How to Change the Rotors on a Toyota Avalon

A repair shop or Toyota dealership will charge about $100 per hour to change your Avalon’s rotors. Even though changing one rotor takes about 15 or 20 minutes, the shop will still charge you a minimum of an hour’s worth of labor. Pair that with a 30% markup on the replacement rotors, and you’re looking at about $180-$450, depending on how many rotors need to be replaced.

The cost of replacing your rotors doesn’t have to be that high. You can do it at home for less than $100 per rotor. Here’s how.

1. Order OEM Replacement Rotors Online

OEM Toyo rotor

There are two different ways to get genuine OEM replacement rotors:

  1. Walk into a Toyota dealership and buy them.
  2. Order from a reputable online OEM Toyota parts seller

If you want to save money, order your replacement rotors online. It’s because dealerships charge a hefty markup on their parts (usually about 30%). You can order the exact same OEM parts online for much cheaper because a few online OEM parts shops sell their parts at discounted prices.

For example, you can get part number 43512-06150 (a rotor for 2009-2018 Avalons, Camrys, and Matrixes) for under $60 at our online genuine OEM Toyota parts shop. This exact part goes for nearly $80 at dealerships.

Part number 43512-08040 (a rotor for 2004-2010 Avalons, Camrys, Siennas, and Solaras) is available for $65 on our website. This is at least $20 cheaper than the price you’d find at a dealer or shop for the exact same part.

To find out how much you can save by ordering rotors from us, look up your Toyota model in our catalog.

Once you have your OEM replacement rotor(s), take the rest of the steps:

2. Remove Half of the Brake Fluid From the Master Cylinder Reservoir

You have to do this so you can properly restore the hydraulic pressure in the compressed caliper pistons later on. Removing half of the brake fluid is pretty easy. Just open up the master cylinder reservoir and then use a turkey baster to suck out half of the brake fluid. Be sure to dispose of the fluid properly. You cannot reuse it.

3. Lift Your Avalon

Be sure to lift it safely on a flat surface. You can use jack stands or any other type of lift that takes all the weight off of your tires.

4. Remove the Tire and Wheel

You can do this with a lug nut gun or a tire wrench tool. The standard socket size is 19mm. If the lug nuts are corroded, apply some rust penetrant to them.

5. Compress the Caliper Piston

Gently wedge a pry bar between the brake pad and the rotor. Carefully compress the piston until it bottoms out.

6. Remove the Caliper

First, you need to remove the caliper bridge bolts. Once you have the bolts off, remove the caliper. You may need to wriggle it loose.

7. Remove the Rotor

Rotor avalon

Image Credit: NutzAboutBolts

You can use a Toyota rotor removal tool to make this task easier. The Toyota rotor removal bolt size varies between years, but the standard size is 14mm. If you don’t have one and if you have a hard time getting the rotor off the hub, you can hit the rotor with a rubber mallet inward and outward to break it free. Be sure to wear safety glasses!

8. Prepare the New Rotor

If you’re replacing more than one rotor, you can prepare them all at once. The new rotor has a protective coat of oil, and you need to clean it off. If you leave the oil on, the brake pads won’t grip the rotor as well.

To clean the rotor, spray both sides and inside the hubs liberally with brake cleaner and then thoroughly wipe dry with a shop rag.

9. Install the New Rotor

Basically:

  1. Place the new rotor on the wheel hub.
  2. Bolt the caliper and bridge back in place.
  3. Put the tire and wheel back on.

10. Repeat With Other Rotors if Necessary

It’s okay to replace just one rotor while leaving all the others alone if they are in good condition. However, most people prefer to replace rotors in pairs to ensure even braking. Also, you should always replace pads in pairs to ensure even wear and performance.

11. Pump Your Brakes

Lower your Avalon to the ground. Get into your car and then pump the brake pedal. This restores the hydraulic pressure in the caliper pistons you had compressed earlier. Be sure to replenish the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir with the appropriate brake fluid for your car. Be careful to do this step slowly and add fluid before the reservoir gets too low. If the reservoir gets completely empty, you will have sucked air into the brake lines. This doesn't cause any harm, but you will then have to bleed the brakes.

12. Test Your Brakes

Take your Avalon for a test drive around the neighborhood. Tap, hit, and slam on your brakes to see if they respond well under a variety of pressure. Try to do this when there aren't many cars around.

That’s all you need to do! The whole process takes about an hour or two, depending on your skills and experience. Contact us if you have any questions about replacing your rotor or ordering an OEM rotor for your Avalon.

Written by Jason Lancaster