 PM
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I believe all v6 and 3rd row has bigger front brakes. Go with the unslotted or undrilled rotor. They're more durable.
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