Replace The Brake Pads & Rotors on a 2000-2007 Toyota Highlander

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Toyota Highlander brake pads and rotors are very easy to change yourself. This article includes all the parts, tools and torque ratings you need to get it done right the first time.

We'll cover replacing both, but you probably don't need to replace the rotors unless they are warped or worn too thin.

The Highlander in our article had a full set of "lifetime" guarantee brakes done at a major chain. The performance and noise from those left something to be desired, so we replaced all the components with new, high-quality parts.

The Highlander uses a drum style emergency brake in the rear. Emergency brakes don't often need to be replaced, and we don't cover them in this article.

Lift the Vehicle & Remove the Wheels


The wheels need to come off, so you'll need to lift them off the ground. Use a jack and jack stands or if you have access to a lift, use that.

The Highlander's lift points are located at the front and rear of the pinch weld seams that run down each side of the vehicle. The specific points where you can use a jack or jack stand can be identified by the little notches in it. Do not lift or support it anywhere else along that seam.


Remove the wheels by removing the the lug nuts. They are 21mm.

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Remove the Front Brake Pads


Remove the front brake caliper slide pin bolts. Use a 14mm socket.


Slide the caliper off the pads and set it aside. Make sure not to stress the rubber brake line by letting it dangle.


Remove the brake pads by sliding them out away from the rotor.

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Remove the Front Brake Rotor


Remove the 2 caliper carrier bracket bolts and the bracket itself. Use a 17mm socket.


Slide the brake rotor off the wheel lug studs now that the caliper carrier is out of the way.

Install a New Front Brake Rotor


Take your new rotors out of the box and clean them using brake cleaner.


Slide the rotor onto the wheel studs. If you need to hold it in place, use one of the wheel lug nuts to keep it from falling off.

Install New Front Brake Pads


Bolt the front brake caliper carrier bracket back in place. Torque to 79 ft-lb.


Apply the caliper lube on the back sides of the pad and around the edges where it touches the clips.


Slide the new pads into the carrier bracket.


Use a C clamp to compress the caliper piston back into the caliper.


Slide the caliper back onto the new pads, rotor, and caliper carrier. Be careful not to rip the little rubber boots on the slide pins.


Lube the caliper slide pins.


Tighten the front brake caliper slide pin bolts to 25 ft-lbs

Remove the Rear Brake Caliper


Remove the 2 rear brake caliper slide pin bolts. (14mm)


Remove the rear caliper by sliding it off the brake pads and setting it aside. Again, don't let it hang from the rubber hose.


Remove the rear brake pads by sliding the pads out of the carrier, away from the brake disc.


Remove the rear brake caliper carrier bracket by removing the 2 x 17mm bolts on the rear.

Removing the Rear Brake Rotors


Try pulling the rotor off, more then likely it won't just slide off.

If it doesn't slide off - you'll need to loosen the emergency brake shoes inside the rotor.

To do that, you'll need to remove the little rubber plug on the face of the rotor.

That will open up a small access hole that will allow you to rotate the emergency brake shoe adjuster.

It's difficult to see, but it's located at the bottom of the assembly, a little toward the front of the vehicle (about 7 o' clock looking at the wheel).

Turn the adjuster using a flat screw driver and check to see how free the rotor turns.

Once it's loose enough that the shoes no longer drag, you should be able to get the rotor off. At this point, if it doesn't move, use a small sledge or hammer to tap the rotor off the hub.

Install a New Rear Brake Rotor


Clean the new rotors with brake clean and slide them onto the hub.


Center the rotor using 2 wheel lugs to keep it in place.


Adjust the emergency brake shoe so that the pads drag like they did before you took them off.

Install New Rear Brake Pads


Install the rear brake caliper carrier bracket and tighten the 2 bolts to 58 ft-lbs


Prep the rear pads by applying brake goop to the pads.


Install the pads in the rear caliper bracket.


Compress the rear brake caliper piston using a c-clamp. Use an old brake pad to apply pressure to the caliper piston.


Install the rear brake caliper by sliding it over the pads.


Apply goop to the caliper slide pins.


Slide the new brake slide pins into the caliper and tighten to 32 ft-lbs. Note that the bottom most pin has a a darker tip.

Reinstall the Wheel and Lug Nuts


Slide the wheel over the wheel studs and reinstall the lug nuts. Torque to 76 ft-lbs

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