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Toyota RAV4 Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 4th generation 2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 SUV with photo illustrated steps.

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2013 RAV4 Front Wheel
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Pull Off Plastic Wheel Cover
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Plastic Hub Cap Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and perhaps also the updated 2017 model year) Toyota RAV4 SUV in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, Corolla, 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 tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a thin 17mm cone spanner wrench, a "C" clamp and a tube of high temperature synthetic brake parts lubricant grease.


A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: ACDelco 14D1210CH, Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1210, TRW TPC1210 Ceramic, Centric 105.121, KFE Ultra Quiet Advanced Ceramic KFE1210-104, Raybestos SGD1210C, Wagner QuickStop ZD1210, StopTech 309.12100 and Brembo P83082N.

Please verify the correct replacement part numbers for your RAV4 by calling a Toyota dealership's parts counter, visiting an auto parts store or by using the Amazon Part Finder website. The part numbers may vary depending on the vehicle's model year, trim level, whether it is 2WD or 4WD and if it was assembled in North America or Japan.

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Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle
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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
The first few steps are to park the SUV on a level surface, engage the emergency parking brake and chock both sides of the rear wheels to prevent the car from moving.

If your RAV4 has plastic wheel cover or "hub caps" gently pull them off and set them aside in a safe place.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the front of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

I prefer to work on one side of the car at a time to keep three wheels on the ground for extra safety.

Spin off the 5 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

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Lug Nuts Removed
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Rotor, Bracket & Caliper
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Front Brake Caliper
Pull off the front wheel to reveal the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper with the bolt heads facing in towards the engine.

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Loosen 14mm Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Clockwise
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Spin Out Upper Caliper Bolt
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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Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
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Pull Off Front Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Old Pads In Bracket
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Remove Old Outer Pad
Rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord or some twine.

Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bars or "squeal" bars are situated on the old pads.

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Wear Bars - Top Both Pads
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Replace Anti-Rattle Clips
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
The wear indicator bars on this 2013 Toyota RAV4 are situated at the top and bottom of both the inner and outer brake pads.

I've always had great experiences with the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1210 brake pads and they have excellent reviews on Amazon. I also like how they don't require any backing plates, shims or brake quiet gel due to the built in insulator.

If your new set of front brake pads included replacement hardware, pull out the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips from the top and bottom of the bracket.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the bracket.

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Lubricate & Replace Pins
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Attach "C" Clamp To Caliper
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Brake Fluid Reservoir
Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to the smooth parts of each caliper slider pin before pushing them back in to their rubber dust boots.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the piston will need to be compressed backwards.

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

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.



 

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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Compress Caliper Piston
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the hose when you compress the caliper piston.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the caliper piston.

Repeatedly check the level in the reservoir to make sure that the brake fluid doesn't over flow.

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boot surrounding the piston.

Once the piston is flush the rubber dust boot, detach the "C" clamp.

Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

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Install New Inner Pad
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Insert New Outer Brake Pad
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Push Pads Against Rotor
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 (cancer causing) if inhaled.

If your RAV4 previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the front end during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the SUV's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in excellent 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 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.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to any area where there is metal to metal contact such as the outer lip of the caliper pistons. Do not apply brake parts lubricant to the friction surface of the new pads or to the rotor.

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear indicator bars situated at the top of both the inner and outer pads.

Push the pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
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Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

Spin the caliper bolts a few turns in the counterclockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Hold Slider Pin - 17mm
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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
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Tighten 14mm Counterclockwise
Tighten the two caliper by turning them in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 25 ft-lbs of torque.

If the caliper slider pins spin as you are attempting to tighten the caliper bolts, hold them in place with a thin 17mm cone spanner wrench or a pair of pliers.

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

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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front Wheel
If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid might be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain a few 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.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper right next to the upper caliper bolt.

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

Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Carefully lower the SUV from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue tightening the 5 lug nuts in a criss-cross or "star" pattern to about 1/4 turn past hand tight or 76 ft-lbs of torque.

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Line Up Plastic Hub Cap
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Firmly Tap In Wheel Cover
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Front Brake Pads Replaced
It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Line up the plastic wheel cover with the hole for the tire valve in the correct position.

Push the hub cap in to place and firmly tap on it to secure it to the steel wheel.

Sit in the driver's seat of the SUV and firmly press 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 new 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. Be sure to record the brake pad change in your service records.

For more, check out my other 2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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