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Toyota Camry Brakes



  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    I also had a 1981 Dodge Omni that had no driver or auto rear drum brake slack adjusters. The rear brakes had to be manually adjusted thru the access ports in the drums.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Interesting. My very first new car after I graduated from optometry school (1970 Plymouth Satellite) had front discs and rear drums. The rear drums did have auto-adjusters on the rear drums that were activated with each reverse braking application. The owner's manual suggested for people who didn't routinely use reverse gear that it might be necessary to periodically have the rear shoes manually adjusted to maintain front-rear braking balance effecacy. The shop manual described how a star wheel (normally automatically ratcheted a cog at a time as needed with reverse braking), and that was accessible through an access hole in the stationary brake mounting plate covered by a plug to prevent moisture intrusion, could be manually ratcheted with a small hooked tool or bent screwdriver to take up uncompensated slack. What you described parallels very closely to what my Plymouth had.
  • I have a 1994 Camry that needs to have its struts and rear brakes replaced. It also needs new tires. The car only has 125K miles on it, so it is well worth putting the money into the maintenance, however since I am unable to afford having all of the work done at once, I need some advice as to the order in which the work should be done. I'm told the rear brakes have 25% left, but the struts are shot. One mechanic told me to do the brakes first and that they would cost $900. Another told me to do the struts first at $1200, then the tires ($400), finally the brakes ($100 - he wanted to turn the brakes, not replace the drums).

    I'm confused and cam't seem to find someone who can really explain what needs to be done.

  • Always think safety first. brakes, tires and then struts :) turning them now is cheaper then replacment
  • I have a 94 camry I just bought that needs all of the mentioned repairs too. What I can advise you is DO NOT let the dealer do any of this work! You will be charged more than DOUBLE what the job would cost anywhere else. Toyota wanted 300.00 to do a front brake job on my car. I got it done for 150.00 at another shop. I think maybe the mechanics are getting commission at Toyota. If so, they will always tell you you need things you do not need.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 400
    One of the members said not to take your vehicle to Toyota dealer for these repairs. he is so right. Once your warranty runs out, for brake and strut replacement, check out Midas or Sears. It shocks me to see the dealer wants $900 for brake job, $1200 for struts, even the tires should not cost $400. You get no extra benefit by going to a Toyota Dealer. I have a 96 Camry XLE V-6. I did the front brakes myself. A PAIR of top quality Bendix rotors cost me $110, the bendix pads cost $45. I did the front brake job for $155.

    Anytime they replace struts, they must do wheel alignment. That is a necessary expense.

    Good luck
  • ejoysejoys Posts: 1
    Hello! Mine is a 2005 Camry LE with 20k ml. I drove to a local Firestone for an oil change. They said I better let them clean and adjust the brakes on the rear wheels. The actual description is: "Adjust & clean brakes - 2 wheels" and it'll cost $30.

    While driving, I don't feel any problem as for braking (I am not familiar with car mechanism, though.)

    My question is:
    1. Does this brakes problem commonly happen to recent camry models with around 20k mileage?
    2. I wonder if adjusting and cleaning brakes can be done under warranty. Then I'd go to a dealer for this matter.

    I'd appreciate your input :-)
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Sorry--complete waste of your time and money. There is no brake "problem" and they need neither cleaning nor adjusting at this mileage.

    READ YOUR MAINTENANCE MANUAL. Don't authorize service to be done in the absence of real symptoms, or a requirement spelled out in the manual. And no, brakes are considered wear items and are generally not covered under the warranty except under very specific conditions.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    They were most likely referring to the parking or e-brakes. These are implemented, usually, at the rear via the old style drum type braking on the inside of the disc brake rotor.

    And yes, they do need adjusting on occasion, ~50,000 miles or more, but knowing these aftermarket rip-off artists such as Firestone I very much doubt if you needed it, certainly not the cleaning "bit".

    Park your car facing uphill on a fairly steep incline and if normal application, no extra effort, on the e-brake holds the car in place there is no need for adjustment.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    On your LE, you will have rear drum brakes, so these will also serve double duty as the emergency/parking brakes (cable-actuated of course for the latter).

    You don't need any cleaning or adjustment at this low mileage without symptoms.

    However, Toyota recommends checking front brake pads and rear brake linings for wear every 15K miles. Practically speaking, however, the rear drums typically show minimal wear for many more than 20K miles, unless you're heavy and frequent on the brakes.
  • jdoyle1jdoyle1 Posts: 2
    Shouldn't the rear drum brakes be self-adjusting on this car? I have seen two types, some that are actuated by braking when backing up, others that are actuated when the parking brake is applied. I think the rear brakes would only require adjusting if the self adjusting mechanism failed for some reason, which is highly unlikely at this mileage. US cars have had self-adjusting drums since the early '60s.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, rear drum brakes have been self-adjusting for eons now. But the subject under discussion is the rear e-brake and as the brake shoes wear the e-brake actuator cable develops slack and must be tightened, "adjusted".
  • bocaabocaa Posts: 1
    My car is due for a front brake change, this is my second time to change them. The first time I did the job at the dealer and it cost a lot of money. I was wondering, if I can look outside for good parts and change them at an independent garage..
    I heard from many sources that Toyota parts are recommended and it's not a great idea to get other brands!!?
    From a quick search on the internet, I was able to get some brand names that fit my car (i.e. Brembo, EBC, Power Slot, Akebono). Some of these brands are OEM, does that make it like the original Toyota parts?! Also, some of these brands are rated performance parts, does that make them better quality part?!
  • rcole23rcole23 Posts: 1
    I am having two different issues with my car.

    1 - A loud noise from under the car starts around 45 mph and sometimes gets louder the faster I go. We took it to the dealer, and they said it was road noise. It can be so loud and the vibration that comes through the gas pedal is a bit unnerving. Anyone else have this problem? I thought I remembered Camry's being quiet cars.

    2 - When i go to slow down and slightly press on the brake pedal, the brakes (and steering wheel) will shake violently. It just started in the recent months and has gotten worse. Are the brakes going? I saw an earlier post where the dealer said it was a computer issue. I don't understand that. I am hoping to find the time this weekend to take it in, but my work schedule does not really permit it.

    Thanks for any and all help!
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    It sounds like your front rotors might be warped. When you start to put the brakes on, the pads start to squeeze against the rotor which if not true....will appear to you as a vibration. This will be in sequence with how fast the wheel is turning, so the vibration would slow down as you slow down.

    I'd get it to the dealer or a brake shop and have them drive it.
  • binubinu Posts: 81
    A friend of mine once gave me a ride on a 2001 Camry.
    For some reason, my friend had not noticed but I did notice a loud noise similar to the one you mentioned. After I mentioned this to him he agreed and we were almost sure that this was engine related.

    On diagnosis at the dealership, this turned out to be a bearing related issue on one of the wheels. The bearing was replaced and all is well since then. Approx cost, I believe, was $500.

    The second issue sounds like a warped rotor as the previous post mentioned.
  • cam2003cam2003 Posts: 131
    Try to rotate the tires: spare/ front to back. You may have worn out tires. The OEM tires are really bad,only 10000 miles, not much tread left.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    maybe an engine mount gone bad?

    anyway along the lines of previous comments, visually inspect the tires.

    tires cupping (google it) can cause great vibration. this is uneven wear that results in the tire actually bouncing and results in more wear (it just gets worse).

    bearings, an out of balance tire (lost it's balance weight perhaps or the balance weight got moved when someone hit a curb hard), worn shocks / suspension parts...a lot of factors can contribute.

    i had this happen to a Jetta I owned once. had to replace tires. once replaced with a properly balanced set, no road noise or vibration.

    when i replace tires, i get an alignment done. it's more expensive, but i think ultimately worth it to get the most tread life from the tires.
  • edmund2460edmund2460 Posts: 293
    How many of you change the brake fluid regularly? What intervals?
    As 210delray said, I would avoid Firestone too. Buy tires from them but go no further. Most of these shops do not have competent mechanics to do the additional services that they are trying to sell you. Plus all of them seem to be in the business of selling services you do not need. I have never taken my car in for a tire purchase/rotation without a follow up call for 'urgent maintenance' needed. My strategy after years of taking cars to various places is to stick with either the dealer (do only what the manual requires) OR use a local mechanic (not a franchise) that you may trust. My 2003 Camry goes to the dealer and my 82 VW goes to a local mechanic that has worked on it since I bought it.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I would recommend a brake fluid change whenever you get a brake job. If you lease or trade every 3 years, then you'll probably never need to do it.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    My old Volvo 240 had a recommended change interval for brake fluid at 3 years, or 45K miles, whichever came first. That still seems reasonable to me, and agrees with what imacmil stated.

    Speaking of chain auto repair outlets, I had an "interesting" experience with Merchants, a chain in the DC area. This was with the Volvo 240, and I took it in for the advertised special $18.88 front-end alignment. (I knew the car needed it because the right front tire was wearing unevenly.)

    Anyway, they "inspected" the car and told me it needed something like $700 worth of repairs. I knew this was b.s. because some of the work included replacing the main radiator hoses, which I had recently done myself! I told them just do the $18.88 alignment, thank you!

    Outfits like this must salivate when they see an old car coming in!
  • marc781marc781 Posts: 25
    I flush out the fluid, more or less, whenever i do the brakes and have to bleed them. I just keep bleeding til the fluid comes out clean.

    Every 6 months or so i suck the old fluid out of the reservoir with a 99 cent turkey baster, and then top it up. This gets most of the dirt out of the res.

    Between doing these things the brake fluid stays pretty clean and the work is minimal. I dont believe there's really much need to flush unless the brakes have been really neglected. Or the fluid is just very old and filthy. And i'm certainly not paying a shop to do it. As long as i have at least one foot left to push the brake pedal and $10 for brake fluid.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    "I dont believe there's really much need to flush unless the brakes have been really neglected."

    Brake fluid supplied by car manufacturers is most often a synthetic polyglycol - technically an alcohol. As such, it will readily mix with water. Water does two things - lowers the boiling point, and promotes corrosion in the metal brake lines. While a car's hydraulic system is nominally sealed, moisture still manages to enter over time. A complete hydraulic brake line flush should be done with fresh fluid at least every three years, but, preferably every two years. The following hydraulic fluid designations are mutually compatible and suitable in the vast majority of cases:


    These are all polyglycols and are miscible with each other without fear of chemical or physical instability. DOT3 and DOT4 fluids are commonly available at any autoparts emporium. DOT5.1 is not generally used in most domestic and Asian manufactured vehicles (which are usually factory filled with DOT3 brake fluid - though ALWAYS check your owner's manual's recommendation), but is increasingly common as the recommended brake fluid in higher end European makes. (the stuff's pretty pricey, too...) Each numerical step in the hierarchy designates a higher boiling point and consequently more reliable performance in extreme situations such as mountain driving or competition. However, do NOT use one particular specialized fluid, "DOT5" in systems not originally filled with it or converted over to use it. DOT5 is a silicone-based fluid that is NOT compatible with polyglycols.
  • tallen23tallen23 Posts: 3
    Our Camry has recently developed the disturbing habit of engaging the VSC (I think) in sharp curves under what I would describe as normal driving conditions. It has 32K miles on it and has always had what I would call a hitch in the braking action that I attribute the the ABS system. I've tolerated the braking but this VSC issue or whatever it is, is very disconcerting. It feels as if someone has knocked the car down from drive to low range....

    if anyone has had experience with this or a similar issue please comment, we will be taking the car to our local dealer next week and I would like to be as informed as possible prior to going.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    What is the "hitch" in the braking action?

    Also, do you know for sure if the VSC is activating?

    Maybe you can experiment in an empty parking lot at lower speeds to see what happens. (Just watch out for light poles and self-important security guards.)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sounds like your yaw sensor, lateral accelerometer, may have come loose from its "moorings", maybe even internal to the "chip" itself.
  • tallen23tallen23 Posts: 3
    thanks for the reply...

    I am not sure how else to explain it, it seems to occur most often when slowing from higher speeds, i.e. exiting a highway where rapid deceleration is required, but it does not happen every time. When "it" happens the pedal feel is odd with some intermittent feedback different than anything I have driven in the past. I know very well what the engagement of the ABS system feels like when braking slippage occurs and while that is not what this is, I have to think it is still an ABS related issue.

    As far as the VSC...the only thing I have to indicate that the VSC is activating is a quick series of beeps that sound as the car feels as if it has been knocked into low range. Apparently, this has happened many times to the wife who first complained of this over a month ago...(I sent her to the dealership) When it happened as I was driving recently, I was so taken aback that I didn't notice any dashboard lights, I was busy staying on the road and shifting into neutral to relieve the high revving of the motor...I coasted a few feet through the curve, shifted back to drive and the car drove normally.

    The dealer told my wife that this was occurring due to the tires being worn to their service limits...I chalked this up to BS and him wanting to sell a set of tires, but the tires are pretty much shot (original Mich MXV's @ 32K) and in fact, I am replacing them tonight. I have a hard time believing this is playing a role in the problem.
  • tallen23tallen23 Posts: 3
    thanks for the response...I'll investigate this "yaw sensor, lateral accelerometer angle, check out my reply to the other post.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    if you had beeping, that was the vsc indicating it was engaging. i imagine you'd have both engine derating and also wheel brake modulation.

    what's interesting is you reporting an RPM/engine race. probably to derate output they do some interesting transmission control stuff very fast.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If your tires are worn down AND assuming the car is for some reason downshifting severely then what you might be experiencing is ABS activation due to a combination of engine compression braking and actual braking. Since ABS cannot alleviate the effects of engine compression braking the "feel" will undoubtedly be unusual.

    The effect would be more noticeable in a tight decelerating turn due to the additional lateral forces acting on your (worn) front tire treads.

    Also don't forget that your car has automatic brake force distribution which of itself can provide weird "feel" at times.

    Your core, base, problem may be the fact that the transaxle is seemingly downshifting inappropriately during those "rapid deceleration" episodes.
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