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Toyota Highlander Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 3rd generation 2014-2018 Toyota Highlander SUV with the part numbers.

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2017 Highlander Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Front of Vehicle
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and probably also the 2019 and 2020 model years) Toyota Highlander SUV in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles such as the 4Runner, Avalon, 86, C-HR, Camry, Corolla, iM, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Yaris, FR-S, xB,  xD, tC, xA, CT 200h, ES 250, ES 300, ES 330, ES 350, IS 250, IS 350, RX 300, GS 250, NX 300 and RX 350.

The 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 ratchet or a 14mm wrench, a 17mm wrench and an "F" clamp.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner QC1324, Toyota 04465-0E010, Akebono ACT1324 and Bosch BC1324.


Spin Off Five Lug Nuts
5 Lug Nuts Removed
Remove Front Wheel
The first few steps are to park the SUV on a level surface and turn off the ignition.

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 five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them about 1/4 to 1/2 turn in the counterclockwise direction.

Raise the front of the SUV with the floor jack (located in the cargo area storage compartment) and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

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

Carefully pull the front wheel off.

Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Loosen Bottom Caliper Bolt
Once the front wheel is out of the way, you'll be able to see the brake caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts located on the back side of the caliper.

The bolt heads face in towards the engine bay.

Loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet or a 14mm wrench.

Then loosen the lower caliper bolt in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Hold Caliper Slider Pin
Spin Out Lower Bolt
Remove Upper Bolt
If the caliper slider pins start to turn as you are attempting to loosen the caliper bolts, hold them in place with a 17mm wrench.

Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Two Caliper Bolts Removed
Lift Caliper Out of Bracket
Rest Caliper On Rotor
Carefully lift the front brake caliper out of the bracket and rest it on top of the rotor or you suspend it from the suspension spring with a bungee cord or some twine.

Try to avoid stressing, kinking, bending or pulling on the rubber brake fluid hose.

Two "V" / "U" Spring Clips
Pull Off Top Spring Clip
Remove Bottom Spring Clip
There are two "V" or "U" shaped metal spring clips attached to the outer edge of the old brake pads.

Remove the two spring clips and set them aside for possible re-installation later on.

Your new brake pads might include new spring clips or they may not be equipped with the holes to use the spring clips.

Two Clips Removed
Remove Inner Pad
Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bar or "squeal" bar is located on the old brake pads.

On this 2017 Highlander, the wear indicator bar was situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

Remove Old Outer Pad
Pad Abutment Clips
Replace Clips
If your new set of pads includes replacement brake hardware such as new pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips, pull the old metal pad abutment clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Clean off the caliper bracket, rotor and lug studs with brake parts cleaner spray.

Try to avoid breathing in any of the brake dust or the cleaning spray.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the new pad abutment clips where they will come in contact with the bracket or the new pads.

Avoid getting grease on the friction surface of the rotor or the new pads.

Push the new pad abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket.

Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace Pins
Attach "F" Clamp
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots on the back side of the bracket.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to both pins before pushing them back into place.

Rotate the pins a few times and push them in and out a few times to help spread the grease and make sure they move freely.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two pistons need to be compressed back into the caliper.

Attach the "F" clamp to the caliper and use the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the two pistons.

Move To Engine Bay
Pull Off Reservoir Cap
Compress Caliper Pistons
Then move to the right rear area of the engine bay and locate the brake fluid reservoir tank.

The reservoir is located just behind the electrical fuse and relay box and to the right of the engine air filter box.

Pull off the rubber cap on the brake fluid reservoir tank and set it aside in a safe place.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the lines when you compress the caliper pistons.

Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction until the two caliper pistons are flush with the rubber dust boots that surround them.

You may need to re-position the "F" clamp to fully compress both pistons.


Install New Outer Pad
Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Once the two pistons are fully compressed, remove the "F" clamp.

Be sure to replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic and it can quickly absorb moisture from the surround air which can lead to reduced braking performance.

 If your Highlander has previously exhibited shuddering, pulsations or vibrations in the front end when you step on the brake pedal, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the first front brake job on your SUV and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just replace the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, remove the two 17mm 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.

I recommend buying the Wagner QC1324 "ThermoQuiet" ceramic brake pads since they are very quiet and don't produce much brake dust.

Install the two new brake pads into the bracket.

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

The wear indicator bar should be situated at the top of the new inner brake pad.

Re-Attach "V" Clips
Lower Spring Clip
Lower Caliper Over Pads
If your new brake pads are equipped with the small holes on their outer edges, attach the new "V" spring clips or re-use the old clips.

These metal clips help spread the brake pads away from the rotor so that they don't create unnecessary friction while the vehicle is in motion.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and into the bracket.

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

Spin In Upper Caliper Bolt
Replace Lower Caliper Bolt
Tighten Top Bolt
Spin in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning them in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight.

If you have a torque wrench, the service manual lists the torque specifications for the front caliper bolts as being 25 lb-ft.

(If you replaced the rotors, the bracket bolts should be tightened to 77 pound-feet of torque.)

Tighten Lower Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal has been feeling 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 brake fluid or you can also use 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.

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

In order to open the brake fluid bleeder valve, you will need an 8mm wrench.

Replace Front Wheel
Spin On Five Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Double check that the caliper bolts, bracket bolts and brake fluid bleeder valve are all tight before moving on.

Push the front wheel back into place.

Spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction in a "star" or "criss cross" pattern with the tire iron.

Lower Car From Stands
Torque To 76 lb-ft
Front Wheel Replaced
Carefully lower the SUV from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue tightening the lug nuts in the clockwise direction with the tire iron to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to 76 lb-ft of torque as specified in the owner's manual.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle 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, pour in some fresh DOT 3 or DOT 4 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 not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway for drops of fresh 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 vehicle's service records.

Please check out all of my 2014-2018 Toyota Highlander DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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