TerryE

RX350 Breaking problem

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I own the 2010 RX350 and I have been having continuous problems with the breaking system for the past two years. The symptoms are vibration in the break pedal applying the break over 60 MPH especially down an incline. I have change rotors and pads multiple time, even the calipers on the front have been changed. I have also used multiple different brands of pads and rotors and each time the brakes will start vibrating around 4 000 miles or sooner. I have also been told by my mechanic that he has another lexus rx350 owner experiencing the same issues. I seems like the rotors are becoming warped quickly. I have also tried the drill cut rotors as these will cool better if it was heat causing the warping of the rotors. Those did the same as well.  This is a real pain for me, I hope someone is able to help.

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I also have a 2012 RX350 with braking problems. I bought the car at 75,000 miles with the note the the previous owners had a rear brake job at 60,000 miles. Now that I am at 100,000 I need another rear brake job. It was interesting to hear that you tried the drilled rotors with no success. I would be interested in other ideas to fix the root cause of the premature pad and rotor failures. 

 

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Several Toyota models (e.g. Highlander, Sienna) used the same brake system that the 2010-2015 Lexus RX used - rotors, pads, everything.

I don't remember about the RX but I do remember there being a service campaign that addressed brake disc warping and vibration on the generation 3 Sienna.  I have a 2014 Sienna but mine never developed the problems.  I did modify components under the vehicle that directed brake cooling airflow per the service bulletin "just in case". 

I've wondered why I've never had the problems reported by many others especially since my Sienna Limited is heavier than any Highlander or RX and likely stresses the brakes more.  One reason might be because I've paid extremely close attention to lug nut torque.  Uneven and/or over torquing lug nuts is a known common cause of brake rotor warping.  The correct lug nut torque on the RX, Highlander, Sienna and most other vehicles manufactured by Toyota is only 76 ft. lbs.  An air wrench should never be used to tighten these lug nuts and they should always be tightened with a manual torque wrench.

I've had both Lexus and Toyota dealers tighten lug nuts to over 200 ft. lbs. on too many occasions.  One service manager swore that his mechanics never used air wrenches on lug nuts but I then watched as one of his mechanics had to use an air wrench to remove the lug nuts that one of his mechanics had just over-tightened.  I've learned to always check lug nut torque with my own torque wrench after someone else messes with my wheels.  If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have been able to change a flat tire on one trip.

So ... my 2014 Sienna that has the same brake system as the 2012 RX and is on the original brake rotors and pads front and back at 94,xxx miles.  Based on the wear rate, I'll have the original front and rear pads replaced at the same time and the original rotors turned at a little over 110,000 miles when the pads will by then be worn down to the 1 mm minimum specification.  Yes, only 1 millimeter of pad thickness is the minimum specification for most Lexus and Toyota vehicles. 1 mm looks scary to the uninformed which is why so many people get scammed into premature brake work.  On Lexus vehicles that have electronic brake pad were sensors, the low pad warning in the instrument cluster starts when a brake pad is worn down to about 1.5 mm.

My recommendation is to buy a torque wrench if you don't already have one and check and re-torque lug nuts after each time someone removes and re-installs your wheels.

 

    

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Jim,

 

Thanks for your details insight into the RX350 braking wear problems. I took a look at my user manual and yes it does talk about 76 ft-#s of torque which is not a lot. 

I will take a look at the pads & rotors this time when I have my brakes done and note this going forward.

 

 

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Thanks for your response Jim. Once again i need to replace rotors and pad so i will be suggesting to mechanic to torque properly. Will let this audience know of the outcome.

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This must be a problem with Lexus as I've had the same problem on my 03' ES300. I bought it with 62,200 miles on it and they had just replaced the pads it said. At about 75k I started getting the wavering on the pedal when braking. I knew this must be a warped disc so I had them turned and replaced my pads. Problem solved. At about another 5k miles it started again. I performed the same with having the disc turned and replaced the pads again. Wavering stopped. Luckily I had purchased O'Rileys ceramic pads with Lifetime warranty and they replaced them free. At just under 100k it starts again. This time I replaced the rotors with O'Riley rotors and new pads. I wanted Wagner rotors but they were unavailable for a week and I needed the car. The O'Riley rotors and ceramic pads worked great though. There was no more rotor warping taking place. They are still installed and I just replaced my pads at 165k miles again with the Lifetime warranty. They were about 75% wore down and required replacing. They had almost 70k miles on them. I'm convinced it was the Lexus rotors being faulty.  I just purchased a 2013 RX350 with 60k miles. I'll see how it holds up.  

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Another common issue with some cars is uneven brake pad deposits on the rotor, due to hot spots. This has nothing to do with warping of the rotors. I experienced this with my 2001 Corvette. After the dealership turned the rotors at 16,000 miles everything was fine until 32,000 miles. At that point I bought high quality cryogenically hardened and slotted rotors. The problem never came back, even after 22,000 miles of hard use.

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On 9/14/2020 at 8:21 AM, Mr CB said:

This must be a problem with Lexus as I've had the same problem on my 03' ES300. I bought it with 62,200 miles on it and they had just replaced the pads it said. At about 75k I started getting the wavering on the pedal when braking. I knew this must be a warped disc so I had them turned and replaced my pads. Problem solved. At about another 5k miles it started again. I performed the same with having the disc turned and replaced the pads again. Wavering stopped. Luckily I had purchased O'Rileys ceramic pads with Lifetime warranty and they replaced them free. At just under 100k it starts again. This time I replaced the rotors with O'Riley rotors and new pads. I wanted Wagner rotors since I had used them in my younger racing days but they were unavailable for a week and I needed the car. The O'Riley rotors and ceramic pads worked great though. There was no more rotor warping taking place. They are still installed and I just replaced my pads at 165k miles again with the Lifetime warranty. They were about 75% wore down and required replacing. They had almost 70k miles on them. I'm convinced it was the Lexus rotors being faulty.  I just purchased a 2013 RX350 with 60k miles. I'll see how it holds up.  NOTE: It's not that I support or suggest using non-Lexus parts as replacement. At the time that was what I could afford. Lexus was 20 miles away and the Toyota dealer was going to be 2 days to get me parts that were more expensive.

 

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