Tacoma rotors

04 Toyota Tacoma, 2wd, v6, Prerunner, 86k miles: Going thru shimmies and replacing rotors every 3-6months! I am not hard on the brakes, nor slamming for emergency stops. Neither tire shop nor Toyota dealer can figure it out. Dealership suggests vented rotors$$$! Anyone have any ideas?

Vented rotors won’t help. Your problem most likely lies in one or both of the calipers. The slide may be sticking, or a piston if they are multipiston calipers

who has been doing the brakes?

you, dealer, or tire shop?

how many miles on tires?

last brake job?

rotated tires lately?

where are the replacement rotors coming from? USA, China?

I think I am thinking along the same lines a Cappy-- a lot of the cheapo brake jobs the chain garages sell use really poor components. For example those “lifetime” brake pads are notorious for eating through rotors-- and of course when you take it in to get the rotors replaced, they don’t put very good rotors in there either!

I’d bet that, if no front end, tire, or caliper problems can be found, that replacing the pads and rotors with higher-quality replacements will solve your issue.

Thanks for the reply…seems all replies are pointing me in same direction…will do more legwork to find out add’l info on calipers and the manufacture of the pads & rotors and post that here. I do appreciate your help rripstop! Again, thanks for guiding me away from vented rotors!

Thanks for the reply Cappy. My tire shop has done most of the replacements, but I decided to give the dealer the last look at it. New tires on the pickup, less than 5k. Older tires replaced probably had at least 50k to 90k, however I purchased the Tacoma used, with a clean CARFAX and preinspection. Last brake work, by dealer, was July 07, 80k miles…turned rotors, checked calipers. Spoke with dealer at length about the symptoms before they put on the lift…and they suggested the vented rotors for next time.
Previously had rotors checked, new rotors installed by independant tire shop, Sept. 06, 68k miles…with several stops in between by tire shop to machine rotors, about every 3-6 months. Will make some calls to get info on the rotor/caliper manufacturer and post the results here next week. Again, thank you for helping out Cappy!

Hello and thank you Greasy! I appreciate your help. I will check with the tire shop and get the specs on the part manufacturers. As I noted to Cappy, first I had new rotors installed (after too many times of turning the rotors) back in Sept 06, 68k miles. Had to again turn rotors about every 3-6 months thereafter. Then tried dealer shop, where I discussed the problem at length before they took me in, back in July 07, 80k miles.
The dealer inspected the system, especially calipers, and then turned the rotors, then suggested vented rotors if the symptoms continued at the interval of 3 months. The symptoms are back again since the new year. Will post my research info here again next week, and hopefully begin to get to the bottom of this with you all! Thanks so much Greasy!

The OEM rotors on your truck ARE vented. So whoever was doing your brake jobs cut costs by installing the cheaper solid rotors. And if you want short rotor life, install solid rotors on a vented rotor brake system.


Hi Tester, thank you for the reply! I appreciate your help. Is there anyplace on the web that you can recommend that I can print out and shove it in the face of both my dealer shop and the tire shop? I had originally asked both if maybe my Tacoma came OEM with vented rotors…and you can guess their reply.
Both gave me a “resounding” answer of NO. Grrr…gee, go figure. Ok, I’m going to do so much legwork on this next week. I know its not brain surgery, but obviously, you guys are in the know, but my locals…well…
I will check on this, and if you can reply I’d appreciate it. Also, when they’re ordering the parts from the local supplier (Car Quest or Napa in our town, or Toyota dealer) how do I know what I should ask them to purchase…obviously I’m hearing that you all want higher quality in this brake system for me. Whats a novice to ask for? Thanks much Tester!

I have a couple more questions. First off, what exactly were your symptoms? And do you know if when the dealer turned the rotors if there was measurable warping?

I don’t know about the new ones, but the service manual for my '89 Toyota Pickup says that the difference between the “new” thickness and the “replace” thickness on the brake rotors is so little that it’s not a good idea to turn them. I’d imagine that unless they only had the subtlest of warping and wear, they would have been impossible to turn, and I wouldn’t think such subtle wear would cause noticeable symptoms.

Another thought I had was the wheel bearings. I don’t know if the PreRunner has the 4wd-style captured rotors or the 2wd-style sealed bearings, but if it’s the captured-rotor style, every time they take the rotor off, they have to remove and repack the wheel bearings-- if the tire shop didn’t do that, your bearings could have been damaged from lack of grease. Possibly what could be going on is that since you’ve been having people replace or turn the rotor, they’ve been repacking the damaged bearings with fresh grease, which makes the problem go away for a few months. Just a theory!

To be clear, there is confusion amongst many as to what a “vented rotor” is. Most vehicles these days come with rotors that have little cooling fins between the two surfaces, which is technically a “vented rotor”. However, there’s also the “vented rotors” that have the little holes on the surfaces that are used for high-performance applications (and by people with fancy rims who think they look cool). From my reading of the situation, it sounded like the dealer was suggesting putting on the latter variety, which should be totally unnecessary.

All the replacement rotors I install come from CarQuest. But! When ordering rotors they ask if I want the CHEAP (solid) rotors? Or the the PREMIUM (OEM specific) rotors?


it is my fervent opinion… i know, opinions are like… every one has one, and yours stinks!!..

however i digress.

i NEVER turn, machine or rework rotors. once and DONE. i will leave them on, and replace them every other brake job. if my rotors somehow get scored, warped or other wise damaged i throw 'em away.

you mention turning rotors several times. that is too much.

tester… are you sure the oem rotors are vented. this truck is NOT 4WD. it is 2WD. most rotors nowadays are vented. but i would be surprised if these were not vented since it is a light duty truck.

From what I understand, the PreRunner has all the same heavier-duty components as the 4wd Tacoma, but without the 4wd-system.

You’re thinking of a cross-drilled rotor.




Thanks Greasy, Tester, and Cappy. After viewing all of your comments, I managed to squeak in a last minute
Saturday call to Toyota’s official phone line. The rep had to put me on hold for a bit, but he came back
and confirmed that the Tacoma was in fact originally sold with what he called “vented rotors”. He didn’t have enough info, nor tech knowledge to tell me exactly what type of vented rotor, nor what they meant by vented, per your comments as to what the term exactly means.
So, suffice to say that I’m going to walk into both of my local car parts stores and discuss the availability of OEM vented rotors, the differences between the selections, and then also call the dealership…though they obviously should have known this and not just made it as a possible suggestion.
Still, I’ll post add’l info when I gather it for your helpful input. Thank you very much for allowing me to rattle your experienced brains. Hope you weekend is nice. And remember…don’t drive like your brothers!

not to make it more confusing, but… depending on which type, there is: solid, vented, cross drilled, AND slotted rotors too.