Your Toyota is packed with advanced safety features such as parking sensors and airbags, but the primary safety feature – the brakes – have remained virtually unchanged for almost a century. While modern braking systems are much different than the older, mechanically-operated brake drum and shoe systems, their modus operandi remains more or less the same. All brake parts wear out and need to be replaced at some point, with the brake pads being the part that takes most of the abuse.
When replacing brake pads Toyota OEM manufacturers offer replacement parts that are compatible with your braking system. However, if you’re looking for better braking performance, perhaps you should take a look at some aftermarket brake pad manufacturers that make brake pads suited for specific types of driving.
Ideally, you want to replace the brake pads before they wear down completely. As brake pads wear down, their performance and the time it takes to slow down and stop your Toyota will deteriorate. This can become a huge safety concern, leading to dangerous situations that could have easily been avoided. Not only that, but timely replacing your brake pads will prevent your other braking components from getting damaged. So when is the right time to replace your brake pads?
Professional Toyota technicians recommend replacing your brake pads every 50.000 to 70.000km, or every time you replace the tyres. Tyres and brakes work together to stop your Toyota, so it only makes sense to replace them at the same time. By replacing your brake pads on time, you prevent the brake rotors from wearing. The brake rotors are the parts that brake pads come in contact with to stop your wheels from spinning. Unlike brake pads Toyota brake rotors should be replaced every 150.000-180.000km or every three tyre replacements.
The most common symptoms of worn down brake pads are squealing when braking and pedal pulses when you press the brakes. The squealing noise comes from a wear bar indicator that’s featured on the pads and can be heard when the parts wear out by 80%. If you don’t replace the pads after you notice the squealing noise, the indicator can dig into the brake rotors and damage them. If you feel the brake pedal pulse, your brake pads probably need to be replaced, or you have a case of warped brake rotors or ABS system issues. Whatever the case is, you should get the brakes inspected by a licensed Toyota technician or professional mechanic.
When considering all the different options, there are a few things you need to pay close attention to in order to ensure you choose the right pads. The type of brake pads that are best suited for your Toyota will come down to your driving style and driving conditions. For instance, brake pads designed for everyday commuting don’t have to deal with high-temperatures and extreme braking, whereas those used on high-performance vehicles will need to handle heat better.
For starters, quality brake pads should be capable of performing well in all types of climate, no matter whether it’s warm, cold, muddy, wet or dry. This is important for the brakes’ performance and proper friction. Pay close attention to the maximum operating temperature, which represents the highest amount of temperature the brake can be put under before becoming unsafe. Additionally, consider the friction response to temperature, which is measured in friction profile. It refers to how much force you should apply to the pedal to receive the appropriate response in emergency situations.
Then, you’ll have to consider the pad and rotor life expectancy. These parts wear down over time, so you need to consider how long the pads are designed to last. Additionally, you have to consider the amount of noise and vibration the brake pads cause. Lastly, you have to consider the dust levels produced by the pads.
No matter whether you choose to go with OEM or aftermarket brake pads, there are a couple of basic rules to follow to ensure you get a quality product. First and foremost, always buy from a trusted brand and seller. You don’t want to put your life in harm’s way by getting cheap, poorly made pads. Then, check whether the pads come with a manufacturer’s warranty. While the parts are designed to wear out in time, they are typically backed by a mileage warranty, which indicates their quality. Lastly, look for the Differential Effectiveness Analysis and Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedures certifications.
And last but not least, no matter what type of brake pads you end up choosing for your Toyota, make sure you or a professional mechanic/Toyota technician installs them properly. In fact, installing them yourself isn’t recommended, simply because there’s too much at stake. Installation won’t cost you a fortune, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your brakes will perform optimally once installed.