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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2012 base model V6 Rav4 with 18K miles. I bought it used in December 2013 with 11K miles on it, which was driven by a Toyota corporate employee. For the past 5-6K, nearly every time I step on the brakes, I can audibly hear and sometimes feel (depending how intense) a knock or clunk (sometimes several) in the brakes. Only does it with the brakes applied and at lower speeds (about 35 and under). I have taken it to the dealer where they applied grease to the spring clips the brake pads sit in between. That fix worked for about a week and I took it back where they tightened all of the suspension bolts and told me they don’t know what it is.

I have escalated the matter to a regional rep that is going to look at my vehicle in about a week. I have done countless google searches hoping someone else has had a condition such as this. Since the greasing worked for a week, I believe the clip/springs that hold the brake pads have prematurely worn. The dealer can’t replace the brake pads under warranty unless the regional representative OK’s it because they are a wear item. The brake pads have a lot of life left, it’s the clip/springs that must have worn out prematurely.

It may also be the calipers or the simple fact that the Toyota corporate employee that drove my Rav before I purchased it, abused it badly. I am concerned it may be a safety issue even though the dealer said it was perfectly safe to drive. I am not sure, but my Rav sounds worse than a Chevy with 50K miles on it. Ha ha ha. :D

What I am asking from you guys/gals is if you have any strategies or ideas about how to approach this with the regional representative? You might have a solution too? I was thinking that if he advises a specific problem, that I have him show me with the vehicle on the lift so that it makes sense how the noise is created under braking. If he says we don’t know what the noise is, or if it is “normal”, then what? Any tips, ideas, advice, or guidance for flushing out a solution would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for reading and or a response if you made it this far.
 

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If it's an incidental, single knock it's most likely just the brake pads reseating. Nothing to worry about, annoying at most.
 

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Sounds like the pads might be moving ever so slightly when you hit the brakes. Agree with nosegear, wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Does the sound seem to come from the front or the rear? This clunk is common from the rear brakes as the pads shift, usually when going from reverse to drive or drive to reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, mostly from the front, occasionally from the rear. Usually knocks/clunks more than once as I continually apply more pressure during the braking process.
 

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This may be off-the-wall since my first thought was pad shift as others have mentioned, --- but I loaned my 200,000 mile but well maintained Odyssey to my BIL for a week and when he brought it back he said there was a clicking from the right rear at slow speeds while braking. Sure enough there was definite click, click, click below maybe 25-30 mph. Upon inspection I could find nothing wrong. Pads were plenty thick and had no play. Pulled the caliper. Pistons pushed back easily. Sliders, clips, springs, everything was fine. All mounting bolts were tight. But still when I rotated the disc back and forth I could hear a slight thunk but only with the pads touching the disc. Weird! I thought bad wheel bearing but it spun fine with no noise or play. I HAD to change something so I tightened the big nut holding the bearing on. It's "indented" in place so it didn't move much but wasn't near as tight as I expected. The noise is reduced but still detectible. Will probably have to punch out the indent and tighten it more.
So my suggestion is to have the torque on the wheel bearing nuts checked if they can't find anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess our year of Rav4's sound worse than Chevy's with 50K miles, because brake knock is "normal." Provided that IS what it IS. I am hopeful the regional Rep will find something else.

I just don't get it, my 2000 Tundra has never knocked and neither did my 1995 Corolla. I kinda figured Toyota has had a decline in quality, but this is unacceptable to me if it is "normal" and nothing to worry about.

Other input, suggestions, or how to approach the dealer with my problem is welcome. Thanks for the guidance so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I wanted to give you all an update on my Rav4 brake noise to help others with a similar issue. The dealer/regional rep. was able to replicate the noise on the lift and identify the problem. They isolated the problem to caliper pins on the front of the vehicle. During the prior visits they were unable to do this despite the vehicle doing it with them on the test drive. I suppose I got lucky, or they looked harder.

They ordered replacement pins and were installed today. The outcome thus far has been no knocking noise when braking. The explanation I received was that sometimes parts are defective. This process took 3-4 months and I am very happy it is over. If you have a similar problem, be persistent and patient with them, it pays off eventually, and I’m very glad my noise wasn’t “normal” as suggested in this thread.
 

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Thanks for the update. That was a very unusual problem. I can't imagine how caliper slide pins can go defective and cause a knock sound. But if replacing them fixed the problem, who am I to argue?
 

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I wanted to give you all an update on my Rav4 brake noise to help others with a similar issue. The dealer/regional rep. was able to replicate the noise on the lift and identify the problem. They isolated the problem to caliper pins on the front of the vehicle. During the prior visits they were unable to do this despite the vehicle doing it with them on the test drive. I suppose I got lucky, or they looked harder.

They ordered replacement pins and were installed today. The outcome thus far has been no knocking noise when braking. The explanation I received was that sometimes parts are defective. This process took 3-4 months and I am very happy it is over. If you have a similar problem, be persistent and patient with them, it pays off eventually, and I’m very glad my noise wasn’t “normal” as suggested in this thread.
Did they replace all eight pins?
 

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They replaced the front pins only.
I had both front and rear brake job done last weekend and I now have knocking sound when braking.

Knocking sound only happen after brake work done.

I guess i have to remove all eight pins and add more brake grease to the pin.
Hopefully that will solve the problem. If not i may have to replace the pin i guess.
 

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I have been having a similar problem.
My clinking happens on both application AND release of brakes.
I had a Toyota brake service done recently... Is there something in the procedure that may affect the pins?
-Mike
 

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After removing pins from caliper and greased them, no change still knocking. I took rear rotor back to O'Reilly auto part to resurface/turn the second time because the rotor doesn't have smooth finish surface, and still knocking. I then decide to replace with new rotor from AutoZone. Problem solved, it turns out to be defective/bad rotor. Not sure why, but it works now with new rotor.
 

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In my case, I had similar noise when I applied brake after about 15 km driving to warm up the rotor.

The rotor inside was rusted then got thicker 2 mm.
also, brake dust shield inner circle (see the picture's note point, not Rav4) was a little bit bent,
so they rub each other and made noise.

I filed some rust inside of the rotor, and flattened the bent dust shield
then the noise was gone.

 

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First resurface, the rotor had 11.4mm and second resurface the rotor has 10.9 which is 1.1mm thinner than the new one. The minimum thickness is 10.5mm

In my case either O'Reilly auto part screw up my rotor or the rotor itself defective. That's when i put new one and work.
 

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I currently have the same issue. at low or high speed, no thunking coming through the pedal when braking.
at medium speed like 25mph, and braking i get them thumping.
Could this be an ABS ring? bad Caliper or?
 
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