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Old 03-20-2024, 07:34 PM   #1
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Base Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 248
Questions about doing my own front brakes

Hello Forum members,

I always appreciate your advice. I have never done my own brakes. I have a 2008 Yaris 3 door Hatchback base model. It had about 120,000 miles on it last October and I took it in to get a free brake inspection from a local chain here in the US Pacific NW that has a good reputation for skill and honesty.

They said I should get new front brakes in a couple of months (by January 1, 2024), because I was down to about 4 mm on the front brake pads (the rear drum brakes are OK). The estimate to replace the front brakes was broken down as follows: $160 for labor, $191 for 2 “new” remanufactured Raybestos calipers (RC 12024 & RC 12023), $138 for two new brake rotors, $49 tax. Total cost to do front brakes about $537; significantly more than I thought it would be.

My thoughts on the estimate: This is the first time since I bought the car new in 2008 that I have needed brakes. I only drive the car less than 9,000 miles per year, and 4 mm is still pretty good, so I still haven’t replaced the brake pads. And there has not yet been any squeeling from the brake pad wear indicators – I know what this sounds like from other cars I have driven in the past.

I have never replaced my own brakes, but I like to do things myself if it is possible and realistic. And I was thinking that I might be able to just replace the front brake pads myself: youtube videos showing how to replace the front brake pads make it look pretty easy. I wasn’t thinking I would need new calipers: I have only driven the car in areas of the country where they do not use road salt that could corrode calipers. I was not even sure I needed new rotors: the rotors look pretty smooth looking through the wheels, although I have not actually looked at the entire rotors with the wheels removed or measured the width of the rotors with a ruler or micrometer.

It looks like I can get a caliper, rotor & brake pad kit for about $212 + $54 for shipping and tax from Rock Auto; total cost about $266 (prices from Amazon for the same type of kit appear about the same). So if I were to do the entire job (calipers, pads & rotors) myself I would save about $537-$266 = $271.

I think I have and can borrow the tools I need to do the job myself (wrenches, jacks, axle safety stands, chocks, etc). The only thing I might have to buy is the piston wind back tool, cost about $13 to $25 from Amazon.

QUESTIONS:
How can I tell if I really need new calipers?

Does anybody have any suggestions about determining if I really need new rotors?

Any other comments or advice will be appreciated.

Thank you,

R.
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Old 03-21-2024, 03:29 AM   #2
komichal
 
Drives: Yaris 2007 1.3 2SZFE 64kW
Join Date: May 2012
Location: CZ
Posts: 298
My question exactly - why do you need new calipers? They must have a reason to replace them. As long as the calipers are not damaged, leaking or the piston is not damaged - I really cannot think of any other reason.

Changing brake pads and rotors is easy - changing calipers is also easy but you also need to bleed the brakes etc., not to mention that changing calipers is an excellent opportunity to change brake hoses (if the calipers are dead for any reason the hoses might be just as well).
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Old 03-21-2024, 07:04 AM   #3
ex-x-fire
 
Drives: 2010 yaris 3 door hatch
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Sheboygan Falls, Wi.
Posts: 509
Any symptoms that you been having to require calipers? Leaking fluid or dragging/pulling which would cause them to get smoking hot.
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Old 03-22-2024, 12:40 AM   #4
ElMagnifico
 
Drives: 2012 Sedan
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: New York
Posts: 22
From my experience, dealer shops and big franchise chains will often sell you a "bundle" of repairs. Either because 1 - they wanna do the repair "by the book" or 2 - they wanna offer a strategically formulated up-sell to increase their commission/hours. Be mindful that point number 1 is often a result of point number 2.
But, sometimes it just comes down to not having to deal with rework. You can do the total package now and have peace of mind that you wont need to do another repair on one of those components any time soon. This can be a double edged sword though. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We all have those "i shoulda left it alone" situations that we kick ourselves for.

As far as needing calipers and/or rotors. Your first indication is brake pedal feel. do you have to press excessively hard? do you feel any pulsation in the pedal? Next would be visual inspection. Do you see any wetness on the calipers, pads, and rotors? does the metal look discolored? bluish or redish? Next, take the wheel off (if you haven't done so already) grab the caliper and slide it in and out; Does it slide easily? remove the caliper and inspect the rubbers; Dry and cracked? or soft and pliable? check the pads to see how the have worn. Have the worn evenly and equally? Check the brake hoses. Any swollen spots? any cracks?
Check the rotors. Any large chips? Any cracks? Checking the brake pedal feel (while driving) is also to check for warping.

Check all these things and watch plenty of videos. Don't get suckered into spending unnecessary money. You're probably ok with just replacing pads.
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Old 03-23-2024, 08:30 PM   #5
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Base Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 248
Thank you for your replies, komicahl, ex-x-fire, and ElMagnifico,

I only took the car in for an annual free brake inspection because I was going on a long trip, about 1000 miles round trip. And I wanted to be sure the brakes were OK prior to the trip. They told me that I had a few months minimum to get repairs. This is the first time the chain has told me I need new brakes (or struts) -- like I said they have a reputation for honesty. They also told me I needed new struts (cost to fix = $900 USD), but I have not noticed any handling problems with the car or a rough ride or anything.

The brakes seem to be fine in terms of how they are working. They are not dragging or pulling. I don't have to press excessively hard on the brakes, there is no pulsation. I have not noticed any leaking fluid. But I will have to educate myself as suggested (e.g., by watching videos, etc.) about the appearance when there is leaking fluid, problems with the hoses, damaged rotors, uneven wear of the pads, etc.

QUESTION: If the rotors are not otherwise damaged, does anybody have any idea how thin the rotors need to be to be replaced?

Thank you again,

R.
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Old 03-24-2024, 08:48 AM   #6
ex-x-fire
 
Drives: 2010 yaris 3 door hatch
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Sheboygan Falls, Wi.
Posts: 509
At the shop I work at we replace rotor without even thinking of turning them on a brake lathe, they are usually pretty rusty. We wouldn't put new pads on rotors that haven't been turned. The pads might not bed in well with an old surface. You can put new pads on old unturned rotors, but you'd likely have a pulsating brake pedal, noise, and less than 100% braking performance.
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Old 03-24-2024, 09:00 AM   #7
ex-x-fire
 
Drives: 2010 yaris 3 door hatch
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Sheboygan Falls, Wi.
Posts: 509
What I would do on the day you want to inspect them yourself is take the car on a good 15 minute ride. get the brake warm, do a couple of hard stops. Warm/hot brakes will turn up any problems you might have with dragging calipers. Raise the front and remove the front wheels. look for any dampness on the caliper. Take a large C clamp and compress the caliper, it shouldn't take much effort, just steady and slow. A bad caliper won't move much if at all. If that's the case than open the brake bleeder and try compressing it again, if it does that the brake hose is restrictive, if it doesn't than it's the caliper. Caliper slide pins can be frozen too, usually you'll see the caliper cock as you try to compress it.
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Old 03-28-2024, 06:29 PM   #8
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Base Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 248
Thank you for your advice ex-x-fire. Any more comments or advice from anybody else will be welcomed.

R.
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