Top 5 Best Brake Pads for a Toyota Tacoma (2021 Review)

Your Toyota Tacoma is the most versatile truck on the road.

In one day you could drive in traffic, help a friend move, tow a boat, then throw a snowboard in the back and spin your tires up a snow capped mountain.

With all that adventuring, how will you have time to research the best brake pads for your Toyota Tacoma?

Don’t even worry about it, because I know the brake pads that perform well in all conditions, just like your truck. Let’s get started!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Features to look for in a brake pad
  • How to pick the right brake pad for your driving style
  • How towing affects your brakes
  • And much more!

Not sure if you need new brakes? Toyota Tacomas have common signs of worn brakes, like squealing brake noises, or a soft pedal. Brush up on more symptoms to watch for if you’re unsure!

Below is a quick list of my favorite brake pads for a Toyota Tacoma. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose the best brake pads for your Toyota Tacoma.

Toyota TRD Brake Pads
  • Genuine Toyota quality
  • Ceramic-Polymer high friction construction
  • Slotted for driveability
  • Genuine Toyota quality
  • Ceramic-Polymer high friction construction
  • Slotted for driveability
View on Amazon
EBC Brakes DP41657R ‘Yellowstuff’
  • Unmatched stopping power
  • Ideal for heavy trailers and big tires
  • Unmatched stopping power
  • Ideal for heavy trailers and big tires
View on Amazon
Genuine Toyota OEM Replacement
  • High quality ceramic material
  • Superb longevity
  • Slots reduce brake heat and noise
  • High quality ceramic material
  • Superb longevity
  • Slots reduce brake heat and noise
View on Amazon
Bosch BC976 QuietCast
  • Moderately increased stopping power
  • Most affordable option
  • Slots and rubber shims eliminate noise and vibration
  • Moderately increased stopping power
  • Most affordable option
  • Slots and rubber shims eliminate noise and vibration
View on Amazon
Hawk Performance LTS
  • Carbon based semi-metallic formula
  • High temperature performance
  • Fade resistant construction
  • Carbon based semi-metallic formula
  • High temperature performance
  • Fade resistant construction
View on Amazon

Our Overall Top #1 Pick: Toyota TRD Brake Pads

TRD (short for Toyota Racing Development) is the in-house tuning shop that Toyota started to make high performance upgrades for their cars and trucks, equipped with all the resources to make performance upgrades for your Toyota without sacrificing quality and reliability.

TRD brake pads have exceptional performance as balanced as the Toyota Tacoma itself, so your brakes will keep up no matter how you’re driving your truck. Towing a trailer has many challenges for drivers, including the need for brakes with extra bite for all that added weight; TRD has you covered with a synthetic polymer embedded ceramic for exceptional friction and heat reduction in all temperatures and terrains.

Maybe you’re slinging snow on a mountain trail, TRD’s got your back with optimal performance in a wide range of temperatures. The weekend won’t last forever, but with TRD brake pads your Monday morning commute will be quiet and smooth thanks to the slotted surface which reduces pesky noise and vibrations.

With chambers and slots in the pad surface, TRD’s brake pad reduces brake noise and vibrations for the high quality, balanced performance that a Toyota Tacoma needs.

Top 5 Best Brake Pads for a Toyota Tacoma

In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these brake pads.

  1. Toyota TRD Brake Pads (Our Top Pick)
  2. EBC Brakes DP41657R ‘Yellowstuff’ (Best High-End)
  3. Genuine Toyota OEM Replacement (Runner Up)
  4. Bosch BC976 QuietCast
  5. Hawk Performance LTS

Why do you need a high quality brake pads for a Toyota Tacoma?

Your Toyota Tacoma does it all. It’s a truck that gets the job done, no matter what the job is.

And that’s why you can’t settle for a cheap brake pad that kinda gets some jobs almost done.

When you’re off roading, you need brakes that stop big tires on a dime. 

If you’re towing or hauling cargo, your brakes need exceptional heat resistance to safely stop all at extra weight.

And when you’re trying to stay calm in traffic, the last thing you want is a brake pad that’s noisy, shaky, or too sensitive.

Your Toyota Tacoma deserves high quality brake pads that are as versatile and functional as the truck.

Take your Toyota Tacoma brake know-how to the next level with this How To video for brake pad replacement! It’s easier than you think.

How to Pick the Best Brake Pads for a Toyota Tacoma?

Because the Toyota Tacoma is so widely functional, capable of doing many different tasks, the best brake pad will be one that’s well balanced, and able to perform no matter what you throw at it.

Finding a balanced brake pad comes down to three things: increased stopping power, minimal brake noise, and longevity of pads. To determine if a brake pad will meet these requirements for us, let’s look at the brake pad features we’ll want.

Friction: How much Friction do I need?

Simply put, a brake pad’s friction is what brings your truck to a stop. The brake rotor, attached to the wheel, spins freely as you drive. When you push the brake pedal, the brakes pads pinch both sides of the rotor and the friction of the pad forces your wheels to slow down.

The measurement of the brake pad’s friction is called the coefficient friction, and it’s printed on the side of all street-legal brake pads. The higher your pad’s friction, the faster it stops.

If the friction is too high, your Toyota Tacoma will wear out the pads and rotor much quicker, create noise while braking, and overheat the brakes.

Remember, you use your Toyota Tacoma for everything, and you need a balanced brake pad that can do it all. 

Slots: Should I look for Slotted Brake Pads?

Absolutely! Slots are an excellent feature for brake pads on a Toyota Tacoma. The vertical channel allows trapped heat to escape, which means less chance of brake fade while off roading or pulling a trailer, and it reduces noise and vibrations while braking.

Material: Which brake pad Material is best?

Brake pads can come in a few different materials, all with different pros and cons:

  • Organic
  • Semi-metallic
  • Ceramic

To get the balance and functionality we want for a Toyota Tacoma, the brake pad material works best is…

Ceramic. Here’s why:

Organic brake pads are typically what comes on a midsize sedan from the factory.  The reason for that is because they’re incredibly cheap to make. While a small family car will stop fine with organic brake pads, they don’t offer nearly enough ‘umph’ for what our bigger, bulkier Toyota Tacoma needs.

Semi-metallic pads have nearly the opposite problem: they have so much stopping power that they shred through expensive brake components like butter at a biscuit party. Semi-metallic pads are great for performance cars that aren’t driven often, but they’re too imbalanced for a truck that can drive everywhere and anywhere.

Ceramic pads are the perfect choice for a Toyota Tacoma because of their versatile performance. They increase our friction coefficient, they’re quiet, and they last a long time. Their only drawback is that they’re more expensive to manufacture, but the performance and longevity more than makes up for that difference.

Our Reviews of the Best Brake Pads for a Toyota Tacoma

1. Toyota TRD Brake Pads

Designed and manufactured by Toyota’s Racing Development team, TRD brake pads have an excellent balance between performance and driveability that a Toyota Tacoma needs.

If you’re towing or hauling cargo, TRD pads have the extra bite to stop your truck quick. If you’re more into off roading, they have enough friction for big tires. If you drive your Tacoma through the city to work, you’ll never get annoyed by squealing brakes or vibrations.

PROS (+) CONS (-)
+ Ceramic-Polymer high friction
+ Genuine Toyota engineering
+ Balanced performance and drivability
– Pads wear quicker than other options

2. EBC Brakes DP41657R ‘Yellowstuff’

If your Toyota Tacoma is more of a “rig,” with big tires that you spin on muddy trails, and you’ve got a little more coin to spend, you will not be disappointed by the unmatched braking performance from EBC’s ‘Yellowstuff’ pads.

Their very high friction ceramic allows unparalleled stopping times, and the slots makes these pads plenty drive-able in traffic.

The zero fade formula allows the kind of repeated hard braking you need to do off road, and their “Brake-In” coating does a great job conditioning your brake pads to perform right from the box.  

The only drawback is that they do wear more quickly than a lower performance pad, so this option is best suited for someone who doesn’t rack up miles on their Toyota Tacoma.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+More stopping power than any other option
+ Ideal for towing and use with heavy duty tires
+ Slotted face for reduced noise
+ ECE R90 spec guarantees to meet or exceed OE performance
– High friction will wear more quickly
– Generates more brake dust than factory pads

3. Genuine Toyota OEM Replacement

Toyota is famous for their high quality construction and reliability, and the original Toyota Tacoma brake pads are no exception. 

Made from a high quality ceramic, they offer good stopping power, and incredible life span–it’s not uncommon for drivers to get 70k miles before needing replacement!

The slotted face also makes them very agreeable for comfortable, quiet street driving.

Unless you consistently pull heavy loads or have massive tires on your Tacoma, the OEM replacement brake pads are an exceptional choice that should not be overlooked.

PROS (+) CONS (-)
+ High quality ceramic
+ Balanced formula has exceptional life span
+ Guaranteed quality and reliability
+ Slotted face makes for quiet braking
– Not the best choice for heavy towing or hauling
– May not have enough friction for oversized tires

4. Bosch BC976 QuietCast

The Bosch QuietCast is a good option for shoppers on a budget. With a slight increase in stopping power and bargain prices, the Bosch QuietCast is an exceptional value.

With moderate friction formula, this pick best suits a Toyota Tacoma with standard size tires that’s mostly driven on average road conditions, with occasional mountain outings.

Bosch QuietCast checks the feature boxes we’re looking for – shims, slots, ceramic – but they are known for squeaking quite badly, so they may not be best for someone easily irritated by noise.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Rubber shim reduces vibration
+ Excellent value
+ Ceramic pad material
+ Protective transfer layer extends pad and rotor life
– Moderate friction may not be enough for heavy duty applications
– Known for squeaking

5. Hawk Performance LTS

Hawk is a well known name in performance braking, and Tacoma drivers aren’t disappointed by their Light Truck & SUV (LTS) offering.

The carbon-metallic material gives Toyota Tacoma brakes phenomenal bite, even with heavy loads piled in the back.

Paired with a slotted face to escape heat, Hawk’s LTS pads offer exceptional fade-resistance and minimize excess pad or rotor wear.

Optimized for high temperatures when towing or hauling loads, the only real drawback of the Hawk LTS is that they don’t perform well in cold temperatures. This isn’t much of a problem for warm-climate drivers, but something to consider.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Carbon-metallic formula increases stopping power
+ High temperature optimization for towing and trail use
+ Slotted face reduces fade caused by heat
– Produces far more brake dust than ceramic
– Poor performance when cold

Our Top Pick: Toyota TRD Brake Pads

The TRD brake pads have the perfect balance between performance and drive-ability that a Toyota Tacoma deserves.

Made with high friction ceramic embedded with synthetic polymers give it excellent stopping power, combined with slots to reduce vibration, noise, and heat buildup. TRD pads have you covered whether you’re hauling lumber, pulling a trailer, off roading forest trails, or keeping your cool in morning traffic.

TRD brake pads also provide the reliability and quality control of genuine Toyota parts, so you’ll sleep easy knowing that the brakes you rely on are made by the top company with the money and resources to create high quality products.

Final Thoughts On The Best Brake Pads for a Toyota Tacoma

We made it to the end! Hopefully you haven’t pulled all your hair out trying to pick your favorite brake pads.

Any of the options above will be a good choice, no matter your driving style or budget, if you follow the guidelines you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. Just remember that no brakes can replace a driver who’s paying attention to the road!

Connor Morehouse

Connor Morehouse

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