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Toyota RAV4 Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to replace the rear disc brake pads of a third generation 2006 to 2012 Toyota RAV4 with photo illustrated steps.

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2012 RAV4 Rear Wheel
Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
Raise Rear of Vehicle
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the third generation (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) Toyota RAV4 in replacing the rear brake pads.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles such as the Corolla, Camry, Matrix, Yaris, Tacoma, Prius, Tundra, Sienna, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, 4Runner, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, RX 350, FR-S, iQ, tC, xB, and xD may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet or a 14mm wrench, a "C" or "F" clamp, and a set of new rear brake pads.

A few compatible aftermarket rear brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Akebono ACT1212, Bosch BP1212, Bendix RD1212, ACDelco 17D1212CH, Centric 300.12120, TRW TPC1212, Wagner QC1212 and Power Stop 16-1212.


Please verify the correct replacement brake pads for your RAV4 by using the Amazon Part Finder website. The correct part numbers may vary depending on the model year, trim level and transmission type (4WD four wheel drive or RWD rear wheel drive).
Spin Off Lug Nuts
Rotor, Bracket, Caliper
Rear Brake Caliper
The first step is to chock the front wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the rear wheel with the lug nut wrench.

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

Spin off the 5 lug nuts, set them aside in a safe place, and pull off the rear wheel.

Loosen Upper 14mm Bolt
Lower Bolt - Turn Clockwise
Remove Lower 14mm Bolt
Loosen the two bolts on the back side of the caliper with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Remove the two caliper bolts and set them aside with the lug nuts.

Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
Lift Off Rear Caliper
Lift the rear brake caliper out of the bracket and carefully rest it on the rear suspension.
Rest On Suspension
Wear Bar - Bottom Outer Pad
Remove Inner Brake Pad
Pull the old brake pads out of the caliper bracket and make a mental note of how the wear indicator or "squeal" bar is situated.

The wear bar on this 2012 RAV4 was located at the bottom of the outer pad.

I recommend buying the Akebono ACT1212 rear brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon.

Replace Anti-Rattle Clips
Remove Caliper Slider Pin
Apply Caliper Grease


If your new rear brake pads came with new metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips, pull the old ones out of the bracket and install the new ones.

In order for the brake caliper to work properly, the upper and lower caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots, apply some brake caliper grease and push them back in to their rubber dust boots.

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper assembly and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

If your vehicle exhibits shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or it might be better to just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the car's first rear brake job 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, just 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.

Remove Brake Fluid Cap
Compress Caliper Piston
Install New Brake Pads
In order for the brake caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston needs to be compressed backwards.

First move to the engine bay and remove the brake fluid reservoir cap located at the right rear of the engine bay close to the driver's seat.

Removing the cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the lines when the piston is compressed.

Attach the "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper piston using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure.

Slowly compress the piston while repeatedly checking the brake fluid level in the reservoir to avoid having it overflow.

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear bar situated at the bottom of the outer pad.

Push Pads Against Rotor
Lower Caliper Over Pads
Thread In Upper Bolt
Press the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket. If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, you may need to compress the piston back a bit further.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the holes in the bracket.

Thread in the upper and lower caliper bolts by hand a few turns to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
Turn Counter Clockwise
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning them counter clockwise as seen from the outside of the vehicle. Tighten them to just past hand tight or about 20-25 ft lbs of torque.

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

Rubber Valve Cap
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Replace Rear Wheel

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may 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. 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 line bleeder valve is located at the top of the caliper close to the upper caliper bolt. To open the valve you'll need an 8mm wrench.

Slightly Tighten 5 Lug Nuts
Lower Vehicle From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Replace the rear wheel, spin on the 5 lug nuts, and slightly tighten them with the tire iron.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack until the rear wheel holds enough weight to keep it from spinning.

Progressively tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.  It would be best to use a torque wrench or an electric impact wrench with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to about 75-100 ft lbs of torque.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump 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, add some new DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new rear brake pads, just drive normally for the first few hundred miles while avoiding 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 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.

For more, check out my other Toyota RAV4 Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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