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Toyota Camry Brakes



  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, please let us know if things improve with the new tires. If the old tires were worn down to the wear bars (1/16-in of tread remaining), then it wouldn' surprise me if the tires had a lot to do with the problems you've been experiencing.
  • I have a 94 Camry LE, and the 'brake' warning light on the dash comes on intermittantly. this is the light that is turned on when the parking brake is engaged. When the light comes on, cruise control disengages. this is the normal behaviour when the brake pedal is depressed, or the parking brake hand lever is raised. I have a repair manual, but it does not show the location of the parking brake electrical switch. I would like to check that out first. does anyone have any schematics? has anyone seen this problem before (maybe related to out of adjustment brake drums or parking brake)? Thanks.
  • I have not seen this problem addressed, and am really hoping someone can tell me what's going on because my brakes are scary. If I try to stop my Camry suddenly, the car behaves on concrete as if it were stopping on loose gravel. The brakes grab hold as if to stop, and then when I least expect it, the wheels start rolling forward again. I have to drive extremely defensively because if I get into a situation where I have to stop hard to avoid a collision, I know the car won't respond properly. I've never had this problem on any other vehicle. I had my adult son replace both front and back brake shoes and pads, but that did nothing to solve the problem. I've tried to explain this to my local Toyota dealer's service dept., and they've tested the brakes, and found nothing wrong. I'm pretty sure they're not stomping the brake peddle as if to avoid an accident. The brakes are fine in routine stopping. It's when I need them most that they're not reliable. What can this be?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    What year is your Camry, and do you know if it has antilock brakes? (These became standard in the 2005 model year, and were optional from 1997-2004.)
  • On my 2002 Camry LE V6 - I could not break the nut that holds the rotors to the axel on either side of the car. I used a breaker bar with a cheater bar (piece of pipe) on the end and still no movement. Could this be a left handed thread??? If it is I'll be so stupid, because I've really tightened this nut now. No spray lubricants so far are helping to loosen. I can find no info from Toyota. :sick:
  • jk2005jk2005 Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 Camry with ABS - 46K miles on it. I am a conservative driver and can be considered to drive under normal conditions - no hard braking, stop & start etc.

    I need your input/opinion on what I am now classifying as a brake issue. When I apply my brakes, they don't squeal (to indicate brake pad replacement time) but the car does not stop well either. It comes to stop very slowly (gently) and I have to be careful since the stopping is not instantaeous (defensive driving). Do you folks think it is a brake pad replacement issue or something else that I need ?

    The current brake pads are the OEM pads that came when I bought the car new in 2004. I have never changed them till date.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You need to get the car checked out at a shop to see what's going on. It could be the pads, but there may be a more serious issue.

    You say it doesn't stop as readily as it used to?

    You don't have to go back to the dealer since you're out of warranty on the brakes -- an independent shop will do. Check with friends, relatives, or co-workers for a reputable shop.
  • jk2005jk2005 Posts: 2
    yes it dosen't stop as readily as used to. My initial reaction was that ..oh, the pads may have been worn out but after going through the forums I reckoned that it should make a squealing noise. So I was wondering if anyone had come across this. being a car novice, I wanted to get mentally prepared if there could be other issues or if I was making a big deal out of it.

    Any opinion on Pep Boys...just moved to a different city and hence don't have any independant shop recommendation.

    Thanks for your help.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I tend not to trust the chains like Pep Boys, Sears, Midas, and the tire stores. I think I'd take it to a dealer in your case then. Maybe you could find out which Toyota dealer has the best reputation, especially for service?

    You can always get a second opinion if the price seems exorbitant.
  • aldytaldyt Posts: 6
    If I didn't get VSC option on my Camry 07 LE, is it still possible to get that added by visitor Toyota's shop?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    No, it has to be built that way at the factory.
  • just_tiredjust_tired Posts: 11
    I have a 1993 Toyota Camry. This is an old clunker handed down to me from someone. So far I have ended up spending about 6000 dollars on the car since I purchased it in Dec 2005. I have replaced the transmission and the timing belt. The tires, the wiper blades and finally the engine.

    The car has failed inspection this year. The mechanic has suggested me to replace all the four brake calipers. The price quoted on the calipers is around 220 dollars a piece + a labor charge. The invoice price is around 1200 dollars.

    Is this the right price for replacing the brake calipers?i>
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    I've test drove a few Camry's a 2005 and 2006 and both had light braking, where you come in for a stop it seems that you do not stop when you should, which made be drive the Camry much slower and i slowed down well before coming into an intersection, is this normal with the Camry's? or maybe the two i test drove had bad brakes?
  • teamtboteamtbo Posts: 78
    If it has new brake pads, it could be that they are not broken in yet. Just a thought. I experienced the same issue on my 07 Tacoma and 07 Camry. Once I broke them in, I saw a dramatic improvement in stopping power.

    But now that I think about it, the 2005 and 2006 are pretty new to require new brake there may be some other issue.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I have a 2004 Camry with 44K miles and a 2005 Camry with 20K miles. Neither has had any brake or stopping problems, and there's plenty of pad thickness left on the brake pads (ditto the linings on the rear drums of the '04).
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    I'll have to test drive some more Camry's the brakes not stopping the way they should is sort of swaying me away from Camry, most other cars i've driven always stopped when they should not that I always stop on a dime however I do prefer firm brake pedals and want to stop when the light is red, it very well could be both used Camrys i test drove had brake problems.
  • ja5573ja5573 Posts: 14
    Hi, I was involved in nasty situation where I lent my 05 Camry to a friend for a driving test and he left parking brake on after he finished the test. I don't use parking brake at all so I drove it for 5-6 miles at 30-40 mph max without knowing it was applied.

    Just what kind of damage should I expect from this mishap? I didn't see any smoke and after I stopped my car, I thought I smell something but it was extremely hot that day so I could be over-reacting.

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Most likely not much, given the relatively short distance.

    After everything cools, just check to make sure the parking brake will apply, hold the vehicle, and release again. And also feel during regular braking that you don't have any pulsation that might occur if the rotor became warped.
  • ja5573ja5573 Posts: 14
    Thanks for the quick reply. I really appreciate it. When you say 'pulsation', do you mean like trembling?

  • ja5573ja5573 Posts: 14
    Regarding my earlier posting, I took a precaution and took it to nearby maintenance shop. The mechanic is now telling me that I need to replace rotor as well as bake shoes in total at least 400 dollars. Should I listen to this guy???

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Probably not. I assume you told him what happened and $$$ signs appeared in his eyes.

    I think kiawah had good advice: does the car brake normally, and do the parking brakes hold on a hill if the transmission is placed in neutral?

    The '05 Camry uses disk brakes at all 4 wheels with integral small drum brakes for the parking brakes in the rear wheels. I can't see how the rotors would have been affected unless the parking brake was very firmly set. But then, you would have noticed that the car wasn't accelerating correctly.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Hard to say, without looking at the parts. I've enclosed a picture of the rear brake/rotor in the link below to help you....most of the times it easier if you can visualize what is happening.

    The rear rotors have a caliper on them, which is your normal braking. Hydralic fluid makes these work, when you press on the brake pedal. Inside the rotor on the inside of the hub, is a set of small brake shoes which perform the parking brake function. These shoes are expanded and applied via a brake cable attached to the parking brake pedal. This is required because you can't easily 'lock' hydralic fluid.

    So in your case you had applied the parking brake, and drove for a couple miles. There are two types of problem that this could have caused. First is that you could have worn down the brake shoes, so that it was metal to metal and you grind the inside surface of that rotor. You'd only be able to tell by taking it apart and visually inspecting the surface. If the shoes were wore down, then you'd need to replace them. If the drum was scored, then I'd probably replace them since rotors are cheap (if you do it yourself). But the reality is even if the drum was scored, not sure you'd need to replace it since scoring only would impact parking brake ability "if the drum was turning". Since 'normally' the drum isn't turning, even if scored it probably isn't a problem. Since you don't normally use your parking brake anyhow, not sure this would be a big deal (except for the shoes worn down to nothing).

    The second thing that could have been damaged is from heat. The parking brakes applied would create heat if driven, and that heat would get transferred to the rotor, and out to the working area where the regular braking system works underneath the caliper. Excessive heat would cause the metal to warp (if really had enough heat), and you would feel that when you put on your regular brakes and you'd get a pulsation up and down in the pedal when you applied the brakes. The pulsation or grabbing would occur with every tire rotation so it would start out fast, and slow down as the car slowed. If you have this pulsation, then the rotors would need to be replaced.

    Again, I'd be surprised if you had damage, but it is conceivable. To know whether you actually have damage, takes an inspection of the parts, or if you are feeling the pulsation then you know you have warped rotor problem.

    As to costing $400 for someone to do, I can't speak to that since I typically would do all this type of work myself.

    Gen 5 Rear Disc
  • dchen2003dchen2003 Posts: 34
    I own a 03 camry, I have the same spongy feel on my brake. After I test drive my friends 00 camry I am more concern about my brake. When I test drive the 00 camry I only have to touch a little bit on the brake, then I can feel strong brake force. But on my 03 camry I have to step half way on the pedal then feel a little brake force. After a 500 mile trip to Atlanta I am more worry about the safety. I checked my brake fluid, it was at normal level. Is there any way to adjust the pedal to improve the situation without changing the brake pad of brake disk? Or, it is just the nature of the car cannot be improved?

    Thank you for your suggestion and information!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    A new feature, BA, Brake Assist, has been added to most newer cars. BA often results in a "different" brake pedal feel depending on certain circumstances. The base idea is to provide you with additional braking assistance if the ABS/BA/EBD/etc. controlling ECU determines that you are in a panic braking situation.

    I have no real idea just how this determination is made other than the possibility that the ECU constantly watches the rate at which you move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake to determine an average and if the rate for a given instance is abnormally QUICK it provides the extra, additional, braking assist.

    The result of all this being a soft or spongy brake pedal "feel" during "normal" braking.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    But the '02-06 Camrys do not have Brake Assist as part of the ABS system (optional in '02-04, standard in '05-06).

    A soft pedal is what my '04 Camry (with disk front and rear drum brakes) has. As long as the brake fluid level is normal, I wouldn't worry about it.
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    The Camry's I test drove had the soft brakes where you really had to step on the pedal to get the car to stop, It doesn't seem that this would be normal especially if you had to make a sudden stop, this sort of turned me against the Camry until I can test drive more of them, i've driven other makes and models and never had brakes that were that soft unless there was a problem with them about to fail.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I'm surprised because I also have an '05 Camry with 4-wheel disks, and the pedal feel is noticeably stiffer than in my '04 with the disk/drum combo. (Both cars have ABS.)

    All 2007 models have 4-wheel disk brakes (with standard ABS), so I'd expect them to be similar to my '05.

    Edmunds is running a long-term test of the '07 Camry, and I don't recall anyone complaining about this.
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    These were actually an 05 and an 06 that I had test drove, I haven't test drove the new 07 as of yet.
  • teamtboteamtbo Posts: 78
    My wife and I are experiencing the same thing on our 07 Camry. When we first bought it, I figured the brake pads just had to break in. However, we have about 2000 miles on the car now and they still feel mushy. I have a 07 Tacoma and its brakes started out mushy until they broke in. Now they work very well...esp. compared to the Camry.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    '07, 5,000 miles, brakes are great, stops very quick if necessary (I think one of the best in class). Some people have always complained about a "mushy" feel with Toyotas for years.
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