Squeak and Shake

2012 Toyota Corolla LE. I bought new rotors and brakes since they were not salvagable. After installation my car still made squeaking noise when I braked so I took it back to find out the manufacturer rotor they installed was defective, the mechanic had that replaced with ceramic rotors. Then another week goes by with a horrible chemical smell that did not go away. I brought it back and the caliber was sticking on one side, they replaced only that one on the driver side. Now I am still have random squeaking when I brake and at 50-60 mph my car shakes not when braking. I really don’t want to take it back to the same mechanics, this will be my 4th time. Apparently they bled the brakes the three times my car has been in their shop. The initial time it was brought in, they rotated my tires. Should I take it back? Any advice on what could be happening?


Find another shop.

Explain to them what has been done to resolve the problem to this point.

And I bet they find the incorrect brake components were installed, or, the proper brake service procedure wasn’t performed.



I do thank you for your time and response @Tester
I was leaning towards taking it somewhere else. Paying for their services/diagnotics and going to the initial shop, show the invoice. Ask for a reimbursement. It is NO either way. Just hard these days to find a trustworthy mechanic and believe in people to properly, rightfully do the accurate thing/procedure.

Thanks again!

I would keep taking it back because I wouldn’t want to spend more money on another garage.

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On a side note. there is no need for ceramic rotors on a Toyota Corolla. they are for high horsepower cars or for race cars. they should be used with ceramic brake pads. semi metallic pads will eat the rotors up faster and probably your chemical smell.


As far as brakes go, it’s my firm opinion if you absolutely do NOT want any noise, only use factory brakes

I seriously doubt the mechanic installed ceramic rotors

I suspect there’s been some sort of misunderstanding and the mechanic in fact installed ceramic brake pads

I’ve had terrible noise problems using aftermarket ceramic brake pads

One hallmark of a good shop is that they know what parts work well . . . versus the ones that make a lot of noise and don’t even do their job

There are certain brands I would NEVER install, if it were up to me


Ceramic rotors, didn’t know those were a thing. I guess I learn something new.

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The OP was mistaken. Such rotors aren’t available for a Corolla.

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Just in case you guys were wondering

Today I took my corolla to a different mechanic and told them my on-going issues. Just from a “free” brake inspection they discovered all four of my wheels were out of balance and the front two wheels were bent (causing the shaking in my steering wheel) in which they rotated them to the back, as well as computerized balanced wheels. They had to service both of the front brake calipers due to the slide pins being stuck. Apparently previously they were not greased. This shop cleaned and greased the pins. After the 11 miles difference of me dropping it off with them, they state it is test driving good.

$30 to balance all four wheels and put the front bent wheels on the back
$7 shop supplies
$85 to clean, grease caliper pins that were stuck
$8.54 for NC sales tax

Previous automotive center charged $192.84 for front brake kit rotors and pads and $99 for brake labor with $2 shop supplies fee. $20.43 in NC sales taxes.

Initialed brought into shop for squeaking noise 8-1-2022 with odometer reading 126,393
Serviced for the fourth time for same issue plus shaking (this time at a diff shop) 9-8-2022 odometer reading 127,345 952 miles difference 37 days later.
I went to the same shop three times just about every week in August.

I realize this is wayyyyy more info than most are even interested in.
Just keeping record for myself. Also not sure if this is reasonable or not but $445 later

P.S. the “technician” did in fact tell me he installed ceramic rotors since the first ones they put on were defective. HE told me wrong, because as NYBo stated ceramic rotors for a corolla are not available. Also weekend-warrior mentioned those rotors being for high horsepower vehicles.
Although they explained the chemical smell and extreme heat being from the driver side caliper being the only one stuck.

Just wondering if the greased up calibers on both sides now are enough.
In everything I have read online, it is best to replace BOTH calibers. The initial shop only replaced the one and clearly didn’t grease it or clean???

What do I know!!!

There is no need to replace the calipers if the pins are properly greased, and sliding freely, and the calipers have no sign of piston or boot damage.


You should seriously consider getting those bent rims REPLACED, rather than just rotating them to the back

Here’s what I’m afraid is going to happen . . .

In 2 or 3 years, when you need new tires, you’ll either forget about the bent rims . . . or neglect to tell the shop that’s installing 4 new tires . . . and then those bent rims will somehow wind up in the front


Glad you got the issues resolved there OP. Good for you. Suggest first priority going forward is to establish good shop/owner relationship w/well recommended independent shop. Ask friends, relatives, coworkers which shop they use and why, interview the ones with good recommendations that work on Corolla’s, choose the one you like the most, and use them consistently for your future repair and maintenance needs.

Concur w/db4690 above, good idea to replace wheels w/bent rims. Same tires can be used tho, just ask shop to transfer them to better (unbent) rims. Also concur w/4690 that best way to prevent brake squeaks is to ask your shop to only use Toyota’s oem replacement brake pads and rotors. Buy them at a Toyota dealership. May be a little more expensive, but worth the added expense to eliminate the squeaks. Brake work isn’t overly difficult, but to get good results requires using good parts, a commitment to cleanliness in the re-assembly process, and not skipping any steps. I think the last one – not skipping steps --is the one most owners have the most difficulty with from the shop. Very easy to decide to skip what seems an unimportant step to save a little time. Easy b/c it is a step the customer will likely never know was skipped.


The only circumstances under which I would retain bent wheels and simply move them to the back of the car would be if I was planning to get rid of the car w/in a very short period of time. If the OP is planning on keeping the car for the long term, just get two “new” wheels from a junkyard, and swap the tires onto those “new” wheels.


Same. I won’t use 'em for anything now. If you really want to upgrade your pads with no worries about noise, consider the Porterfield R4S pad. It’s a carbon-kevlar setup that delivers excellent stopping power as quietly as the factory pads. It does dust a good bit, though, so expect to have to keep up with wheel cleaning.

Just make sure it’s the R4S, not the R4, as the latter is meant for on-track use only and won’t get hot enough to be effective with normal street driving.


I don’t follow my own brake pad advice (above). In fact since my VW Rabbit days, 30-40 years ago, I’ve always used after-market semi-metallic brake pads and never once had any squeaking problem. I’m not a big brake user though. Manual transmission, plan my stopping ahead of time, try to avoid trouncing on the brake pedal whenever possible. My neighbors don’t use my braking method; I notice most of them routinely drive into their driveways at 30 mph, then slam on the brakes so they don’t hit their garage door. Don’t really understand this behavior. Guess the do it that way b/c they can. Their cars seem to spend a lot of shop time though.