Rear brakes pads wearing out twice as fast as front on 2005 Camry

I’m the original owner of a 2005 Toyota Camry SE 4cyl, currently with 74k miles. I’ve noticed the rear brake pads are wearing out twice as fast as the front. My most recent brake inspection at the dealership (6-5-14) showed the rear pads at 3mm and the fronts at 7mm. Neither the front or back pads have been replaced before.

Is this normal? I always thought the front brakes did most of the work and would wear out first; this has been my experience with previous vehicles.

The dealership doesn’t seem concerned about this, though the service person I spoke to didn’t have an answer as to why the rears are wearing out faster.

Same thing happened to my ES300 (Camry). Just depends on the brake design. Nothing to worry about.

+1 to what texases stated.
Some cars are like this, although the vast majority are not.
I can still recall that my brother’s VW bug used to need rear brake shoes twice as often as it needed front brakes.

+2 to Texases post.
Designers put smaller brakes in the rear because the front wheels do most of the work. But they don’t always get the balance right. This is a guess only, but it is possible that changes were made to the Camry design that changed its center of gravity after the brake design was already “set”. It’s also possible that the brake system was carried over from another design and the Camry has a different Cg. There could be any number of reasons.

You can mitigate this somewhat by going to metallic or ceramic pads. They have a different balance of materials compound, and they wear less quickly. Metallic pads can, however, tend to have a grindy sound, and ceramics do wear the rotors slightly more quickly, so there are some minor tradeoffs. Personally, I use ceramic pads. Ask your mechanic what type of pads he recommends.

Been in the auto parts biz since 1975.
I’ve never sold so many REAR brakes till after the industry wide, all brands, change to rear DISC brakes.
It’s not a Toyota issue. it’s a rear disc brake atribute for some odd reason.

My own 08 Expedition got rears at about 80k ( one pad was to the metal ) but didn’t need fronts till 100k ( worn low , not to the metal )
Have never put brakes on the 06 Escape hybrid.
Put fronts only on the 92 Explorer ( rear drum )
Have never put brakes on the 79 Chevy pickup either ( only 71k , rear drum )

If you have managed 74K miles on the original brakes, then this wear pattern is not anything to worry about…But you are ready for rear brake pads…

Thanks for the responses. Good to know it’s not a sign of a bigger problem. I’ve never had any apparent problem with the brakes.

The dealership said I’m OK for now but will probably need to replace the rear pads next time I’m due for service based on how much wear is occurring between visits (this dealer has done all my service).

I think the car makers put smaller pads with less material on the rears so they are tuned to wear evenly with the front. At least that is how it seems to me.

I think that’s the intent, but they don’t always get it right. Knowing personally how capable modern design software is, I tend to suspect that there’s a “bug” in the design process such as last minute changes to the car after the brake system has been finalized or simply copping the brake system design from a different vehicle. It’s all speculation on my part, but it comes from knowing that modern design software can easily determine weight transfer behaviors, loads on every wheel (nay, every node of every wheel), heat transfer, and even the location of the nearest hotdog stand.

There is a problem in the salt belt with rear disc brakes. Because of the hat type rotors for the emergency brake shoes they trap more salt than the fronts and the corrosion makes them stick and wear out faster than the fronts.
My sons 2006 Sonata was wearing out a set of rear pads a year until he started disassembling and lubing them every summer. He moved to Florida 3 years ago and hasn’t had to touch them since.
When I had my 2012 Camry in for the last free oil change at the 2 year mark my dealer told me the back brakes were corroding and he wanted $100 to clean and lube them. I will do it myself this summer.

Interesting discussion. I’d have never guessed rear pads wearing out faster than the front is a common thing. Disc/disc is different from Disc/drum I guess. My 200K 20+ year old Corolla has front disc, rear drums, and the rear shoes have never needed replacement.

Remember too that your brakes are no longer used just for “stopping” but stability control as well. If you drive aggressively, especially in the winter, they can be used to keep the rear end in line while stopping, turning and accelerating. Being a skeptic, I know there is more manufacturers could do to extend brake life. Right now, that’s not a mandated requirement like pollution controls. It’s a “normal” wear item that generates income. @Oldtimer gets my agreement for heavy salted area contributing to dealer service income as well

Oldtimer, I tip my hat to you. That is truly interesting information that I never would have imagined.

I used to regularly lube the pins myself that brake calipers rode on to keep them from seizing and dragging. It seems that Toyota doesn’t think it’s necessary anymore as it interferes with their ability to extract more money for brake jobs. Preventative measures ? That might make too much sense.

I’ve had a couple of cars that went through rear disk brake pads faster than the fronts, but the norm for me is still the fronts wear faster. I think there are a couple of things that might be affecting the OP’s car. The rear brakes might be getting more dirt and moisture than the fronts. Meaning more rust corrosion, and the slides and pads might be sticking and not fully releasing the pads on the rotors. I’d clean the rear brakes and lube the slides.

The ABS and trac control systems measure wheel spin and perhaps the computer is applying more brake pressure than necessary. Clean all the areas involved in the wheel speed sensors on the rear wheels. I doubt that every Camry goes through rear brakes faster than the fronts so I’d look for a reason this car is doing so.

I had the same experiences with a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer, my first vehicle with 4 wheel disc brakes. The rear brakes were replaced twice, the fronts once in the ten years I had it.

Ed B.

Since NHSTA standards do not allow the rear brakes to lock before the fronts (it causes spins) brakes were designed to newver lock no mater what the load or distribution is. A driver, no luggage needs very little rear brake. 4 passengers and luggage needs LOTS of rear brake. It isn’t very reliable to change the bias with varying load.

A few years ago, ABS equipped cars started to get “dynamic rear proportioning”. Basically, the rear brakes are applied MUCH more than would be allowed without the ABS to kick in a prevent rear lock. This saves the front pads and works the rears. Those of us who don’t hammer the brakes in heavy city traffic wear out rears before fronts. LA city traffic commuters will wear both sets more evenly. That’s why you see so many rear pad replacements before fronts these days.

Interesting stuff.