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2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads of a 10th generation 2009-2013 Toyota Corolla with photo illustrated DIY steps.

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2010 Corolla Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 10th generation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013) Toyota Corolla in changing the front disc brake pads.

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 instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this front brake job include a floor jack, jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket with ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp, a set of new front brake pads, brake parts cleaner spray and a packet of disc brake grease.

Some compatible aftermarket front brake pads include the following with their part numbers: Wagner QC1210 (North America built models - VIN starts with 1 or 2), Akebono ACT1210, Wagner QC1211 (Japan built - VIN starts with "J"), , Raybestos PGD1210C, ACDelco 14D1210CH, Bendix D1210, Bosch BP1210,  Monroe CX1210, and Centric # 105.0945.

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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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Set Aside Lug Nuts
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Front Brake Bracket, Rotor
The first two steps are to engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Then slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel with the tire iron by turning them counter clockwise.

Raise the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with two jack stands.

Spin off the lug nuts, set them aside in a safe place and remove the front wheel.

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
Loosen the upper and lower caliper bolts on the back side of the caliper by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench.
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Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
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Remove Lower Caliper Bolt
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Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside with the lug nuts.
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Pull Off Brake Caliper
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Pull Out Old Outer Pad
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Wear Bar At Top
Pull the brake caliper out of the bracket and carefully rest it on the suspension. Avoid stressing the rubber brake line.

You may also choose to hang the caliper from the suspension spring with some twine or a bungee cord.

Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket and make a mental note of how the wear or "squeal" bars are situated. This 2010 Corolla had a wear bar at the top of both the inner and outer brake pads.

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper assembly and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

If your vehicle exhibits shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the car's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just replace the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, just remove the two 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.

If you need to replace the rotors, check out my 2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Brake Rotors Replacement Guide.

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Remove Inner Pad
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Replace Abutment Clips
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pin
If your set of new brake pads came with new metal pad abutment or "anti rattle" clips, pull the old ones out of the top and bottom of the caliper bracket and install the new ones.
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Remove Lower Caliper Pin
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Apply Brake Caliper Grease
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Spread Lubricant On Pin
In order for the brake caliper to work properly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

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

Apply a thin layer of high temperature brake caliper grease to both the pins before pushing them back in to their rubber dust boots.

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Replace Caliper Pins
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Pry Off Old Wear Bars
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Attach "C" Clamp To Piston



 

If your new set of front brake pads did not come with wear bars attached, pry off the wear bars from the old pads and attach them to the top of each new pad.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new pads, the caliper piston needs to be compressed back.

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

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Release Two Clips
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Raise Access Panel
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Move to the rear driver side area of the engine bay and release the two clips that hold the brake fluid reservoir access panel in place.

Twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap by turning it counter clockwise. Removing the brake fluid reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the lines when you compress the caliper piston.

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Compress Caliper Piston
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Lube Caliper Piston Ring
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Slowly compress the caliper piston 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 its rubber dust boot. Try to avoid pinching or damaging the rubber dust boot while compressing the piston.

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Wear Bar - Top Outer Pad
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Install New Outer Pad
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Push Two Pads On Rotor
Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear bars situated at the top of each.

Push the two new brake pads flush against the rotor.

I chose to purchase the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1210 "one piece" brake pads that have integrally molded sound insulators and do not require any shims or anti-squeal additives. I still chose to apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to any area with metal on metal contact such as the backs of the pads and the outer ring of the caliper piston.

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Re-Install Brake Caliper
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Thread In Top Caliper Bolt
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Replace Lower Caliper Bolt
Lower the brake caliper in to the bracket and over the new brake pads.

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

Line up the two bolt holes in the caliper with the holes in the caliper slider pins within the bracket. Thread in the two caliper bolts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Caliper Replaced
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Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning them counter clockwise to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft lbs of torque.

Double check that both caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
If you haven't already, replace the brake fluid cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction. Close the access panel and push it down to snap the two clips in place.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain some air bubbles.

It would be best to bleed the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT3 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.

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Replace Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the 5 lug nuts by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

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Lower From Jack Stands
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Torque Lug Nuts
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Front Brake Pads Replaced
Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Progressively tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an air gun with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to about 76 ft lbs of torque.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump 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, add some DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new front 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 also verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

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

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2003-2008 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2014-2018 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides
 

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