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Toyota Tacoma Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on a 2nd generation 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma with photo illustrated steps.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2013 Tacoma Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen 6 Lug Nuts
Open Rear Seat Bench
This automotive maintenance DIY tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015) Toyota Tacoma SR5 4X4 pickup truck with 6 lug nut wheels in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, Corolla, Sienna, RAV4, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, Sequoia, Hilux, Land Cruiser, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, tC, xB, xD, iQ and FR-S 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 small flathead screwdriver and a tube of brake caliper grease.

Please verify the correct replacement brake pad part numbers for your truck. They may vary depending on the trim level, model year, drive train (RWD rear wheel drive / 2WD two wheel drive or 4WD four wheel drive), the wheelbase length, the number of lug nuts (5 lug or 6 lug wheel) and caliper pistons.


You can verify the correct replacement part numbers by consulting with your Toyota / Lexus dealership, calling an auto parts store or by using the Amazon Part Finder website.

A few compatible replacement new sets of front brake pads for the four wheel drive Tacoma (6 lug nut wheels & four piston caliper) with their part numbers are as follows: Raybestos ATD976C, Wagner ThermoQuiet QC976, Akebono ACT976, Bosch BP976, Hawk Performance HB490F.665, Bendix D976, Beck Arnley 089-1678, Dura International BP976 C, TRW TPC0976, Toyota Parts PTR09-89111 TRD, Toyota 04465-04070 and Centric 105.0976.

Floor Jack Location
Open Hinged Plastic Cover
Raise Front of Truck
The lug nut wrench (or "tire iron") and the bottle style floor jack are located in a compartment below the rear seats on the passenger side of the truck.

Park the truck on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock 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 spin off the lug nuts, just break them free about a 1/4 turn.

Raise the front of the truck with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

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

Spin Off 6 Lug Nuts
Six Lug Nuts Removed
Rotor, Bracket & Caliper
Spin off the six lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

(If you have a Toyota Tacoma with rear wheel drive [RWD] and the 5 lug nut wheels, check out my DIY guides for changing the front brake pads on a Highlander, Sienna or RAV4.)

Pull off the front wheel and set it aside in a safe place.

Front Brake Caliper
Old Pads In Caliper
Gently Pull Off Inner Clip
The front brake calipers on a four wheel drive Tacoma do not require any bolts to be removed in order to access and change the pads.

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

The first step is to gently pull off the metal retaining clip on the inner edge of the caliper.

Inner Metal Clip Removed
Tap Out Metal Pins
Lower Pin Removed
Set the metal clip aside in a safe place.

Use a small screwdriver to gently tap out the two metal pins that secure the old brake pads to the caliper.

Tap Out Top Retaining Pin
Upper Metal Bar Removed
Metal Spring Clip
You can push out the pins from the rear of the caliper until they can be removed from the front edge.

Set the pins aside in a safe place.

Pull Off "W" Clip
"W" Spring Clip Removed
Brake Fluid Reservoir
Then pull the "W" shaped metal spring clip off the bottom of the caliper.

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

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

Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Pry Back Caliper Pistons
Compressing Back Pistons
Use a large flathead screwdriver or a similar tool to carefully pry back the old brake pads away from the rotor to compress back the four pistons.

I used the flat end of the tire iron to push back the pads.

Compressing back the four caliper pistons (two on each side of the caliper) will allow you to remove the old pads and also make room for the thicker new brake pads.


Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Slide Out Old Pads
Old Inner Pad Removed
Since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air), you should replace the reservoir cap as soon as possibly by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Slide the old inner and outer brake pads straight out of the slots in between the caliper and the rotor.

I recommend buying the Akebono ACT976 front brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon.

Old Outer Pad Removed
Slide In New Brake Pads
New Brake Pads Installed
To help prevent brake noise, you may want to spread a thin layer of high temperature synthetic brake parts lubricant grease to the backs of the new pads and to the rim of the pistons.

Do not apply grease to the friction surface of the new pads or to the rotor.

Slide the new pads in to the caliper.

If you have trouble installing the new pads, you might need to compress back the caliper pistons a bit more.

Re-Attach "W" Clip
Slide In Upper Pin
Re-Insert Bottom Pin
Re-attach the "W" shaped metal spring clip to the bottom of the caliper.

Slide the two pins in to the top and bottom part of the caliper to secure the new pads in place.

Metal Pins Replaced
Line Up Inner Clip
Hook & Hole In Lower Pin
Line up the long metal retaining clip on the inner edge of the caliper.

Re-insert the hook at the bottom of the clip in to the hole on the bottom pin.

Insert Clip Hook In To Pin
Re-Attach Middle Loop
Re-Insert Clip In To Top Pin
Re-attach the metal loop hook at the middle of the clip in to its corresponding hole on the caliper.

Re-insert the top end of the clip in to the hole on the upper retaining pin.

Double Check Pins & Clips
Rubber Valve Cap
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Double check that the two pins, "W" clip and long inner edge clip are all in place before moving on to the next step.

If your brake pedal previously felt 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. 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 right next to the top bolt.

Push On Front Wheel
Spin On 6 Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Push the front wheel back in to place 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 a criss-cross or "star" pattern with the tire iron.

Lower From Jack Stands
Torque To 85 ft-lbs
Front Brake Pads Replaced
Carefully lower the truck 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 electric 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. 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 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 service records.

For more, check out my other 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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