Brakes wear as they slow you down; inspections ensure they will not fail you. Toyota recommends a brake inspection every 15,000 miles.
How Brakes Work and What to Look For
Stepping on the brake pedal causes a master cylinder piston to force the brake fluid downstream. The pressure created at the master cylinder goes to the brake components at each wheel.
Like all mechanical devices, the master cylinder can wear out. If your brake pedal bottoms out or feels soft, that can indicate that a new master cylinder is needed. Your Toyota has a warning light that notifies you that the brake fluid level in the master cylinder has dropped too low for safety.
If you notice a spongy brake pedal, there may be a brake fluid leak. Fresh brake fluid is clear. Dirty fluid suggests brake fluid replacement. Brake fluid absorbs the heat braking action generates; it will not do this well if contaminated. Brake fluid needs service every two years to prevent these problems.
Pressure from the brake pedal causes the brake pads, enclosed in the calipers, to pressure the brake rotors—friction transforms motion into heat. Calipers can cope with heat but will deteriorate. Seized caliper pistons will result from heat damage and dirt buildup.
Brakes function by pressing pads against rotors. Wear is expected as the brake pads slow the vehicle. Different kinds of driving result in everyone’s brakes wearing differently; therefore, frequent inspections are necessary.
An instrument panel brake light may alert you of a malfunctioning master cylinder. Hoses join the master cylinder to the calipers. A soft brake pedal may indicate a leak in these hoses.
Modern cars all have power brakes. To give you the brake boost you want, the brake booster must use vacuum pressure from the engine to work as advertised. If you notice one of the following symptoms, you may need a new brake booster:
-Firm brake pedal
-Longer stopping distance than usual
-When you brake, the engine stalls
The following symptoms may accompany pad and rotor problems:
- Pulsing or vibration in the steering wheel or brake pedal
- Squealing or screeching when braking
- Pulling to one side while braking
- Longer stopping distance
- Burning odor
- Grinding noise when the brakes are applied
- You may notice grooves on the rotor
- Should you encounter these, bring your Toyota in for service immediately. Our technicians will inspect your Toyota’s brakes, check for leaks, and remove dirt buildup.
Common Toyota Brake Problems
227,000 Camrys made in 2018-2019 have a problem that may result in reduced braking power. In these Camrys, a brake vacuum pump can malfunction. The brakes will still work if the pump fails but would require more force to actuate the brakes. This situation may happen without warning and could lead to an accident. Toyota hybrids are not affected, as they use a different brake design.
An issue with the parking brake of 2022 Toyota Tundra pickups results in parking brakes not being engaged and rolling away if parked on a hill without engaging Park on the transmission selector. A brake system warning light on the dashboard may display, and the parking brake may not release. Hybrid versions do not have this problem.
Finally, regular emergency brake service is necessary. As brakes wear, looseness develops in the hand brake cables. We will adjust this slack so they will work correctly. We have dedicated brake repair experts. Call us or visit our website for a quote and book an appointment for a brake inspection or any service on your Toyota you require.