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Toyota RAV4 brakes - odor and driver wheel hot after total brake replacement

At 40,000 miles on my 2011 RAV4, had to replace all four pads/rotors. Yesterday, horrible grinding noise from driver wheel when stopping. Took it to shop, they said driver front caliper froze. So, had front rotors/pads/calipers replaced. When I got home (less than 2 miles) bad odor from front, but chalked it up to new parts. Today when I got home from work smell was worse, and I could detect heat from driver wheel. Rotor so hot my finger is actually blistered. Other three wheels fine. I’m hoping it’s an easy fix like a bad “new” caliper, bent hose or something…but could it be something worse? Anything else to have mechanic look at? And really, the vehicle has less than 90,000 miles on it and I’m not hard on my car…are Toyota brakes crap???


The brakes on my Corolla have stood the test of time, so I doubt the problem is the Toyota brake design. I’m guessing the flexible rubber hose that connects to the caliper is twisted or otherwise damaged, which is causing that caliper to lock up. Try replacing that hose. If you car has ABS it could be something w/that too. The procedure used to push the caliper’s piston back out so the new pads will fit has to be done correctly, the bleed valve must be open during that, otherwise brake fluid can back up into the system it can damage the ABS. It’s hard to imagine you’d get two bad calipers in a row, but if you decide to try another, ask your mechanic to purchase it from a different source. Sometimes the supplier will get a bunch of bad calipers in one shipment.

Thank you, I will have them check that. If there was a problem with ABS, though, wouldn’t there be a warning or indicator lit on the dash? The reason I commented on Toyota brakes is that I have a friend with a 2017 4Runner and she’s having brake issues at just over 5,000 miles.

I don’t see any recalls, customer interest bulletins, or TSBS for brakes on either the 2011 Rav 4 or the 2017 4 runner. Next time you’re at the library or bookstore take a look at the consumer reports used car guide, they list customer complaints by make/model/year and system.

I think the problem is you are either having bad luck with replacement parts, or there’s a problem with the procedure they used. If the hose idea doesn’t work & you decide to buy another caliper, try an OEM version from Toyota dealership maybe.

I can only wonder if they let the caliper hanging twisted while doing the brake job and damaged the hose. Otherwise it is a premature failure.
Another reason I prefer to do my own repairs as much as possible. Once I was stuck somewhere and needed brake pads changed. I watched the buy do the same. I had to hold the calipers myself and the guy couldn’t care less.

I really wish I knew how to do it. I understand that there’s great YouTube videos on almost anything these days, but…well…I’m a girl who just never learned vehicle repair beyond the basics. My luck I’d jack the front end and it would fall on me. I often wish I’d gone to a trade school and learned a skill rather than a piece of paper which cost a great deal and took 4 years to acquire.

Go back to the shop and have them deal with it. Its under warranty.right?

Gender has nothing to do with it. It just takes some time and practice. If you know anyone who does DIY work on their vehicle, ask them if they could help you with a repair so you can watch and learn. Brake jobs are not difficult to do on most cars (replacing pads and rotors), but given their importance to safety, they are definitely not something I would recommend flying solo on the first time.

Technically that’s true, and there’s quite a few women who engage in diy’er auto repairs, but it’s very helpful to possess a certain amount of upper body strength when doing auto repair work. Not being strong enough for the task could make it unsafe.

I don’t understand… does your vehicle have 40,000 miles on it or is it less than 90,000. I understand 40,000 is less than 90,000. The wording makes your inquiry a little confusing.

I’m here to tell you at 40,000 miles your brakes should not have needed replacement on your Toyota. Especially calipers! Were your brakes recently replaced with Toyota Genuine parts? Including calipers?

If you replaced your calipers then there wouldn’t be an issue with the rubbber hose being twisted or the old piston being pushed back and damaging ABS because you have to remove and replace the brake hose to the new caliper. It would be awfully hard to bolt the twisted hose into the new caliper and you wouldn’t depress the old caliper to make new pads fit because new calipers come retracted and bolted to a new bracket. Which brings me to the bracket. There are lazy techs that won’t clean the bracket and actually hammer new pads into bracket to make them fit: but you got new calipers so we can rule that out. The only other possible cause would be the aftermarket parts, especially brake pads. Often times aftermarket brake pads are slightly longer in length requiring you to grind parts of the brake pad that slide in the bracket in order to make them fit. If this is the case, then one of your brake pads is probably stuck in the bracket and constantly rubbing on the rotor.

Last possible cause would be the sliders. Toyota caliper brackets have 2 different size sliders. They both fit in each hole but only 1 of them have a rubber grommet at the end for vibration dampening purposes. If the longer slider is pushed into the short slides hole, the caliper will fit very snug and won’t allow the pad to slide through the bracket freely.

-Certified Toyota Expert

I know plenty of women who can out bench me in the gym too. Gender is only a barrier if you let it be one :slight_smile:

I know guys who went to trade school and are worthless mechanics, even after years of turning wrenches

I know guys who didn’t even graduate high school, much less attend trade school, who can grasp concepts that most mechanics haven’t even heard of, can outdiagnose and outwork just about anybody

It’s all relative