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2007 Toyota Corolla brake question

I recently had my front brakes checked out at the Toyota dealer. I have 42,000 miles on my car. They said that the pads are worn about 85% but rotors looked good. They currently have a front brake special for $279. I think that is kind of expensive, no? They also have this other special where they just swap out the front pads with new ones for $119. That is all they would do for that amount. Since my rotors are good, could i get away with just a front pad swap. Would brakes still perform the same?

You could try just having the pads replaced, but if the brakes start making noise shortly after the pad replacement, don’t be surprised.

One of the conditions that must occur when servicing a brake system is the friction surfaces of the pads and rotors must match. This insures that the brake pads embed themselves properly into the rotors. This allows what is called a transfer of friction material. If this doesn’t occur unwanted brake noise can result.

If you were a DIY’er, you might take the chance and just replace the pads and cross your fingers that they embed properly. If not, then you go back and install new rotors and sand the pads down and try again. But since you’re paying someone else to do this, I’d spend the $279.00 for the complete brake job. $119.00 for a brake job that may result in noise sometime down the road just isn’t worth it.


A few months ago I had front pads only replaced on a car with 90K miles. The rotors were OK.

Now at 99K miles, no noise, no problems.

I’d let them put new pads on and save the extra money.

If your 'rolla is out of warranty there’s generally no reason to take it to a dealer, especially for routine brake work.
A good independent shop can do it for much less $.

I’m surprised a shop would offer that option, especially a dealer.

Do It Yourselfers often just swap the pads out if the discs aren’t warped and look fine (no scoring or glazing). I do this myself without a problem. The new pads do take a few days, perhaps a week, to bed to the imperfections of the rotors, but the braking was always perfectly fine during the process.

But a shop will typically want to eliminate any possible variation and will want to put new discs in. I can’t blame them. They don’t want to have to go back over the job again or have dissatisfied customers.

Honestly, I’d go for just the pads. And surprisingly for a dealership, the price sounds reasonable to me. But it never hurts to price shop either.

As a matter of fact, just a few months ago I had all four corners on my car done with just pads. I also had the fluid flushed with new fluid. And I have access to a free multibay shop with multiple lifts, free labor, and 20% off the parts. If I didn’t truely believe that just changing pads were okay I certainly would not have done mine this way.

My daughter has an 03 Corolla and she goes through brakes about every 45k miles. OEM pads are pretty expensive, but good. Wagner pads are also very good and cost about the same. For the first pad change, a basic pad change will work fine, as long as the dealer uses OEM. The price is about right.

I generally replace rotors only if I can feel any rotor problesm through the steering wheel during brake application. I have run original rotors up to 160,000 miles on some of my cars with no problems. Noise has never occurred.