The Toyota Corolla has lived a long life, as its uninterrupted lifespan dates back to 1966. In 1984, the Corolla began its switchover from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive, with the sedan coming first and the remainder of the models converting in later model years. The 2006 model year Corolla, still a front-driven vehicle, features a pair of front ventilated disc brakes. Periodically, the rotors in this disc brake system wear out and you must replace them or risk further damage to the brake system. Replacing the front rotors on your 2005 Corolla is a task that any home mechanic can complete.
Items you will need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- 8-inch C-clamp
- Drain pan
- Six-point box-end wrench set
- Bungee strap
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Rubber mallet
- Spray brake cleaner
- Torque wrench
- New brake pads
- DOT 3 brake fluid
Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels, using a ratchet and socket. Lift the front of your Corolla with a floor jack and slide jack stands under its subframe rails. Lower the vehicle until it rests only on the jack stands and leave the jack under the vehicle for added security. Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheels off the front hubs.
Position an 8-inch C-clamp over the caliper, so its fixed side contacts the rear of the caliper and its screw side contacts the of the outer brake pad. Slide a drain pan under the brake caliper and find the brake bleeder valve – a 1/4-inch metal valve – on the rear of the caliper. Open the bleeder valve by turning it a half turn counterclockwise with a six-point box-end wrench. Tighten the C-clamp until the caliper stops moving. Immediately tighten the bleeder valve to close it.
Remove the caliper bolts while you hold each caliper slide pin with an open-end wrench. Lift the caliper from the caliper bracket and hang it from the front strut spring, using a bungee strap.
Pull the inner and outer brake pads from the caliper bracket and pry the brake pad support plates – the thin, metal shims that go above and below the pads in the caliper bracket – out with a flat-head screwdriver.
Remove the caliper bracket bolts, then pull the bracket from the steering knuckle. Grip the old rotor and pull it off the front hub. If the rotor sticks, lightly strike its backside with a rubber mallet to free it, then pull it off.
Repeat steps 2 through 5 to remove the rotor on the other side of the car.
Guide the new rotors onto the wheel studs on the front hub. Guide the caliper bracket over the rotor and thread its retaining bolts in by hand. Tighten the caliper bracket bolts to 79 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.
Press the new brake pad support plates, which come with the new brake pads, into their grooves in the caliper bracket until they snap into place. These plates only fit one way, so if they require too much force to install, you probably have them reversed. Slide new brake pads into the caliper bracket. The pads also only fit in one direction to prevent incorrect installation.
Remove the caliper from the strut spring and lower the caliper onto the caliper bracket. Hand-thread the caliper bolts into the caliper pins. Hold the caliper pins still and torque the caliper bolts to 25 foot-pounds.
Repeat steps 1 through 3 to install the rotor and brake pads on the other side of your Corolla.
Reinstall the front wheels and tighten the lug nuts snug. Raise your Corolla off of the jack stands with the floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower your vehicle to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern to 76 foot-pounds.
Press and release the brake pedal until it feels firm. Check the brake fluid in the brake master cylinder under your Corolla's hood. Add fresh DOT 3 brake fluid until it reaches the “Max” line on the master cylinder reservoir, if needed.
Close the hood and take any old DOT 3 brake fluid to a used automotive fluid recycling center. Some auto parts stores take old fluid free of charge.
- Bleeder valves are notoriously easy to break. If they don't loosen easily, spray them with penetrating lube and let them soak for a while.
- If the new rotors have an oily protective film on them, rinse them with spray brake cleaner before installing them.
- Always replace the brake pads along with the rotors, as installing rotors with scars and uneven on them from the rotors can cause the new rotors to wear prematurely.
- Brake fluid dissolves automotive paint quickly, so always wipe up spills immediately.
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