December 19

2006 Toyota Matrix, Brake Backing Plate Replacement



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And Vancouver's best auto service experience. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well

Mark: So we're going to talk about a Toyota Matrix. A Toyota, oh my God, Bernie, something went wrong with a Toyota? How can this be?

Bernie: Well, it happens.

Mark: What is going on with this Toyota?

Bernie: Um, well, this vehicle was ... the client brought his vehicle to our shop because he ... if he would drive it for a while, say, I think it was 60 kilometres an hour for 20 minutes, there was some noises that would develop at the rear of the vehicle, like either a wheel bearing or a brake or some kind of noise. So took it out for a very good, long road test, and brought it back to the shop and did some inspecting. What we found is the left rear brake calliper was sticking. Sometimes we have to take cars for very rather long road tests when people give us a description, it happens like this, the brakes are always shaking. You're driving, and there’s nothing really wrong with it, sometimes it takes a while to actually get things to occur. Anyway, in this case it was definitely the left rear brake calliper was sticking.

Mark: What was causing the brakes to stick?

Bernie: Basically moisture would just get into the brake calliper and sometimes it'll cause a piston to start sticking and seizing. It happens from time to time. Any brake calliper, they don't need to be replaced all the time, though I know there are some shops that seem to just do them every brake job, but really, in my opinion, that's overkill. But every ... depends on the car, but callipers after a while will stick and seize and need to be replaced. That was the issue with that. Now the other issue that we had was the brake backing plates were ... especially the left side, where it seized calliper, the backing plate was actually rusted off and disintegrated. So that's another issue that we had to deal with.

Mark: What's the purpose of the backing plate?

Bernie: Basically the backing plate just keeps dust and moisture from getting onto the back of the ... either if it's a drum brake, of course it's integral, you have to have a backing plate because it holds the shoes in place, but on a disc brake, the backing plate actually just keeps dust and dirt from getting on the brakes and you know, if you get too much water on the brakes, it'll cause the brakes to fade, or too much dust and dirt, it'll cause wear. So that's basically the purpose of the backing plate. I mean, if you removed it, not exactly the end of the earth. Some vehicles actually don't even have them. It depends. But most do.

Mark: And how often do you change backing plates?

Bernie: Not very often. We live in Vancouver; it's a pretty ... besides that it rains a lot, it's a pretty gentle climate on vehicles. We don't use a lot of road salts because we don't get a lot of snow here, but if you live in a snowier climate, where they use a lot of road salt, that's where things start to rust and rot. Backing plates are just basically just a very thin piece of metal. And they're out on the road, being exposed to salt and all that kind of thing, so they do tend to rust out. Interestingly enough, this actually is a vehicle that was in Ontario for a while where they use a lot of road salts, so that's why the backing plate had rotted out.

Mark: You have some photos?

Bernie: I do. Yeah, let's have a look at some. There's our '06 Toyota Matrix. Again, you know, it's 11 years old but in really good shape, and about ... I think it's around 200,000 kilometres, so the car still runs great. Just like you'd expect from a Toyota. On to the backing plates. So on the right is a brand new, from Toyota, backing plate, which wasn't actually a lot of money, it was a very well price the part. There is, it's left of the old one. The actual ... this vehicle has a parking brake as a shoe brake for the parking brake. It has disc brakes that do the regular braking, so they're separated. A lot of vehicles use a ... the rear brake calliper actually acts as a parking brake as well, so it makes the calliper more complicated, but you don't have the brake shoes. Anyway, so this backing plate comes complete with the ... this part here is still intact, where the parking brake should sit, because it's a very thick piece of metal. It takes a lot for this one to rust out, but the tin, that piece that sort of keeps the dust and dirt off the rotor was pretty much gone with the exception of this little piece here. And on the right-hand side, it was starting to break apart as well, so that's why we replaced it all.

Mark: So I know you speak very highly of Toyotas. You convinced me to buy one. Is there anything else about Toyotas long-term that someone would really need to pay attention to?

Bernie: Not really. You know, I think the key with Toyotas, a lot of times bad maintenance kills them. They're not perfect cars and they seem to keep getting better and better every year, like it seems like with almost all brands of cars, more reliable. But it just, again, the key is just proper maintenance. Regular oil changes, regular service, regular inspections. It'll keep the car going well. There's really nothing I can say about a Matrix that would ... other than good things. It's a good, reliable car.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Toyota Matrix or Toyota vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Book ahead; they're busy. Or check out their website, We have tons of information on there. Or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. You can see hundreds of videos on there from many years of cars and repairs. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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