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Pads & Disc Change: Some Thoughts

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I have recently tackled the above on our Aygo, and I have to express my dis-satisfaction at the overall condition of the discs after around 3.5 years of ownership and 30K driven miles. However, it's always nice to read a 'How To' before tackling any job andI would like to thank Adilmons for posting his thread.

In the time we have owned our Aygo, it appears these cars fall into a number of different categories: those that will eat front tyres (and those that do not); those that will eat brakes (while again there are those that do not). Ours appears to be one that is quite partial to both tyres and brakes!

I don't think I have ever owned a vehicle where after 30K miles the discs have needed replacing. I tend to get around 25K miles on pads, with discs changed around 50K miles - so a 2:1 (pads:disc) ratio is what I would expect. The Aygo is not a heavy car not is the power-to-wieght ratio such that it would unduly worry me, but I was nevertheless shocked that our Aygo needed pads and discs so early into its life, but having replaced both and noted the pronounced lipping (on the discs) and the corrosion on the discs themselves, I must profess at being disappointed by the overall quality of the components. Let me be clear, I have never had any issues with the 'bite' of the brakes, just that they appear to be made out of butter and toast.

The discs appear to be made by Bosch and the pads by Jurid - both companies that I would class as reliable and eminently trustworthy having used their braking products on my other vehicles previously. I did toy with the idea of getting something aftermarket, either as a soft upgrade or OE (like from ECP) - but in the end I was able to source genuine parts for £75 from eBay, I opted to stay with genuine parts.

I hope this set lasts longer, but at the end of the day, to replace brakes @ 30K for £75 won't break the bank; but for me this is not the point. It appears to be quite symptomatic of the 'soft' alloys/metals Toyota insist on using throughout their production that just don't seem to be suited to use and environment we have. I do wonder what condition the discs would have been in, say another 20K miles, if I had not opted to change them now, a decision pre-emptively taken in light of their condition and lipping.

I would urge fellow Owners to check their brakes and if you have any doubt on the discs, then to change them.

Overall, thanks to scrappage our Aygo has been a pleasure to own; it's been faultless mechanically and needed only serviceable items as per schedule (the 5YR service pack helps!); but little things (like tyres and brakes) have really soured the ownership experience. Overall this is has been our first Toyota and most probably our last. We will keep it most certainly till its 5 years old, but then decide what to do - but I suspect it will still be going (strong) and make any decision on disposal difficult ;o)

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The discs appear to be made by Bosch and the pads by Jurid - both companies that I would class as reliable and eminently trustworthy having used their braking products on my other vehicles previously.

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Overall this is has been our first Toyota and most probably our last.

Regardless of 'make' the discs and pads will be made to the Toyota/Peugot/Citroen spec for the Aygo/107/C1 and as a budget car they will likely be fairly soft to give decent braking using small/light parts and minimum power assistance - to keep weight and costs low. 'Consumable' discs seem to be getting more common - we had a Honda Civic before which needed new front discs at about 20k and the backs by 30k, though I was at least pleasantly surprised at the size of the bill from the Honda dealer each time. It wasn't small, but it was only about half what I was expecting.

In a similar vein I don't actually class the Aygo as a 'real' Toyota and like you I will almost certainly sell it at about 5 years, when the warranty expires (and other things in our lives will have changed then, so maybe we can rethink our transport strategy :) ).

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My discs where showing lipping at about 45k miles, Toyota advised me changing them at my 50k mile service as they where under the 'manufacturers advised limit'

I found out from a friend mechanic that the advised limit was quite a way off from the legal limit (what would fail an MOT) all felt fine so I carried on to 60k and then changed them at the same time as the service. Toyota advised they where not illegal but they where low.

I guess it all depends on how you drive and your preference on how low you like to run things..

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I found out from a friend mechanic that the advised limit was quite a way off from the legal limit (what would fail an MOT) all felt fine so I carried on to 60k and then changed...

Not sure I trust the Government mandated legal limits when it comes to safety critical parts like brakes and tyres!

But this job is done on my Aygo and hopefully won't need doing for another 30K miles ;o)

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There is no legal limit regarding brake pad or disc thickness or wear. If there was it would be clearly outlined in the VOSA test rules. Braking efficiency is only tested. I have seen brakes pass the MOT but I wouldn't drive to the end of my driveway with them.

Most brake manufacturuers will state a wear limit on both items - this is to ensure the best efficiency. As the pads and discs wear their ability to disapate heat reduces greatly whereas the brake may feel firm but will have reduced breaking ability at high speeds. The MOT brake test does not measure this high speed or heat disapation apsect.

From my contacts in the motor trade it is well accepted many manufacturers are now fitting poor quality brake discs. For example my wife has a 2001 Honda Civic and its original discs are in exceptional order - yet I have heard of simlar sized modern Hondas need new discs around every 20 ot 40K.

That's what you get when you let the bean counters decide what goes into a new car.

It also wise to remember that major brake manufacturers can manufacture parts to a cost and minimum quality yet still be safe for use. A long service life is not necessarily on their list of priorities.

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The front discs and pads were changed on ours on it's 5th birthday at about 16,000 miles. Lack of use had caused them to deteriorate and this was made worse by the fact the Aygo has vented discs - absolutely no need on such a low powered car.

This results in the doubling of the surface area for rust to form as water collects on the inside of the vents - the fins on the vents were falling apart due to rust build up. That said £100 fitted every five years won't break the bank.

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My wife's 2007 Black needed new discs and pads at the MOT due to "excessive shudder" detected on their machine. They were less than a year old as i replaced them as a precaution when buying the car and showed minimal visual wear and no apparent shudder when braking. So, the 3rd set of pads and discs on a 22,000 mile car!

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Brake wear is also a matter of driving habbits. I like to slow down by changing down gear and letting the engine brake for you as opposed to braking heavy at the last moment. I replaced the discs and pads on my old car and had it over ten years without needing and replacements. Same went for the clutch.

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To an extent, I agree that brake wear can be down to driving style; but given the anecdotal evidence I have (through my experience) and suggest from others who have contributed, the 'soft brake materials' at the heart of the issue are more prominent than other factors, such as driving style.

The Aygo is not a heavy car nor is it biased in power or weight ratios to one extreme or another. The brakes are soft and unduly so IMHO, so I don't buy that argument in this type of car.

I have never owned a car where the discs have worn at the same rate as the pads and this is unacceptable. But the small cost to replace offsets this, but again, that is not the point. In typical of Toyota, they chose not to acknowledge that they have a bias towards soft metals in their vehicles.

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In typical of Toyota, they chose not to acknowledge that they have a bias towards soft metals in their vehicles.

That's a sweeping statement. The Aygo is a joint effort with Peugot and Citroen (107 & C1) so the 'quality' of materials is presumably a joint effort for these vehicles and may not be representative of other Toyotas. Also, as noted above some Honda Civics appear to be similar, so it may be a general trend by all manufacturers. Maybe there is a legal requirement about the proportion of braking to be available if the power assistance fails - that would mandate more frictional (softer) materials.

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Don't think my comment is off the mark at all; for example Lexus alloy wheels are known for their easy corrosion. Yet other manufacturers manage to produce alloy wheels that do not corrode as easily as theirs and disappointingly, it remains a matter of concern for owners even today. Lexus alloys also appear to suffer from pitting (as a result of brake dust) than most other brands - the reason oft cited is the soft metal used by them.

It would appear that this thinking pervades into brake components and I cannot see how a 60-BHP vehicle can be so heavy on brakes that in 30K miles it needed pads and discs replacing; it simply does not have the power or weight behind it.

I am not sure it's possible to hide behind the shortcomings I have come across and to attribute them to the other partners in the Aygo venture when the transmission and mechanicals are attributed to Toyota. Again, to change pads and discs is an easy DIY job and cost me only £75 for genuine parts, but this experience of Toyota will be my last.

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However, to counter any accusation of bias, I will add that the Aygo has been pretty much faultless during our ownership. It has proved utterly reliable and fun to drive. It has performed every task asked of it without a grumble and has only been to the Dealership for routine mandated servicings. My ownership experience has been soured by the high costs of consumables (mentioned in previous posts) that appear to warrant replacement all too quickly: although components seem to cost half as much for other vehicles, they wear twice as quickly.

I am not anti-Toyota, just don't think the way they manufacture their vehicles is for me and, at 5 years when we move on our Aygo, it will be our last [Toyota]. I know our Aygo will still be running faultlessly when we move it on and, from a purely reliability aspect, it will be tough to let it go knowing its running so reliably; but no doubt the cost of replacing the necessary consumables will be the factor that will mitigate the pang of regret of selling it on.

EDIT: if anyone is interested in why 5 years, that's because we have a 5YR Toyota GB service pack and you can extend the Toyota Warranty only up to 5 years (ours was bought as part of scrappage and in those days Toyota provided a 3YR/60K mile warranty). Being an MMT, I'm not sure I want to run it without the benefit of a Toyota Warranty!

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This topic has now set me a challenge. As a result i intend to monitor my brake wear on a yearly basis and see what happens. Lets see if i can make them last as long as my old car.

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We've had our Aygo (it's my wife's really) 6 months now. I persuaded her that Toyotas were great as I've had a Prius for 3 years and an Avensis before that with no problems at all. So I've got to say we're disappointed with some aspects of it, and brakes/discs is one of the disappointments. We bought it 3 years old from a dealer with 35,000 miles on the clock and I was surprised that the dealer had to change the discs/pads at that mileage. The brakes though are really keen and it is hard work not to do an emergency stop every time you brake! The pads perhaps are softer as the front wheels seem to get black with dust very quickly. Quality seems dubious on some bits - the chrome on the key locks have discoloured, as have the wheel nuts (I bought some covers which are very good), the body panels dent if you look at them too hard and the back exhaust box dropped off, just sheared, no corrosion. I don't care if it's a joint venture with other manufacturers - if it has a Toyota Badge on it it should be !Removed! good! Overall though it's good to drive, reliable and economical, so we'll stick with it and see how it goes.

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