Brake shims... do I have to replace them?

It’s time for brake pads on my car (91 Camry), it’ll be my first time doing brake pads but I was wondering, the shims that are behind the pads, do they have to be replaced as well? My understanding is that they are for antisqueal purposes, so I wasn’t sure if they had a service life.

You should be able to use the same shims that are on there now if they are in good shape. I don’t see why they should need to be replaced.

Just in case I am wrong, how many miles do you have on your 91 Camry?

If this is your first time, make sure you only do one side at a time so you can compare one side to the other to see how to put it back together. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have an experienced friend nearby for help.

If you purchase a quality set of brake pads they’ll come with new shims.


They’re OK if they don’t look corroded.


I agree. Just did my Accord brakes and new shims came with the pads. As I recall every time I did the front pads new shims came with the new pads. Put them on or you may have brake noise. My old shims were pretty rusted and bent out of shape, with a dimple in the center from the piston. I’ll bet yours are too. Get new ones. Rocketman

if you do not the squeal and chatter they make will drive you mad. Good pads will have them in the box. One of my tricks when the shims are n/a is to coat the back of each pad with silicon sealer and install the old shim, no chatter. Always repair something the right way but when certain parts are n/a find a way to improvise.