Brake caliper

A rear brake caliper(2007 sienna 50K freeway

driving) failed and caused premature pad

weardown to zero. toyota suggests replacing both rear calipers. Why both? Mucho $$)


It’s standard practice to replace brake parts in pairs due to concerns about possible uneven braking forces. (The practice is pretty standard when you are paying for the work, not so much when it is insurance or warranty.)

You only need one caliper. I’d change all rear brake pads, to maintain even braking, but there is no reason to replace a perfectly good caliper.

I respect what Tardis is suggesting, but I’d be inclined to replace only the bad one. If the truck were older or high mileage I’d want to replace both, but as long as an OEM replacement caliper is used and you replace all four pads you should not have significant differences in braking force. The hydraulics will balance the force of the fluid, and unless there’s a significant difference in caliper design the braking should be balanced.

If you do experience a pulling to one side, you can always replace the other caliper after checking to be sure the first installation is correct. Doing both at one time really won’t save you any significant amount over doing them at sperate times.

I’ve never understood the rationale in replacing both calipers ??? Pads and rotors, definitely. But I don’t understand if a caliper on one side is properly working, regardless of the mileage, what the harm is in only replacing the defective one ?? I’ve replaced calipers over the years on several cars and can’t remember one time going back and having to replace the other one after. If a caliper is working properly, there shouldn’t be an issue of the vehicle pulling to one side (if rotors and pads are replaced).

To me, on an old high mileage vehicle it’s a recognition what whatever is happening that caused the sticking, whether it’s corrosion on the slides, old internal parts, or grit having gotten in, it’s probably affected the other side too. On a newer vehicle I’d expect it to have been some manufacturing anomolie that caused a premature failure.

But I respect what you’re saying. A friend and myself replaced a caliper on another friend’s '95 Corolla perhaps two years ago and there’s been no problem.

I see your point about the reason one caliper would be sticking and possibly affecting the other side on older vehicles. What I would recomend (and do all the time), is visually inspect everything (that you can) on the good caliper - the glides, piston, etc… If anything looks suspect, I’d replace it. If it visually looks OK and is working well, then I don’t change it. So far I’ve had good luck with doing this.

A good visual is always prudent. And I agree that feelings differ on this issue and both perspectives are honest and valid.

Happy wrenching.

Actually, I never gave any opinion on whether it was valid to replace both. I only answered the OP’s question about why it was being advised. Personally, I would inspect the other caliper, and if it is okay, I’d leave it be. I would go ahead and replace the pads on both sides.

I would be having a conversation with the service manager about why a brake caliper would fail like this after only 3yrs 50K - I’m sure its either under a brakes “wear and tear” exemption on warranty or perhaps the warranty for that went at 36K. (Its been so long since I’ve had a car new enough to have a warranty that I forget how they work). I’m sure it won’t get you anywhere, but unless someone really messed up a brake job this is “flaw in materials and workmanship” type of issue. Obviously some part failure is just bad luck, but you shouldn’t need to replace a caliper at this point.

Anyway…I’m sure a discussion with Toyota won’t get you anywhere, so my real suggestion is to get it out of the dealer’s shop and find an independent local mechanic. Even if you decide to do both calipers it’ll likely be similar to the cost of one at Toyota. And, as with others, if there is no sign of an issue with the other caliper then I probably wouldn’t replace it. I would, however, be keeping a close eye on that wheel.