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

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2017 Highlander Rear Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Rear of SUV
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 rear 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 sets of new rear brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Toyota 04466-0E010, Wagner QC1391, ProACT ACT1391, ACDelco 17D1391CH and Monroe CX1391.


Continue Loosening
Spin Off Lug Nuts
Five Lug Nuts Removed
The first few steps are to drive the SUV on to a level surface, place the transmission in park and turn off the ignition.

Make sure that the emergency / parking brake is not engaged.

If the parking brake is engaged, you will not be able to pull the rear brake caliper off the old pads.

Place wheel chocks on both sides of the front wheels to prevent the SUV from moving.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the rear wheel by turning them about 1/4 to 1/3 turn in the counterclockwise direction.

I prefer to work on on side of the vehicle at a time to keep three tires on the ground for extra safety.

Raise the rear of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

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

Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
Rear Brake Caliper
Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Carefully pull off the rear wheel and set it aside.

Once the rear wheel has been removed, you'll be able to see the rear caliper, the bracket, the rotor and the rear suspension.

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

The two bolt heads face in towards the cargo area.

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

If the caliper slider pin turns as you are attempting to loosen the caliper bolt, hold it in place with a 17mm wrench.

Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Spin Out Bottom Bolt
Remove Top Caliper Bolt
Then 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 3/8" drive ratchet.

If the caliper slider pin turns and prevents you from loosening the caliper bolt, hold the pin in place with a 17mm wrench.

Spin out the two caliper bolts the rest of the way by hand.

Two Caliper Bolts
Pull Caliper Out of Bracket
Rest Caliper On Rotor
Set the two caliper bolts aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull the rear caliper out of the bracket and off the old brake pads.

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

Rest the caliper on the rotor or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord or some twine.

Remove Old Inner Pad
Wear Bar - Bottom Inner Pad
Wear Bar - Bottom Outer Pad
Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bars or "squeal" bars are situated on the old pads.

On this 2017 Highlander, the wear indicator bars were located at the bottom of both the inner and outer brake pads.

Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Replace Top Clips
Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
If your new set of rear brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

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

Avoid getting grease on to the friction surface of the rotor.

Push the new pad abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket until they are fully seated.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide bolts" need to be well lubricated.

Pull the upper and lower caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the bracket.

Lubricate & Replace Pins
Attach "F" Clamp To Caliper
Brake Fluid Reservoir
Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of both caliper slider pins before pushing them back into place.

Spin the pins around to make sure the grease is evenly distributed.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston needs to be compressed back.

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

Then move to the right rear area of the engine bay and locate the translucent white plastic brake fluid reservoir.

The reservoir is situated behind the fuse box and to the right of the engine air filter box.


Pull Off Reservoir Cap
Compress Caliper Piston
Replace Reservoir Cap
Carefully pull off the reservoir cap 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 piston.

Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction until the piston is fully compressed.

Repeatedly check the fluid level in the reservoir while you compress the piston to make sure it doesn't over flow.

Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible when you have completed pushing back the caliper piston.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic so it readily absorbs moisture from the air which can lead to reduced braking performance.

Detach the "F" clamp from the caliper and discard the old brake pad.

If your Highlander has been exhibiting vibrations or shuddering in the rear end while braking, you probably need to replace the OEM rotors with new rotors. To replace the rotors, remove the two 17mm bolts on the back of the bracket and then hit the rotor with a rubber mallet to loosen it. Pull off the old rotor and push the new on into place. Replace the bracket and tighten the two bolts to 70 lb-ft of torque.

Install New Pads
Wear Bars - Bottom Both
Push Pads Against Rotor
Clean off the bracket, rotor, and lug studs with some brake parts cleaner spray.

Install the two new brake pads into the bracket.

The wear indicator bars should be situated at the bottom of both brake pads.

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

Lower Caliper Into Bracket
Spin In Lower Bolt
Spin In Upper Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new brake pads and into the bracket.

If the caliper won't fit over the thicker new brake pads, you may need to compress the piston back a bit further.

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

Spin in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Top Bolt
Tighten Bottom Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
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, tighten the caliper bolts to 20 lb-ft of torque as specified in the service manual.

Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Replace Rear Wheel
Spin On Five Lug Nuts

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy, the brake fluid might be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain a few 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.

Replace the rear wheel and spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Lower SUV From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Slightly tighten the five lug nuts in the clockwise direction in a star or criss cross pattern with the tire iron.

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

Continue tightening the five lug nuts in a criss cross pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench and tighten the lug nuts to the 76 lb-ft of torque specification in the shop 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. (The Highlander can use either brake fluid, although I would recommend using the relatively newer technology DOT4 fluid.)

To break in your new rear 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.

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

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