Can I keep old pads with new calipers?

So I’ve got my 2015 Toyota 4Runner limited, and it has developed a vibration in the steering wheel when braking. I checked the front rotors and they are good (only +/- 0.001 inches runout both sides). However I noticed my driver side rotor was hard to rotate and it sounded and felt like it was dragging against the pad which leads me to conclude that my driver side caliper has froze. First of all I hope I am not jumping to conclusions by thinking this. And second, if I replaced the calipers do I have to replace the pads? The pads are at half life (7mm left of a 12 mm pad) and I was hoping to keep them for the rest of their remaining life. Can I keep them or should I spend the extra dimes to get new pads as well?


As long as the brake pads are reinstalled in their original positions, there shouldn’t be a problem.



Do yourself a favor . . .

Replace the flexible brake hoses on both sides, while you’re at it

and buy “semi-loaded” calipers . . . because they’ll come with new hardware, which is probably in better shape than what you’ve got right now. No offense intended

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Just speaking for myself, but I would never re-use brake pads. But that’s an inherent distaste at running into the possibility of potential problems. An individual can do what they choose to on their own car but in a shop setting one does not want to run the risk of a comeback; which is mechanic speak for a problem due to the reuse of parts and which means a re-do by the mechanic for free.

You might also consider that the vibration could be caused by looseness in a wheel bearing, suspension, or steering component.


I’d think a defective caliper would probably mess up the pads, so I’d replace the calipers and pads.

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The vibration is caused by the thickness variation in the rotors, the run-out is in spec but a small amount of thickness variation will cause a brake vibration. The Lexus GX460 has the same brake system and I frequently see warped brake rotors, some drivers warp their rotors every 10,000 miles. We are surrounded by mountains and many people overheat their brakes while descending a grade.

Unless you live in the rust belt it is premature to have seized caliper pistons and collapsing brake hoses, the drag that you feel is likely normal, remove the brake pads and clean the pad slots.

Thats easy to tell if its a caliper. The car will not free roll(drag) like before and one of the wheel will feel hotter than the others after a drive. Brake pads will worned much faster on that side also.

I assume the reason to reuse the brake pads and rotors is to save money - that the labor is not an issue… So I would think cleaning things would be the first step. That might not solve the problem, but it is cheaper.

Most of the time. My 05 4-runner had a caliper design problem. The front calipers had 4 pistons (2 on each side). And about every 12-18 months one of the pistons would stick. This would cause un-even braking and make it feel EXACTLY like a bad rotor. Replace caliper and problem solved. My second set I went and paid a little more money for NAPA calipers which came with a life-time warranty. I exchanged those for new calipers at least 5 times. Their only requirement was that I had to put in new pads to keep warranty going. Lot cheaper then new calipers.

My 05 4-runner had a solid steel brake line which I replaced with a flex hose after a while.

Learn something new every day. I’ve seen fully loaded calipers that include pads and hardware kit. And pads I buy come with the hardware kit. Never knew you could buy a caliper with the hardware kit.

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“Can” or “Should”?

As CapriRacer said “So I would think cleaning things would be the first step. That might not solve the problem, but it is cheaper.”

But personally I don’t like doing the same job twice and pads are cheap so if the cleaning doesn’t work, I’d plan on replacing the pads while you’re doing the rest of the work.

Yup, I agree, I believe that Toyota still uses the same caliper design from ‘05 on my ‘15. My dad likes to call this problem toyota-itis because he swears every 2 years every Toyota he owned had a piston seize up on him and ”warp” a rotor. I will look into buying steel flex hoses, and I believe I can get a fully loaded caliper as well, although I do not mind bleeding the crap out of the new calipers and buying separate pads.

From my understanding Toyota only used that design in the 4th gen 4runners. I know people who own later 4runners and they aren’t having this problem.

The reason I suggest “semi-loaded” calipers . . . you can choose the brake pads you want to go with. Some people are partial to certain brands, as we know

Did you replace the steel brake lines with flexible hose because the steel lines were rusting?

No…I replaced it because they were a pain in the but to work with. Couldn’t just pull the caliper out of the way like you can with a flex hose. Had to disconnect the hose from caliper or risk crimping the line.

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