Lexus’s IS350 is the more performance oriented version of the IS250, offering a more power and better stopping performance by borrowing the drivetrain and brakes from the larger GS350.  With the increased brake performance comes a likelihood of noise and some additional service requirements.  CARspec had a 2006 IS350 in the shop today for new front brakes, the owner interested in both reducing the noise and dust from the brakes while maintaining the fit, feel and performance of OEM brake components.

The IS350’s front brakes are takeoffs from the larger GS350, featuring larger monobloc calipers, larger rotors and a higher performance threshold than that of the regular IS250.  They also are noisy and dusty – REALLY noisy and dusty.  To combat this Lexus offers alternate repair/replacement pads, shims and rotors to combat noise and (to a lesser extent) brake dust.

IS350 old vs. new front brake pads

Assembling IS350 front brake pads using the alternate pads and shims

Normal IS350 replacement brake pads are black, part number 04465-30500.  They are the normal replacement pads you’d buy if you went to your local dealer and asked for IS350 pads.  They provide great stopping power but are prone to noise and excessive dust.  What’s an owner to do?  Order replacement part 04465-30450!  Blue in color, they are specifically designed (with shim kit 04945-30330) to reduce the low speed, light braking noise IS350/GS350 owners have grown to hate.  The pads and shims assembly like the originals.  They also have the bonus of being less dusty!  As seen above, CARspec uses Lexus’s white lithium grease in addition to the alternate pads and shims to help combat noise (the old, worn out noisy/dusty black pads and shims above, the new alternate pads and shims below).

CARspec recommends the rotors be serviced (if thick enough) with every brake replacement.  The soft metal used in the OEM rotors can wear and groove, taking multiple machining passes to correct.  Here’s a rotor after two passes on the resurfacer, still showing some of it’s wear:

IS350 rotor after 2 passes

An IS350 rotor after 2 passes on the resurfacer, showing the wear the brakes can suffer

Using the alternate parts, CARspec was able to return the vehicle to service making less noise and dust, using only a little bit of insider knowledge your average auto mechanic may not be aware of.  As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus specialist we’re happy to help the IS350 or GS350 owner get the most performance without sacrificing comfort.