As the only independent, Toyota-specific specialist in the Minneapolis area, CARspec gets calls frequently from people cross-shopping the Toyota dealership’s price when it comes to brakes. Often there is confusion on the price differences between the parts some Toyota dealerships use vs. those that CARspec prefers. This blog will explain the difference.
Toyota offers two lines of replacement brake pads and shims: Toyota Factory Replacement brake components and Toyota Complete Maintenance Care (TCMC) components.
Toyota Factory Replacement brake pads, shims, and fitment kits are the same parts that come installed on your vehicle when it is new. They are the highest quality brake pads, shims, and fitment kits available for your Toyota and are the only components that are used when performing brake repairs under your factory warranty. These brake pads, shims, and fitment kits are sold separately from one another with unique part numbers. They are subject to frequent revision as Toyota improves the quality of the part.
Toyota Complete Maintenance Care (TCMC) brake pads and shims are the replacement parts for Toyota Factory Replacement brake components when they have reached the end of their service life. These are offered at a lower price point and are sold as a set – brake pads and shims together – as a competitor to aftermarket brake pads. They are generally held to be the economy line of Toyota brake components.
CARspec does not install Toyota Complete Maintenance Care brake pads or shims. Due to overwhelming issues with noise, excessive brake rotor wear, abnormal rotor wear, brake dust and poor fitment, we don’t use TCMC parts.
Here’s an overview of some of the differences in the quality between the two part lines, starting with the brake pads. Pictured are brake pads and shims for a 2007 Toyota Highlander’s front brakes:
Above is the Toyota Factory Replacement example pad. Below is the TCMC version.
While the fitment is similar, the coating on the back of the TCMC pads (on the ears of the pads in this photo in particular) make installation a challenge. You can see inconsistencies in the coating on the TCMC pad by comparing the left side to the right – the coating is thicker on the right by a wide margin. This can lead to a pad that is more likely to stick in the mounting bracket’s fitment kit and lead to premature wear.
Below the differences are highlighted between the Factory Replacement and TCMC shim kits:
The above is the Factory Replacement shim, shown inside and out, with the included squeaker. The inner Teflon coating keeps the pad quiet with the outer metallic backing protects the shim and keeps it secured (with outer and inner securing tabs). Compare this to the TCMC shim included with the pad kit:
The TCMC shim for this brake kit doesn’t include the squeaker nor the coverage of the Factory Replacement shims, nor have all the securing tabs. We often see these lower quality shims falling apart well before the pads require service due to wear.
The above are small differences in apparent quality that add up to a big difference – Toyota Factory Replacement brake parts almost never have issues over their service life, while TCMC pads almost always do.
TCMC are at the heart of a dealership’s $99 brake special – lower quality pads without the replacement of the fitment kit (which CARspec always replaces) and also without resurfacing of the rotors (which CARspec always does if they are serviceable, otherwise recommending rotor replacement). While you may be saving money in the short run, failing to replace your brakes correctly the first time inevitably leads to more expensive, repeated repairs down the road.
As Minneapolis’s independent Toyota and Lexus repair specialist we stock the majority of late model Toyota and Lexus Factory Replacement brake parts. If you have brake concerns or would like an estimate on Toyota Factory Replacement brake services give us a call at (952)426-4798 today!