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So my Tundra is gonna be due for brakes pretty soon and a service guy at my local Durango, CO Toyota dealership said I only needed new pads since the rotors looked fine. I started doing som price research as Toyota wants to charge me around $300. A few local places quoted me $250 which I guess is reasonable but upon calling a Grease Monkey location, as I have a coupon for them, the dude on the phone told me that the new “brake standard” is to always replace pads and rotors even if the rotors are able to be re-lathed. He didn’t recommend relating rotors ever. Has anyone else heard that? Replacing just the pads is a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing rotors too! I want to do what’s best for my truck while being mindful of how much I’m spending and hopefully not being taken advantage because I’m a woman. Thoughts on just replacing pads?

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I never turn rotors and I always replace them when I change pads.

Turning rotors makes them thinner, which makes them warp.

Also the surface finish on a used rotor is not ideal at all for new pads. They are smoother than they should be due to glazing. They typically have grooves worn in them (even if they are really small). Both of which will cause the new pads to not bed properly and will lead to poor braking and less pad life than new rotors.

I would also stick with a good quality aftermarket rotors and pads. Stay away from part store junk. I’m a big fan of powerstop. You get a lot for your money. Pads and rotors for all 4 wheels are around $400. There are other options at higher price points as well.


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just did my first brake job on my truck 2014 with 45,000 miles...rear pads were worn more than the front ones....and the rotors were rusted too bad to keep... replaced everything with bosch
 

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Look at the rotor. Lots of variables - climate, salt, towing history, etc - if the rotors look serviceable (I.e. no warping, no lip, no unreasonable corrosion) - at 45k it’s not unreasonable to do just the pads.


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I learned from my 4Runner if you turn the rotors they will soon warp and pulsate.
I ended up replacing rotors with the pads.
 

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So my Tundra is gonna be due for brakes pretty soon and a service guy at my local Durango, CO Toyota dealership said I only needed new pads since the rotors looked fine. I started doing som price research as Toyota wants to charge me around $300. A few local places quoted me $250 which I guess is reasonable but upon calling a Grease Monkey location, as I have a coupon for them, the dude on the phone told me that the new “brake standard” is to always replace pads and rotors even if the rotors are able to be re-lathed. He didn’t recommend relating rotors ever. Has anyone else heard that? Replacing just the pads is a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing rotors too! I want to do what’s best for my truck while being mindful of how much I’m spending and hopefully not being taken advantage because I’m a woman. Thoughts on just replacing pads?

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Dont let them fool you into buying things you dont need. Pads are meant to wear and be changed. As for the rotors, you will know when they need to go. The waves cause by warping will push back on your pads/calipers as the brakes are applied generating a "pulsing" sensation. I took my Tundra in for brake pads and they recommended resurfacing the rotors so I had them do it. I drive a lot (from CA to VA and back), on my first trip after new pads and rotors resurfaced my brakes pulsed and steering wheel shook when stopping. Plus there was excessive amounts of brake dust on my rims. The resurfacing warped my rotors and they were eating away at my pads. I ended up getting StopTech Slotted Cryo rotors and new pads after 3k miles and changed them myself. 15K+ miles so far with zero issues.
 

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Dont let them fool you into buying things you dont need. Pads are meant to wear and be changed. As for the rotors, you will know when they need to go. The waves cause by warping will push back on your pads and calipers as the brakes are applied generating a "pulsing" sensation. I took my Tundra in for brake pads and they recommended resurfacing the rotors so I had them do it. I drive a lot (from CA to VA and back) and on my first trip after new pads and resurfacing my brakes pulsed and steering wheel shook when stopping. Plus there was excessive amounts of brake dust on my rims. Resurfacing warped my rotors and they were eating away at my pads. I ended up getting StopTech Slotted Cryo rotors and news pads after 3k miles and changed them myself. 15K+ miles so far with zero issues.


Dang, good to know. Thank you! I might as well replace the rotors after reading everyone’s responses.


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While for cars with small rotors, it seems worth to change. Tundra are bigger and beefier. Turning the rotor will not make braking less. They don't take much off. When they get too thin they won't turn them. Worrying about rust is a no brainer. If you live where they rust they will. When it is excessive it is time to replace, don't need advice on that.
 

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I suppose it is a personal choice. I never have rotors turned these days. If the rotors are in good shape I simply slip in new pads. If there is any pulsing or bad scarring on the rotors I replace them. They are not that expensive.

If you are paying a dealer to do the work then parts will be at full retail and labor is expensive. On the other hand, if you go to a chain repair shop or discount place you are likely going to get very inferior parts and need to do the job again in a short time. Cheap rotors seem to warp very quickly.
 

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I would say you'll be just fine replacing the pads as long as the previous pads didn't experience pulsing or vibrations and the rotors feels smooth when you check the pads. Install is easy. Takes more time to jack up the truck and remove the tires than change the pads.
 

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How many miles on your Tundra? Were the brakes pulsating or making noise?

Replacing rotors is not mandatory unless worn down past spec, toasted, warped or grooved.

I think they do it to have fewer issues, and make more $. It is probably faster and you don't need a lathe or skilled operator to run the lathe.
 

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If the rotors are warped too badly they need to be replaced. If they are OK then there is nothing to gain by replacing them. A possible problem arises when people use aftermarket long wearing pads as they cause excessive wear of the rotors. I stick with the standard pads as they are easy and cheap to replace.

The pads cost around $50 so a "brake job" with front disc pad replacement should be less than $300.

With my first Chevy truck the rotors needed to be replaced at 28,000 miles. I used aftermarket rotors and put another 150,000 miles on the truck and never needed new pads or rotors during that time.
 

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Rotors

I usually do brakes on my own vehicles myself, occasionally having my indie repair shop do them with good quality parts.

If your brakes have been working well, the rotors will have a slight lip at the very edge, and almost certainly some shallow circumferential grooves. At 45K miles, if the grooves are deep, or if there are bands of rust near the edges of the pad contact area, change the rotors. You need to check both sides of each rotor, but checking the back surface is almost impossible with wheels on the vehicle. If one rotor is bad, replace both!. I've had rotors resurfaced twice on two different vehicles, and regretted it both times when they warped within a couple of thousand miles.

I had a 2000 Durango before my 2011 Tundra, and tried slotted rotors on that. They warped within a few thousand miles, the slots obviously create lines of weakness in the rotors.

Parts quality at chain brake shops is very questionable. Again on the Durango, I knew I would be doing pads/rotors all around within a few months when a caliper seized. I had little choice but to limp to a nearby chain brake shop and told them that while they were doing the caliper they might as well do the whole job. Big mistake. The rotors rusted and pitted badly, and within a year I did a complete brake job myself.
 

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In reading this, I imagine you feel you can’t do this yourself but you can! YouTube is your friend. if if you still feel you can’t, this is one of those friend or neighbors should help you situations. I wish you were closer and I would do it for you, but honestly, I feel like brake jobs are just as predatory as the jiffy lube guy trying to talk you into an air filter or wiper blades!
 

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I absolutely agree with these guys. I have had my Tundra since new(2008) and I learned the hard way as well. I highly recommend replacing both, your just better off.
 
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