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Toyota 4Runner Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 5th generation 2010-2016 Toyota 4Runner with photo illustrated steps.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2015 4Runner Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen 6 Lug Nuts
Raise Front of SUV
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) Toyota 4Runner SUV in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of other Toyota or Lexus SUVs or trucks such as the RAV4, Tacoma, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Sequoia and Land Cruiser may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a large flathead screwdriver and a small flathead screwdriver.

A few compatible sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner QC976, Bosch BP976, Raybestos ATD976C, Akebono ACT976, Bendix MKD976, Brembo P80366N, KFE KFE976-104, Toyota 04465-60320 and ACDelco 14D976C.

Spin Off Lug Nuts
6 Lug Nuts Removed
Front Caliper & Rotor
Remove the lug nut wrench (or "tire iron") and the bottle style floor jack from their storage compartment located below the rear seats on the passenger side of the SUV.

Park the SUV on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Slightly loosen the six lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counterclockwise.

Don't remove the lug nuts, just break them free about 1/4 to 1/2 turn.

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 6 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully remove the front wheel to reveal the caliper and rotor.

Front Brake Caliper
Old Brake Pads
Pull Out Metal Bar
If the front brake caliper on your 4Runner doesn't look like the one on this 2015 SR5 model, check out my DIY guide for changing the front brake pads on a Highlander or a RAV4.

Performing a brake pad change on a 4Runner is actually quite simple due to the design of the four piston caliper.

Start by gently removing the thin metal bar attached to the back side of the caliper.

The ends of the metal bar are inserted in to holes in the top and bottom retaining pins.

Metal Bar Removed
Push Out Metal Pin
Lower Pin Removed
Set the thin metal bar aside in a safe place.

Then gently push the two thicker metal pad retaining pins out of the caliper from the back side of the caliper with a small flathead screwdriver.

Push Out Top Metal Pin
Two Retaining Pins Removed
Remove Bottom Clip
If you have trouble pushing the retaining pins out of the caliper, try gently tapping the screwdriver handle with a rubber mallet.

If it has been years since the brake pads have been replaced and you live in a climate with corrosive air near the ocean or the roads are salted in the winter to remove snow, you might need some penetrating oil to free retaining pins that have become rusted.

Gently remove the thin metal "W" spring clip located at the bottom of the opening in the rear of the caliper.

"W" Clip Removed
Compress Back Caliper Pistons
Slide Out Old Inner Pad
Set the "W" spring clip aside in a safe place.

Use a large flat head screwdriver or the flat end of the lug nut wrench to carefully compress back the four caliper pistons.

Pushing back the caliper pistons will create enough room for the thicker new brake pads to be installed.

(If you'd also like to replace the old rotors with new rotors you'll need to remove the 17mm bolts that hold the caliper bracket in place to the steering knuckle.)

Remove Old Outer Pad
Slide In New Inner Pad
Insert New Outer Pad
Slide the old inner and outer brake pads out of the caliper and discard them.

I always buy the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC976 brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon. I also like how they don't require any backing plates or shims due to the built in insulators.

If you've had a problem with noisy or squeaky brakes, you may want to apply some disc brake quiet gel to the backs of the new pads. Although the ThermoQuiet pads usually don't need any gel.

Slide the two new brake pads in to the caliper.


Fully Seat New Pads
Re-Attach "W" Spring Clip
Push In Lower Metal Pin
Make sure the two new brake pads are fully seated in to the caliper.

Line up the "W" spring clip and re-insert it in to the bottom of the caliper.

If your retaining pins had some rust on them, clean them with brake parts cleaner spray.

Slide the top retaining pin in to the hole in the top of the caliper until it is fully seated.

Re-Insert Top Metal Pin
Line Up Metal Bar
Re-Attach Metal Clip
Then push in the lower retaining pin.

Line up the thin metal bar on the rear edge of the caliper.

Re-attach the top of the bar in to the hole in the upper retaining pin.

Re-Insert Metal Loop
End of Bar In Metal Pin
Check Brake Fluid Level
Re-attach the metal loop at the center of the thin metal bar in to the hole in the caliper.

Re-insert the bottom of the metal bar in to the hole in the lower retaining pin.

Check the brake fluid level in the master reservoir which is located at the right rear (driver side) of the engine bay.

Twist off the cap in the counterclockwise direction. If the level is low, add some fresh DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid might 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 DOT 3 or DOT 4 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.

Push On Front Wheel
Spin On 6 Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Replace the front wheel and spin on the six lug nuts in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction with the tire iron.

Lower Car From Stands
Torque To 85 ft-lbs
Front Brake Pads Replaced

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

Continue tightening the 6 lug nuts in a criss-cross or "star" pattern to about 1/4 turn past hand tight or 85 ft-lbs of torque.

It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat of the truck and firmly press the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure.

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 SUV's service records.

For more, check out my other 2010-2016 Toyota 4Runner DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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