Warped or unevenly worn rotors can cause vibration to occur when braking. This pictorial guide walks you through the process of changing out rotors, and gives the correct part numbers you need.

The vehicle used in this tutorial is a 2004 Toyota Corolla, but this procedure and parts should also apply to 2003-2017 Toyota Corolla’s as well.

Note: PracticalMechanic.com is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission – at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!

What Causes a Toyota Corolla to Shake While Braking?

Vibration when braking is a tell-tale sign of a warped rotor. It is best to replace both rotors and brake pads at the same time. Another option is to take your rotors to a local shop and have them grind them down. However, if the warping is severe, it is better to replace them.

In my case, the Corolla developed a shimmy, shudder, or vibration whenever the brakes were applied. The vibrational frequency was dependent on vehicle speed, so coming off the freeway onto an off ramp, there would be very fast shaking. As the vehicle slowed down, the shimmying would decrease in intensity.

Upon inspecting the brakes, I found a nearly seized caliper pin. I replaced that (for more information on that, check out this post on replacing a seized caliper pin). When I put everything back together, the problem was slightly better, but there was still a lot of vibration. That is when I decided to replace the rotors.

Materials used:

Tools required to replace brakes and rotors:

Okay, let’s get started.

Procedure to Replace Brakes and Rotors on a Toyota Corolla

The first step is to pry off the hubcap, jack up the car, and put a jack stand under there as well.

Remove the Wheel

Remove the lug nuts with the 13/16″ socket. If you have one, an impact wrench makes the job go faster.

You might have to give the wheel a kick to loosen it, then set the wheel aside.

If the wheel is rusted on, see this post for a method to get it off.

Inspect the Brakes

Now is a good time to inspect the condition of your brake pads, calipers, and brake lines. Make sure nothing is loose or leaking.

Remove the Caliper

Remove the two 14 mm bolts holding the caliper on.

Gently slide the brake caliper off of the pads.

Then hang it from the strut spring. Wire the caliper in place so that it does not accidentally fall down and break your brake line. Or ideally, get some caliper hooks.

Remove the Brake Pads

Remove the 2 brake pads, and set them aside. It is recommended to change brake pads when you change rotors.

If your are changing brake pads, check out this post for how to change front brake pads.

Remove the Caliper Bracket

Now, locate the two 17 mm bolts holding the bracket on, and remove them.

You might need to use a cheater bar, as these are torqued pretty tight.

Remove the caliper bracket and set it aside.

Now, clean off the hub, and spread some Anti-Seize on it, so that your rotor doesn’t rust on.

Here is a picture of the old and new rotors side by side.

Put on the New Rotor

Put a lug nut on to hold the rotor in place while you put the caliper bracket back on.

Put on the Caliper Bracket

Tighten the caliper bracket bolts to 79 ft-lbs using your torque wrench.

Install the Brake Pads

Gently slide the brake pads into the slots. Put a little bit of caliper grease on the slots, if there is not some there already.

Re-Install the Brake Caliper

Gently gently slide the brake caliper over the pads.

Insert the caliper bolts. Make sure that the caliper pins are turned to the proper orientation. There is a tab, that the caliper bolts must slide past. Make sure you are not tightening against the tab, as it can be bent and damage the caliper pin.

Then tighten the 2 caliper bolts to 25 ft-lbs.

Spread some anti seize lubricant on to the front face of the rotor. This will help to make sure that the wheel does not rust to the rotor.

The rotors are often shipped with a fine layer of oil on them. You want to remove this. Spray the new rotor with brake cleaner, to remove any contaminants.

Double check one last time that all of the bolts are tight, the brake line is not twisted, and that everything is sitting properly.

Put the Tire Back On

Tighten the lug nuts by hand. Then once they are finger tight, use a torque wrench to torque the lug nuts in a star pattern. The torque setting should be 76 ft-lbs.

Remove the jack stand and lower the vehicle.

Repeat for Other Side

Now repeat the same process for the other side of the vehicle.

I hope this was helpful to you!

Follow this link for more time and money-saving articles on Toyota Corolla maintenance!

Thanks for reading PracticalMechanic.com!

In case it is helpful, these are links to the materials I used for this repair:

Materials used:

Tools required to replace brakes and rotors:

If this article was helpful, sign up for our mailing list and get more direct to your inbox!