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Toyota Corolla Front Disc Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads & lubricate the caliper slider pins on a 9th generation 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla.

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2005 Corolla Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Jack Point - Raise Vehicle

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 9th generation (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008) Toyota Corolla in changing the front disc brake pads, lubricating the caliper slider pins and replacing the pad abutment clips.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, RAV4, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, tC, xB, xD, iQ and FR-S may also find these DIY brake job instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp and high temperature synthetic brake parts lubricant grease.

A few compatible aftermarket sets of new front brake pads include the following with their part numbers: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC923, Akebono ACT923, Raybestos ATD923C, ACDelco 17D923CH, Bendix D923, Monroe CX923, Prime Choice Auto Parts SCD923, Bosch BC923, Satisfied PR923C, and Power Stop 16-923.

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Support With Jack Stands
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Jack Stands On Frame Rails
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Spin Off Lug Nuts
The first few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent them from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 5 nuts on the front wheels by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the front of the car by using a floor jack at the jack point under the engine bay. Securely support the car with the two jack stands.

Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

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5 Lug Nuts Removed
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Rotor, Caliper & Bracket
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Front Brake Caliper
Pull off the front wheel and set it aside in a safe place.

(I prefer to work on one side of the vehicle at a time to keep three wheels attached for extra safety.)

Once the front wheel has been removed, you'll be able to see the front brake caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
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Spin Out Upper Caliper Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side with their heads facing in towards the engine bay.

Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Then loosen the lower 14mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the car).

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Remove Lower Caliper Bolt
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Pull Off Brake Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull the brake caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

Carefully rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord. Try to avoid stressing, kinking or bending the rubber brake fluid line.

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Two Caliper Bolts Removed
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Old Pads In Bracket
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Wagner ThermoQuiet Ceramic
I've had good experiences with the Wagner ThermoQuiet ceramic brake pads on my 2010 Toyota Corolla S, so I bought the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC923 for our 2005 Corolla.
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CRC Brake Caliper Grease
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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Pull the old outer brake pad out of the bracket.
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
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Pull Off Old Wear Bar
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Attach "C" Clamp To Caliper
Remove the old inner brake pad out of the bracket and make a mental note of how the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is situated at the top.

If your new brake pads didn't include new wear indicator bars, pull the old one off the old inner brake pad.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new pads, you'll need to compress back the piston.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the piston.

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Pull Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Slowly Compress Piston
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Piston Compressed Back
Move to the right rear area (driver's side) of the engine bay and pull off the black brake fluid reservoir cap.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the lines when you compress the caliper piston.

If the fluid level in the reservoir is near the top, you may want to remove some with an automotive syringe or just dip in a clean paper towel to avoid having it overflow when you compress the pistons.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction while repeatedly checking the level in the brake fluid reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since it can easily damage painted surfaces.

Continue compressing the caliper piston until it is flush with the rubber dust boot surrounding it. Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boot.

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air) and can become contaminated if left exposed.

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Pull Out Pad Abutment Clip
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Old "Anti-Rattle" Clip
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Brake Lubricant Grease
If your set of new front brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Remove any debris on the bracket with a wire brush or just wipe them clean with a paper towel.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease in to the top and bottom of the bracket where the new abutment clips will be installed.

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Lubricate Metal Clips
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Install New Clips On Bracket
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Install New Upper Clip
Lightly lubricate the pad abutment clips where they will come in contact with the bracket or the new pads.

Install the new pad abutment clips in to the top and bottom of the bracket.



 

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Pad Abutment Clips Installed
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Pull Out Lower Slider Pin
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Apply Caliper Grease
In order for the brake caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide pins" need to be well lubricated.

Carefully pull the upper and lower caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots.

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Re-Insert Upper Caliper Pin
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Remove Lower Pin
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Apply Caliper Grease
Apply a thin layer of brake parts grease to each caliper slide pin before re-inserting them in to their rubber dust boots.
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Push In Lower Slider Pin
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Lubricate Caliper Piston
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Lubricate Tabs or "Ears"
Clean off the rotor, lug nut studs, bracket and caliper with some brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or your mouth to clean off the parts since inhaling carcinogenic (cancer causing) brake dust may be hazardous to your health.

If your Corolla previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the front end while braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (A.K.A. resurfaced) or it may be more cost effective to just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the car's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in good condition, you should be able to just change the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, remove the two 17mm bolts on the rear of the caliper bracket that attach it to the steering knuckle. Then loosen the old rotor with a rubber mallet, pull it off, and slide the new one in its place.

Wagner recommends that you do not use any brake grease or other "brake quiet" gels or lubes on the backs of their ThermoQuiet pads since they have a built in insulator shim. You should also not re-use the metal shims from your old brake pads.

I still decided to apply a small amount of brake grease to the outer surface of the caliper piston where it comes in contact with the inner pad.

I also applied a small amount of lubricant to the outer edges of the tabs or "ears" on the top and bottom of each new pad where they will come in contact with the pad abutment clip in the bracket.

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Install New Outer Pad
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Tighten Wear Indicator Bar
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Wear Bar On New Pad
Install the new outer brake pad in to the bracket.

Test fit the wear indicator or "squeal" bar on the top of the new inner brake pad. If it can be moved around or doesn't feel secure, remove it and bend the retaining bar in a bit with a pair of needle nose pliers.

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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
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Push Pads Flush Against Rotor
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Lower Caliper Over Pads
Install the new inner brake pad in to the bracket with the wear indicator bar located at the top.

Push the new pads flush against the rotor.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, you may need to compress back the piston a bit further.

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Spin In Upper Caliper Bolt
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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
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Tighten Counterclockwise
Line up the bolts holes in the caliper with their corresponding holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

Spin in the two caliper bolts by hand a few turns in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the upper caliper bolt by turning it counterclockwise (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft-lbs of torque.

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Tighten Lower 14mm Bolt
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front Wheel
Then tighten the lower 14mm caliper bolt, also in the counterclockwise direction to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft-lbs of torque.

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may have a few air bubbles in them.

I would recommend bleeding the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With An Assistant DIY Guide or alternatively the Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With A Power Bleeder Guide.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper just below the upper caliper bolt. (The rubber cap was missing on this caliper.)

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Push On Reservoir Cap
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts Clockwise
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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
If you haven't done so already, be sure to replace the brake fluid reservoir cap.

Replace the front wheel and spin on the five lug nuts by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

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Lower Car From Stands
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Torque To 76 ft-lbs
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Front Brake Pads Replaced

Lower the car from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the 5 lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight or about 76 ft-lbs of torque. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a 80 ft-lbs torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and firmly press down the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure.

Check the brake fluid in the reservoir and verify that it is at the proper level. If it is low, pour in some fresh DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new brake pads, just drive normally for the first few hundred miles while trying to avoid any hard or "panic" stops which may glaze over the new pads and cause them to be noisy and/or not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway for drops of brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

For more, check out my other Corolla DIY tutorials at the links below -

2003-2008 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides
 

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