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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    IIRC the wear limit for HL pads in 1mm, so you're not in dire need of new brakes.
    Curious that the rear wore more than the front, that's unusual.

    There's a long exchange about surfacing rotors on this forum somewhere.

    Rarely is there a need to surface rotors, usually only if you've let the pads wear to metal and the rotors are badly gouged.

    Rotors have a minimum acceptable thickness, below which they can't be turned again. With normal wear and no resurfacing, you'll probably never reach that limit.

    If you feel at all inclined to do your own work, these are the easiest pads to change of any car I've ever done.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Service advisers get a commission when they talk an owner into getting work done so they have an incentive to overstate the need for brake work. Highlanders have a brake wear sensor on each pad so you will get an audible warning when the pads are worn badly enough to need replacing. The rear pads are a lot smaller than the front pads so it is not unusual for them to wear out first.

    If you are not getting an uneven feeling on the brake pedal, indicating that the rotors are warped, and if the rotors do not have very deep scoring you probably don't need to replace them. Dealers make more money when they resurface or replace rotors and they also can argue that brakes are so important, everything should be absolutely pristine.

    Car company engineers and technical writers for car magazines normally say it is fine to just clean and lube everything and stick in new pads, leaving the original rotors, for the first pad change . . . assuming the rotors are not totally trashed.

    I normally stick with original equipment pads. You know how well they work and any other brand may be noisier or feel different. Of course they could be better, but I think Toyota designs good vehicles and brake pads are part of that design.
  • mrgrldmrgrld Posts: 6
    I've replace mine with ceramic brake pads and it works great. No dust and no noise. I've also replace my disc/rotor with a slotted set.
  • I do have a bit uneven feeling. Not alot.
    So I am safe in waiting for the sensors to come on and not warping the rotors?
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Original equipment rotors only warp if they have been overheated -- usually due to extreme braking -- or if the wheels have been overtightened or tightened unevenly. It is normal to feel a little bit of unevenness in braking at low speeds. Cheap aftermarket rotors are sometimes warped when new.

    Once you hear the warning tone from a brake sensor you have a few thousand miles to replace the pads. Wait too long and you may damage something. One millimeter doesn't sound like much until you realize that the pads start out life at about six millimeters and last for more than 50,000 miles.

    Toyotas have good brakes and there aren't many surprises. A little common sense goes a long way. Dealers naturally want to make money by encouraging customers to change brake pads and rotors before really necessary. It obviously is not smart to ignore any kind of warning sign -- the brake wear sensors are there for a purpose.
  • At 60k miles I never changed my brake fluid. is it a good idea to do it when the pads are changed? Or can they just top it off?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Yes, I have mine changed with a brake job. But it really depends on the condtion of the fluid. It should be somewhat light brown, almost clear. If it's dark, change it.
  • shagnatshagnat Posts: 78
    Tell the dealer you want to feel the rotors for any large ridges/gourges or whatever they call them.

    90%+ of the time, a rotor doesn't need to be resurfaced (turned). Also, I don't think you're in any imminent danger with your brakes. Find another Toyota dealer, if that's not possible find a good reliable independent garage and get their opioion.

    Yes, use genuine OEM Toyota pads. I worked for Toyota for 11 years, and there is definitely a difference in el cheapo pads from some of the big box stores, and the Toyota pads. I can't speak for other OEM brands as I have no experience with them.

    Let us know how things go for you. keep asking questions if you need to.
  • My wife has a 2008 Rav4, I have my 2005 Highlander V6 with 60k miles on it. I am debating on something.....I have a need for only 1 suv. i live 5 min. from work so I might want to scale down to a Corolla? Am I nuts?

    kbb.com says I could get $18,500 for mine on a private party sale and around $16k for a dealer trade in. The Corolla I am looking at is $20k.
  • do you think it's safe to wait until the brake sensor light comes on?
  • shagnatshagnat Posts: 78
    If you really have no need for your Highlander and thinking of scaling back, I'd go with a Prius for the gas mileage. My uncle has one and drives his most all the time (has 2 cars). He really likes it and of course loves the gas mileage.

    I'm saying if you want better gas mileage and really don't need the highlander, go real economy in the Prius.

    Good luck.
  • Prius is nice, but more $$$ than a Corolla. Corolla have a bit less mileage but more features that I would want. Only issue not is dealer trade value for Highlander vs what I could sell it for privately. I am not looking to add too much money IF I do this.
  • shagnatshagnat Posts: 78
    But you better check with your insurance company before you buy the Corolla. Not sure about the 2010 models, but, my wife's Corolla's insurance was the same as my Highlander due to crash test results.... now this was a few years back and maybe things are better now, but, I got rid of the Corolla due to not getting the mileage I thought I would, plus the higher insurance rates.

    Check it all out. Purchase price is just the start of buying a car. The Prius cost more but does more for the wallet and the environment.

    Think about it. If you're going to scale back, I'd never hesitate to get the Prius over the Corolla.
  • I live in WI though so I think Corolla would be better in the snow. I need to check insurance....definitely.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    A guy who lives a couple houses away has a Prius that isn't getting the mileage he expected, even though he is a pretty conservative driver. I drove a '94 Corolla wagon for 11 years and got better than EPA the entire time. I also know someone with a couple-year-old Corolla who is getting better-than-expected mileage. With either vehicle you might be lucky, or you might be unlucky.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    There is definitely a safety margin that gives you several thousand miles of normal driving after you hear a brake wear sensor. If you are sure the brake pads are really down to a fraction of a millimeter and want the convenience of scheduling the brake job it might makes sense to get the brakes attended to earlier.

    I replace the pads myself and always wait for a warning from a sensor. So far I have never had to do anything with the rotors after the first set of pads. There is not a single answer for everybody -- it depends on how how much you value the convenience of knowing your brakes are not going to need work in the near future.

    The reason I got interested in this whole brake wear issue is that the service adviser at the Toyota dealer in Delray Beach Florida told me that my brake pads were almost "metal to metal" when my Highlander had its 40,000 mile service. I checked and saw that he was lying. At the 45,000 serve another adviser told me my brakes were nearing the point of needing work, but were still okay (same brakes that were metal to metal 5,000 miles earlier). At the 50,000 mile service I was told that my brakes were so badly worn it wasn't safe for me to drive home and was really pressured me to get the brakes replaced. I was also told that my rear rotors were totally worn out and needed replacing. More lies. I will be going in for my 55,000 mile service next month and wonder what I will be told.

    During all of these warning I was told that my 2005 Highlander does not have brake wear sensors -- another lie. Okay, I can look out for myself, but what about people who don't know about cars and can't afford to get a brake job done 15 or 20 thousand miles before it is needed. Several times I have seen women with children crying while waiting in the line to pay the cashier . . . wonder how much money the dealer cheated them out of.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    There is definitely a safety margin that gives you several thousand miles of normal driving after you hear a brake wear sensor. If you are sure the brake pads are really down to a fraction of a millimeter and want the convenience of scheduling the brake job it might make sense to get the brakes attended to earlier.

    I replace the pads myself and always wait for a warning from a sensor. So far I have never had to do anything with the rotors after the first set of pads. There is not a single answer for everybody -- it depends on how how much you value the convenience of knowing your brakes are not going to need work in the near future.

    The reason I got interested in this whole brake wear issue is that the service adviser at the Toyota dealer in Delray Beach Florida told me that my brake pads were almost "metal to metal" when my Highlander had its 40,000 mile service. I checked and saw that he was lying. At the 45,000 serve another adviser told me my brakes were nearing the point of needing work, but were still okay (same brakes that were metal to metal 5,000 miles earlier). At the 50,000 mile service I was told that my brakes were so badly worn it wasn't safe for me to drive home and was really pressured me to get the brakes replaced. I was also told that my rear rotors were totally worn out and needed replacing. More lies. I will be going in for my 55,000 mile service next month and wonder what I will be told.

    During all of these warning I was told that my 2005 Highlander does not have brake wear sensors -- another lie. Okay, I can look out for myself, but what about people who don't know about cars and can't afford to get a brake job done 15 or 20 thousand miles before it is needed. Several times I have seen women with children crying while waiting in the line to pay the cashier . . . wonder how much money the dealer cheated them out of.
  • My rear pads have 2mm. Front have 3mm. Should I change them all and ask to feel the rotors for grooves and if there are not too many should I tell the mechs ic to just replace the pads?
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    I have a new set of Toyota pads in front of me. The new rear pads have a 9.5 mm thick chunk of braking material and the rears 12 mm. So your rear pads have 21% of the original life left and the rears 25%. I can't remember how many miles you have on your Highlander; if it is 50,000 that means you still have more than 10,000 miles left before they are completely gone. So another 5,000 to 7,000 should be safe unless you change your driving habits. Again, the wear senors will warn you when you get close.

    You should be able to see and feel the grooves in the rotors through the wheels. It is not so much a matter of how many grooves as how deep they are. The new pads will wear to the shape of the grooves unless they are incredibly deep. In my experience dealers will always recommend resurfacing or replacing rotors. I have never actually seen rotors in a fairly new car -- less than 100,000 miles -- that needed replacing. I'm talking about street cars, not racers.
  • I have 60k miles. So basically they are ok until the next oil change approx.? What I will do is have the mechanic lift it up in the air and show me all 4 rotors
    At that point I will tell him to resurface them or not. I don't do heavy braking which is why I got 60k miles out of them so that's a good sign. When the sensors come on how many mikes do I have left before being in trouble generally? I would rather just change them out and be safe, but what's your thought on it?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    You're worrying too much, and making this more difficult than it needs to be.

    Change the pads within a week or a couple hundred miles when you start hearing the wear pad sensor. It will sound like a bird chirping.

    Do you have any kind of steering wheel vibrations when braking? If so, tell him to turn the rotors. If not, insist that they leave them alone.

    My 04 HL has 58K miles, and that's exactly what I'm doing.
  • So your saying the sensor will come inside my car when its time to change the pads. I understand that part. I just didn't want that to affect the rotors so much if I don't do it in time. I guess my schedule is open now vs later when it night not be ...ao I'm just gonna so it.

    I have slight vibration but its barely noticeable.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    The wear sensor is actually just a little finger of metal that is designed to touch the rotor when the pad gets nearly worn out. The post that said it sounds like a bird is pretty close -- when the finger touches the rotor it makes a distinctive sound you can hear when you apply the brakes. The sensor is designed so that it doesn't hurt the rotor when it starts its howl, or chirp, or hum . . . or whatever you want to call it.
  • I see. Well since time isn't on my side I would like to just get it out of the way. Pads at 2-3mn are pretty close to needing replacing anyway. How great is that to drive 60k before the pads need replacing.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    Whoever told you that your '05 HL doesn't have brake wear sensors should be fired and barred from working in the auto industry EVER. The sensors are required by federal law, and have been for years.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    I was told the same thing a couple of years ago about my '04 FWD Highlander by the dealer in Acton, Massachusetts. They claimed no break wear sensors, and that my pads were metal to metal. Responses in this forum claimed that was a bunch of baloney.
  • 73K on my 06. Still with original pads.
  • how many mm's do you have left on your pads?

    i have 2mm in the back pads and 3mm on the front....
  • thanks for the advice everyone, I will wait it out and replace the pads when the sensors activate....I am 60k and the brakes still feel fine. Would everyone agree that sticking with Genuine Toyota pads is the best bet.
  • when you hear that sound do you have the shop check all 4 and replace all 4 at the same time or just the front or rear?
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